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MICHAEL J Fox is set to star in a new television series more than a decade after retiring from acting to concentrate on fighting Parkinson’s disease.
The actor, now 51, will appear in a comedy being developed in Hollywood based on the ups and downs of living with his illness. The popular actor’s comeback has sparked a bidding war from the major US TV networks.
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991, Fox left his last show in 2000, saying he intended to focus on his battle against the disease and help in the search for a cure. He started a foundation which bears his name to fund research towards that goal.
In May he revealed that a new drug regimen has helped him control the tics that are a result of Parkinson’s, and allowed him to take on acting roles. Over the past decade, he has made cameo appearances on TV programmes including Scrubs, Rescue Me, Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Good Wife. The still untitled new sitcom will be the Back to the Future star’s first major role since starring as the deputy mayor of New York in Spin City.
He is said to be working on the new show with Will Gluck, director of Easy A, the hit film starring Emma Stone, and writer Sam Laybourne, whose credits include the comedies Arrested Development and Cougar Town.
The series, being developed by Sony, is expected to go on the air sometime next year. Fox, who has four children with his actress wife Tracy Pollan, has lived with the disease since first noticing a small, persistent twitch in his hand when he was 30. While he kept it secret at first, he has since become the public face of Parkinson’s and a source of hope to many fellow sufferers around the world. Asked in an interview earlier this year whether it bothered him when he started shaking in front of people, he replied: “No, it sometimes bothers me when I can’t do what I want, but I don’t give a damn about how it looks.”
Sources said the show would be based on Fox’s own life and the challenges he has faced in living with the disease. Fox waited seven years to go public with the fact that he had Parkinson’s disease because he was worried people would laugh at him. He also feared the condition would force him to give up acting.
“What I found instead was an amazing outpouring of love,” he said. “I discovered that I was part of a Parkinson’s community with similar experiences and similar questions that I’d been dealing with alone.” In a guest appearance on the US show The Good Wife, he played a lawyer suffering from Parkinson’s.
“It’s been a great opportunity to use different tools than I’ve used before. I play him like he doesn’t see the problem,” he said.
The actor’s breakthrough on TV was as young Republican Alex Keaton in the comedy Family Ties which ran from 1982-89, but his biggest role was Marty McFly in the 1985-90 Back to the Future movie trilogy. – Daily Mail