HomeEntertainmentMichael J. Fox Finds ‘Immortality’ and Optimism in 1950s and ’60s Western TV Reruns

Michael J. Fox Finds ‘Immortality’ and Optimism in 1950s and ’60s Western TV Reruns

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

During a recent Today segment, actor and activist Michael J. Fox spoke about his love for old western television show reruns.

The Back to the Future star joined Today host Willie Geist a few months ago to talk about his new book. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fox wrote a book on optimism titled No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, which released Nov. 17, 2020. The actor sat down with Geist in the fall for the segment that aired on Sunday.

The pair share a specific connection. Fox has battled Parkinson’s disease since the early ’90s, and Geist’s father also suffers from the brain disorder. The two men discussed the disease and how Fox continues to stay positive in the face of adversity. The Today host knows just how difficult that can be because of his dad’s firsthand experience with Parkinson’s.

Fox says he kept his optimism alive with the help of his family, friends, and even his dog. In addition, his optimism came from another unlikely source: old ’50s and ’60s western reruns.

“I just looked to my family, and I looked to my friends, and I looked to my dog, and I looked to my doctors. And I went on this TV binge – ’50s and ’60s westerns,” Michael J. Fox explained.

“I kind of realized that [these westerns] happened before I was born, these shows, most of them. And I’m part of that continuum. I’m like one of those guys, I’ll be survived by my reruns. So that gave me a little bit of like a dash of immortality. All of these things were connected, and they all pointed me toward how grateful I was,” he added.

Michael J. Fox Talks About His Wife Tracy’s Constant Support

While speaking about the undying support from his family during the same interview, Michael J. Fox opened up about his wife, Tracy Pollan.

He touched on the support he’s received from his wife Tracy throughout his battle with Parkinson’s. The couple have been married since 1988, for over three decades. They established the Michael J. Fox Foundation together, which has been at the forefront of Parkinson’s research as they search for a cure to the disease.

Additionally, his wife is there for him each and every day. Even though Fox faces many hardships on a daily basis, Tracy helps him find humor in difficult situations.

“Tracy’s amazing,” Michael J. Fox said to Geist. “She’s there on the front lines with me every single day. She never claims to know as much as I know.”

“And the other thing Tracy does is she [focuses on] the funny thing,” he added. “Like, if there’s something funny, let’s get to the funny. We’ll deal with the tragic later.”

At only 29 years old, doctors diagnosed Michael J. Fox with early-onset Parkinson’s. He waited seven years to share his diagnosis with the public. However, when he found out in 1991, he immediately went home and told his wife. His partner never thought twice about facing the disease head-on with her husband.

“One of the things I’ll always love Tracy for is that at that moment, she didn’t blink,” Fox said of his wife.