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    HomeEntertainmentMichael J. Fox: A Glimpse into '80s Stardom and Beyond

    Michael J. Fox: A Glimpse into ’80s Stardom and Beyond

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    Reflecting on an era of megastardom that defined a generation, Michael J. Fox opened up about the striking contrasts between fame in the ‘80s and the celebrity culture of today.

    The iconic “Family Ties” and “Back to the Future” actor shared his thoughts with PEOPLE for their 50th anniversary, providing insights into a time when fame was not only about talent but also resilience in the absence of today’s social media frenzy.

    Fox, who at 62 is still fondly remembered as the charismatic Marty McFly, waxed nostalgic about being “‘80s famous” – a term he heard when he received an honorary Academy Award.

    LOS ANGELES – SEP 22: Michael J. Fox, Tracy Pollan at the at Nokia Theater on September 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA

    This kind of fame, he mused, was distinct and tougher because it didn’t rely on the tools that propel modern celebrity.

    Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg , Michael J. Fox and Rep. Annie Kuster in, Keene NH on Feb 8, 2020. (Photo: Chuck Kennedy/PFA)

    “We didn’t have social media, we didn’t have any of that crap. We were just famous. Left to our own resources. And it was an amazing time,” Fox remarked.

    LOS ANGELES – SEP 15: Michael J Fox arrives at the Primetime Creative Emmys 2012 at Nokia Theater on September 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA

    The acclaimed actor’s journey to fame began as early as 1980, gracing television screens on series like “Palmerstown U.S.A.” and “Night Court” before securing his place in pop culture history with “Family Ties” and the era-defining “Back to the Future” films.

    Michael J. Fox and Doug Wick at the 2002 ShoWest Gala Awards Banquet and Press Conference, Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, 03-07-02

    When asked if attaining stardom was more challenging back then, Fox candidly replied, “Well, you had to be talented. That helped.”

    Michael J. Fox at the Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium. 09-10-00

    He recalled a time when actors vigorously honed their craft: “We used to bust our ass, our acting muscles and watch other actors and sit around with other actors and talk about acting and talk about it.”

    Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox at the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Nokia Theatre, Los Angeles, CA. 09-20-09

    Fox also took a moment to walk through his past PEOPLE Magazine covers, highlighting key moments from the end of “Family Ties” to discussing his Parkinson’s diagnosis, which he bravely announced on the magazine’s cover in 1998.

    LOS ANGELES – MAY 1: Michael J. Fox at the Julianna Margulies Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony at the Hollywood Boulevard on May 1, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA

    His frankness about his condition has garnered a “lovely and supportive” response from the public, as Fox described.

    Michael J. Fox at the 2012 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, Los Angeles, CA 09-15-12

    Despite stepping away from acting in 2020 due to the challenges posed by his Parkinson’s disease, Fox continues to consider roles that feel right, showcasing his unwavering passion for the craft.

    Michael J. Fox & Tracy Pollan at the Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium. 09-10-00

    His determination to act despite his condition has seen him participate in memorable events like the “Back to the Future” reunion panel in 2022, where his bond with co-star Christopher Lloyd was palpable.

    Tracey Pollan, Michael J. Fox at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards Arrivals, Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA 01-12-14

    Fox’s journey is further chronicled in “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” an Apple TV+ exclusive documentary released on January 20, 2023, that earned a 99% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox at Spike TV’s “Scream 2010,” Greek Theater, Los Angeles, CA. 10-16-10

    The film, which is both intimate and inventive in its storytelling, is praised for its editing and seamless transitions, offering a candid look at Fox’s personal and professional life, his battle with Parkinson’s, and his indomitable spirit.

    While there is no cure yet for Parkinson’s disease, the Michael J. Fox Foundation continues to lead the charge in research and awareness.

    Relevant articles: e
    Michael J. Fox Reflects on Being Famous in the ’80s: ‘We Were Tougher … You Had to Be Talented’ (Exclusive), People
    Michael J. Fox Says You Had to Be Tougher and Talented to Be Famous in the ’80s, Now Anyone Can Do It With Social Media — GeekTyrant, geektyrant.com
    Michael J. Fox’s Heartbreaking Battle, sxustudentmedia.com

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