Academy Set to Honor Michael J Fox With Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

by Shelby Scott

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will host the 13th Governors Awards on November 19th this fall. Now, ahead of the event, the organization plans to honor longtime actor Michael J Fox with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. In addition to being an acclaimed actor, Michael J Fox is also a Parkinson’s disease activist.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Academy’s Hersholt Humanitarian Award is coveted, having been awarded just 42 times. Past recipients include Oprah Winfrey, Frank Sinatra, and Angelina Jolie, among others. Overall, the outlet states the Humanitarian Award goes to an “individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”

David Rubin, whom the outlet states is the Academy’s outgoing president, spoke highly about Michael J Fox. In a statement, he highlighted all of the reasons the actor and activist is eligible for the award this year.

“Michael J Fox’s tireless advocacy of research on Parkinson’s disease alongside his boundless optimism exemplifies the impact of one person in changing the future for millions.”

As per the outlet, Michael J Fox is known for his roles in Family Ties and Back to the Future. Fox has a personal stake in Parkinson’s research as he was diagnosed with the early onset variation at 29 years old. Following his diagnosis, the outlet states Fox has devoted decades to help work toward a cure. In addition, the longtime actor launched the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000. Since then, it has become the leading Parkinson’s organization in the world.

How Parkinson’s Disease Affects the Role Michael J Fox Takes:

Despite his optimism and work in Parkinson’s research, the reality is Fox deals with his affliction on a daily basis. And, even as one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars, there are still certain struggles he battles each day. In fact, the Back to the Future icon says Parkinson’s affects the roles he’s willing to take.

Overall, Michael J Fox boasts a long acting resumé. The TV star got his start in acting in the 1970s and appeared on the big and small screen for decades. However, sadly, at 61 years old, Fox is unable to take many big parts now; he previously revealed Parkinson’s disease has affected his memory.

Fox first noticed the issue while filming The Good Fight. It was then he reprised his role as Attorney Louis Canning in the CBS original The Good Wife. Within the context of the show, Canning suffers from tardive dyskinesia, which mimics some of the symptoms of Fox’s Parkinson’s disease, namely uncontrolled body movements.

Altogether, it worked well for the actor. However, he revealed, “I just had this blank. I couldn’t remember the lines.” Essentially, memorizing pages of script has become almost impossible.