Michael J. Fox is updating fans about his ongoing battle with Parkinson's disease. The Back to the Future star went public about his condition in 1998 but continued working on shows like Boston Legal, The Good Wife, and The Michael J. Fox Show. In many of his roles, he played a character also living with the disease, raising awareness for the disease. He's since largely retired from acting altogether and recently revealed that he doesn't like to take roles due to not being able to remember many lines. During a chat on Mike Birbiglia's podcast Working It Out, Fox got real about the difficulty he has with dialogue in scripts, Yahoo News reports. "I don't take on something with a lot of lines, because I can't do it," he admitted. "And for whatever reason, it just is what it is. I can't remember five pages of dialogue. I can't do it. It can't be done. So I go to the beach."
He learned while filming several roles in the last few years that he had to come to that decision. "When I did the spinoff from Good Wife, which is Good Fight, I couldn't remember the lines," he said. "I just had this blank, I couldn't remember the lines. And it was strange because on Family Ties, [producers] used to give me the script and I'd go, 'I'm in. Mallory, get off the phone.' And I knew it, like in an instant. And it continued to be that way for me."
He continued: "I get to this point, I'm on a soundstage in Culver City, and I can't get this line together. It was this legal stuff and I just couldn't get it. But what's really refreshing was I didn't panic. I didn't freak out. I just went, 'Well that's that. Moving on. A key element of this process is memorizing lines, and I can't do it.' And I had done Kiefer's show in Canada, [Designated Surivor]. I had the same problem."
Fox founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000. The foundation has raised over $1 billion for Parkinson's research, but as of yet, there remains no cure.
"I'm really blunt with people about cures," he told AARP last year. "When they ask me if I will be relieved of Parkinson's in my lifetime, I say, 'I'm 60 years old, and science is hard. So, no.'"
But Fox knows he is one of the lucky ones. "Some days are a struggle. Some days are more difficult than others. But the disease is this thing that's attached to my life — it isn't the driver," he said. "And because I have assets, I have access to things others don't. I wouldn't begin to compare my experience to that of a working guy who gets Parkinson's and has to quit his job and find a new way to live. So, I'm really lucky."