Everett Collection

Four Decades of Fox

 Forty years after his first TV appearance in 1973 on the Canadian show The Beachcombers, Michael J. Fox returned this fall to the small screen. Through his four-decade career, Fox has portrayed a range of characters, from conservative Alex P. ­Keaton on Family Ties and war-torn soldier Eriksson in Brian De Palma’s Casualties of War to Back to the Future’s renowned time traveler Marty McFly and Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty on Spin City. Fox also is a best-selling author and the founder of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. He not only has covered a lot of ground during his career, but he has also won numerous awards along the way.

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During Fox’s seven-season run on NBC’s hit series Family Ties, he earned three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (in 1986, 1987 and 1988), as well as a Golden Globe and other awards.

Fox became a cinema superstar in 1985 in Robert Zemeckis’ hit Back to the Future, playing the young Marty McFly, who travels­ back in time with the zany Doc Brown (played by Christopher Lloyd) in a plutonium-­powered DeLorean. The futuristic film trilogy (sequels followed in 1989 and 1990) showed the world that Fox was ready for the big screen.

In 1996, Fox returned to the small screen with the hit show Spin City. For his portrayal of Deputy Mayor Michael Flaherty, Fox won an astounding seven awards in his four seasons with the show, including three Golden Globes and one Emmy.

Fox won accolades again in 2009 with his Emmy for ­Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Dwight, a drug-addicted paraplegic on FX’s Rescue Me. The gritty role was a departure from the congenial Michael J. Fox audiences had grown to know and garnered the critically acclaimed series its only Emmy.

In 2002, Fox published the first of his best-selling books, Lucky Man. Follow-ups Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (2009) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (2010) also became best-sellers; Always debuted at No. 2 on The New York Times’ best-seller list.

In 2009, Fox added a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album to his trophy case for his recorded reading of Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.

— DAVID HALLORAN