Michael J. Fox: 'Parkinson's Disease Made Me A Better Actor'

Tayla Holman

Michael J. Fox said Parkinson's disease has improved his acting.

Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991, told Rolling Stone that the disease forced him out of his comfort zone and that he is a better actor because of it.

"I had a certain fluidity to my movements and rhythm of speech and a physicality that I had depended on," he said. "It served me really well, but when that was taken away, I found that there was other stuff that I could use."

He added, "That hesitation, that Parkinsonian affect, is an opportunity to just pause in a moment and collect as a character and respond to what's happening and just gave me this kind of gravitas. It really gave me a new view of things."

The 52-year-old returns to television in The Michael J. Fox Show, his first lead role since Spin City. Fox played Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty for four seasons from 1996 until 2000 and returned for three episodes in the sixth season.

Fox went public with his Parkinson's diagnosis in 1998 and semi-retired from acting in 2000 as his symptoms got worse. Since then, he has done mostly voice-over work and guest and cameo appearances in TV shows including Boston Legal, Scrubs, The Good Wife, and Rescue Me. He also provided the voice of Stuart Little in all three films.

The Michael J. Fox Show focuses on Mike Henry (Fox), a news anchor diagnosed with Parkinson's who has to give up his career to focus on his health and family. Breaking Bad's Betsy Brandt (Marie) plays his wife, Annie. NBC gave a straight-to-series order for the show in August 2012. The 22-episode first season premieres September 26.

Anne Heche will guest star on the show as Susan Rodriguez-Jones, a news anchor at NBC 4 who is embroiled in a professional rivalry with Fox's character.

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