Michael J. Fox has been charming audiences for decades thanks to his solid acting chops, boyish charm and a rare ability to sell both comedy and drama. To mark the 25th anniversary of the third and final movie in his now-classic "Back to the Future" trilogy, which was released on May 20, 1990, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at the actor and activist's life in pictures. Starting with his humble beginnings in his native Canada. At 15, Michael landed a role playing a 10-year-old on the Canadian TV series "Leo and Me." At 18, he dropped out of high school and, with his parents' blessing, moved to Los Angeles where he landed small roles until got his big break four years later…
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Michael J. Fox became a breakout TV star in 1982 after audiences got to know him as conservative young Republican Alex P. Keaton in the beloved sitcom "Family Ties." The hilarious and heartwarming series ran for seven seasons.
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Although Eric Stoltz was already a few weeks into filming the time-travel classic "Back to the Future," producers decided he ultimately wasn't right for the part and re-cast Michael J. Fox in the role of Marty McFly. The film opened in 1985 to critical and commercial success and made Michael a huge international movie star.
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Michael J. Fox was a movie theater staple in the summer of 1985: The month after "Back to the Future" was released, his next comedy, "Teen Wolf," hit screens across the country. The flick spawned a sequel that starred Jason Bateman (the brother of Michael's "Family Ties" costar Justine Bateman) and, 26 years later, an MTV series of the same name.
In 1986, Michael. J. Fox won his first Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his work as Alex P. Keaton in "Family Ties." Betty White picked up the female equivalent of the prize that same year for her hilarious turn as ditzy retiree Rose Nylund in "Golden Girls."
In 1987, Michael J. Fox won his second Emmy for playing "Family Ties" overachiever Alex P. Keaton and this time, there was someone special by his side: girlfriend Tracy Pollan, whom he'd met when she played his love interest on the sitcom. The following year, the couple married — and Michael won a third Emmy (he's got five total).
After enjoying enormous success in comedies, Michael J. Fox proved he could deliver in dramas too. He tugged at heartstrings and played guitar in his role as a factory worker dreaming of rock stardom alongside Joan Jett, who was cast as his troubled musician sister in 1987's "Light of Day." Michael continued his serious streak with a role as an alcohol and cocaine addict alongside Kiefer Sutherland in "Bright Lights, Big City" the following year.
In 1989, Michael J. Fox showed the world he really could do it all: That year, he became a father for the first time (to son Sam Michael Fox), starred in the feel-good sequel "Back to the Future Part II," and earned critical praise for his work alongside Sean Penn in the Vietnam drama "Casualties of War."
Michael J. Fox said goodbye to his alter ego, beloved time traveler Marty McFly, following the 1990 release "Back to the Future Part III," the Wild West-flavored final installment of the trilogy co-starring Christopher Lloyd and Mary Steenburgen.
In late 1990, Michael J. Fox was in Florida filming his next hit movie — 1991's "Doc Hollywood" — when the then-30-year-old noticed a tremor in his left hand. It was the first symptom of what specialists would soon diagnose as early-onset Parkinson's disease. Michael kept his illness private until the end of the decade.
In 1996, Michael J. Fox returned to TV with his hugely successful sitcom "Spin City," which ran until 2001 and earned him an Emmy in 2000 and Golden Globes in 1998, 1999 and 2000. (That's co-star Connie Britton with Michael in this 1998 promotional shot.)
Michael J. Fox continued to work in TV and films with great success, all while keeping his struggle with Parkinson's quiet as he sought new ways to cope with the disease. In 1999, he made a movie that charmed little ones — including his own brood, which by now also included twin daughters Aquinnah Fox and Schuyler Fox, as well as son Sam Michael Fox: the adorable comedy "Stuart Little," which spawned two sequels.
Michael J. Fox stunned the world when he went public with his Parkinson's struggle in 1998, revealing he'd undergone brain surgery to lessen the physical symptoms of the disease. In 2000, he announced he would be semi-retiring from acting to focus on his health and family and to raise awareness and money to fight the disease through his Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. The same year, he testified on Capitol Hill in support of stem cell research.
Michael J. Fox was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002.
In 2004, devoted family man Michael J. Fox brought his whole brood — including wife Tracy Pollan, son Sam Michael Fox, twins Aquinnah Fox and Schuyler Fox, as well as newest daughter Esme Fox — out to celebrate the new Disney flagship store opening in New York City.
Michael J. Fox slowly but surely returned to acting over the next few years with carefully chosen roles in lauded shows including "Scrubs," "Rescue Me," "Boston Legal," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Good Wife," in which he plays wily attorney Louis Canning alongside Julianna Margulies (seen here in 2011). Since 2009, he's earned six Emmy nominations (and one Emmy!) for his work in television.
Passing the torch! Michael J. Fox and wife Tracy Pollan hit the red carpet at the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards in 2013 to support son Sam Michael Fox, who was that year's Mr. Golden Globe (not to mention a dead ringer for Dad).
In May 2013, Michael J. Fox stepped out at the NBC upfront presentation in New York City to promote his new semi-autobiographical sitcom "The Michael J. Fox Show," which would debut the following fall. Despite a wealth of fan support, the series was canceled in 2014.
Michael J. Fox was nominated for a Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical Golden Globe in 2014 for his work on his eponymous NBC sitcom. He attended the ceremony with his devoted wife of 25 years, Tracy Pollan, but lost the prize to "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" star Andy Samberg.
All grown up! In November 2014, Michael J. Fox and his family — including daughters Esme Fox, Aquinnah Fox, wife Tracy Pollan and son Sam Michael Fox — attended the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research benefit in New York City. "If you asked my kids to describe me, they'd go through a whole list of words before even thinking about Parkinson's," he told The Guardian a year earlier. "And honestly, I don't think about it that much either. I talk about it because it's there, but it's not my totality."