Michael J Fox will receive an honorary Oscar at this year’s Governors Awards for his contributions to film and his efforts to help cure Parkinson’s disease.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the news Wednesday, noting that songwriter Diane Warren, and directors Euzhan Palcy and Peter Weir, along with Fox, will be honored for their “indelible contributions to cinema and the world at large,” according to CNN.
Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991 and founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000, will receive the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
“Fox’s tireless advocacy of research on Parkinson’s disease alongside his boundless optimism exemplifies the impact of one person in changing the future for millions,” Academy President David Rubin said in a statement.
Fox has been open about his struggles with Parkinson’s and in his memoir, “No Time Like the Future,” wrote about how it impacts the future of his acting career, saying “not being able to speak reliably is a game-breaker for an actor,” according to Fox News.
“Absent a chemical intervention, Parkinson’s will render me frozen, immobile, stone-faced, and mute — entirely at the mercy of my environment,” the actor explained. “For someone for whom motion equals emotion, vibrance and relevance, it’s a lesson in humility.”
Fox only revealed he had Parkinson’s several years after his diagnosis. He retired from “Spin City” in January 2000, but in 2013 he returned to primetime network TV as Mike Henry on NBC’s “The Michael J. Fox Show,” according to his official biography.
He went on to make several TV guest appearances, but later semi-retired from acting as his symptoms worsened.
In an interview with People in 2020, Fox admitted he was struggling with acting amid his Parkinson’s battle.
“My short-term memory is shot,” he revealed. “I always had a real proficiency for lines and memorization. And I had some extreme situations where the last couple of jobs I did were actually really word-heavy parts. I struggled during both of them.”
Fox said he is now using writing as his main creative outlet.
“I’m down to this,” he said. “My guitar playing is no good. My sketching is no good anymore, my dancing never was good, and acting is getting tougher to do. So it’s down to writing. Luckily, I really enjoy it.”
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