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Michael J. Fox to Receive Major Award
Michael J. Fox will be given an honorary Oscar Award in November for his years of advocacy on behalf of Parkinson's Disease patients. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Tuesday that Fox will be given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award along with several other recipients [...]

Michael J. Fox to Receive Major Award

Michael J. Fox will be given an honorary Oscar Award in November for his years of advocacy on behalf of Parkinson’s Disease patients. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Tuesday that Fox will be given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award along with several other recipients later this year. Fox has suffered from Parkinson’s’s Disease himself since 1991.

“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,” said Academy president David Rubin on Tuesday. The Hersholt Humanitarian Award is presented to individuals who make “indelible contributions to cinema and the world at large.” Other recipients this year will include filmmaker Euzhan Palcy, songwriter Diane Warren and director Peter Weir. They will be presented at the Governors Awards on Saturday, Nov. 19.

Congratulations to our founder @realmikefox for being named a recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. From the release: “Michael J. Fox’s tireless advocacy…alongside his boundless optimism exemplifies the impact of one person in changing the future for millions.” pic.twitter.com/UpMutYSbGn

— michaeljfox.org (@MichaelJFoxOrg) June 22, 2022

The Governors Awards is an annual event where the Academy’s Board of Governors confers honorary awards to members of the filmmaking community — often lifetime achievement awards taking into account the scope of an entire career. These include the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and the Honorary Award as well as the Hersholt Humanitarian Award. This year will mark the 13th Governors Awards in Academy history.

Fox is best known for his role as Marty McFly in Back to the Future among other acting roles, but he is being honored here specifically for his work in Parkinson’s Disease advocacy. The actor has used his platform to promote awareness, raise money and fund research for decades.

Fox began showing signs of Parkinson’s Disease while filming Doc Hollywood, which is when he got his diagnosis. He later told The Guardian that he grew severely depressed after his diagnosis and began drinking heavily. He eventually stopped drinking altogether as he turned his attention toward philanthropy and research. Fox founded The Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000.

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Fox’s focus has generally been on research. While he helps raise awareness of Parkinson’s Disease itself, he is particularly diligent in informing the public about the gaps in our knowledge on the subject and the hurdles that remain to find a cure. It’s still not clear what causes Parkinson’s Disease, nor how it could be cured or even treated more effectively.

Fox technically retired from acting in 2020, saying that he couldn’t rely on his ability to speak publicly any longer. However, he has made a few on-screen appearances since then. He also wrote a memoir called No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality. It is available now in print, digital and audiobook formats.

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