Clean-scrubbed, boyish-looking Michael J. Fox found fame in his first television sitcom, the hugely popular "Family Ties," and parlayed it into an impressive film career that included the comedic "Back to the Future" trilogy. More recently, the Canadian-born actor has battled Parkinson's disease, becoming a public symbol of the affliction much as actor Christopher Reeve became a symbol of spinal-cord injuries.
At only 5-foot-4, Fox was able to play teenagers even well into his 20s. The added maturity as an actor and a flair for comedy helped him to capture four Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Fox is a native of Edmonton, Alberta, who broke into television at age 15, but he struggled after moving from Vancouver to the United States. Fox had sold his furniture and was living on macaroni and cheese when he was cast as Alex P. Keaton in "Family Ties," which debuted in 1982. The series soon propelled him to silver-screen stardom as time-traveling Marty McFly in the "Back to the Future" films, the first of which, in 1985, remained No. 1 at the box office for 11 weeks.
Fox returned to TV in the political sitcom "Spin City," but stunned his fans in 1998 with the announcement that he was suffering from Parkinson's. While testifying on behalf of research funding, Fox deliberately skipped his medication so that U.S. senators could see the effects of the disorder. In his memoir, "Lucky Man," he wrote, "For people who had never observed me in this kind of shape, the transformation must have been startling."
He is married to actress Tracy Pollan, with whom he has four children.