Michael J. Fox is arguably the most recognizable face of Parkinson’s disease. And since being diagnosed 26 years ago, he’s still going strong. Despite being faced with the debilitating disease, Fox recently told AARP The Magazine that a sense of humor helps. He said, “The truth is that on most days, there comes a point where I literally can’t stop laughing at my own symptoms.”
One symptom of Parkinson’s is shaking, trembling hands. Fox explained how even serving his wife, Tracy Pollan, coffee can seem like a joke out of a sitcom. He said, “I pour a cup – a little trouble there … Then I begin this trek across the kitchen … Hot java’s sloshing onto my hands, onto the floor … by the time I reach the table, the cup’s all but empty.”
That same idea was spoofed in a memorable episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Fox hands Larry David a shaken-up soda which promptly explodes when he opens it. David asks him if he did that on purpose, but Fox replies with a shrug, saying, “Parkinson’s.”
Obviously, Fox can still get laughs, but he told AARP The Magazine that some acting tricks no longer work. He said, “I can’t do a double take anymore, for one … My experience of acting has become much more still and quiet and surprising to me. I think I’ve been given a power of observation that is not self-observation – which is what acting should be.”
And on a more serious note, Fox recalled speaking to another person with Parkinson’s, the late Muhammad Ali. Fox said Ali called him to say, “Now that you’re in it, we’ll win this fight.”
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