The eternal optimist.
Michael J. Fox has looked on the bright side for the better part of his 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
And despite his debilitating health condition, he recently admitted that he’s perfectly fine with not finding a cure.
In a profile for AARP magazine, the 60-year-old explained that while he doesn’t fear death, he’s “happy” living his life.
“As I wrote in my latest book [‘No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality’], I’m now out of the lemonade business,” the “Family Ties” star said. Fox announced last year that he was taking a “second retirement” from a acting.
“I’m really blunt with people about cures. 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,’” Fox continued. “I am genuinely a happy guy. I don’t have a morbid thought in my head — I don’t fear death. At all.”
He added that the death of his father-in-law put his own mortality in perspective. “But as I came through that darkness, I also had an insight about my father-in-law, who had passed away and always espoused gratitude and acceptance and confidence,” the “Back to the Future” actor said. “I started to notice things I was grateful for and the way other people would respond to difficulty with gratitude. I concluded that gratitude makes optimism sustainable.”
“And if you don’t think you have anything to be grateful for, keep looking,” the father of four noted. “Because you don’t just receive optimism. You can’t wait for things to be great and then be grateful for that. You’ve got to behave in a way that promotes that.”
Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991 when he was 29, during the filming of his rom-com “Doc Hollywood.” He disclosed his medical battle in 1998 after the press “heckled” him into doing so.
The Canada-born actor chatted with “Entertainment Tonight” this past October and explained how the paparazzi forced him to come clean to the public about his diagnosis.
“It was seven or eight years after I had been diagnosed … [and] the paparazzi and stuff, they would stand outside my apartment and heckle at me, like, ‘What’s the matter with you?’ ” Fox explained. “I said, ‘I can’t be making my neighbors deal with this,’ so I came out, and it was great. It was a great thing.”
“It was a great surprise to me that people responded the way they responded,” Fox said. “They responded with interest, in the desire to find an answer to the disease, and then I saw that as a great opportunity. I didn’t get put in this position to squander it.”
He also opened the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000 to help educate the public on and fund research to fight the disease.
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