Michael J. Fox Says ‘We Used to Bust Our Ass’ to Be Famous and ‘You Had to Be Talented,’ but Now It’s: ‘What’s That Dance Step? And You’re the Most Famous Person in the World’

Michael J. Fox says the celebrities who became famous during the 1980s were much “tougher” than the ones rising the ranks of stardom now thanks to social media. Fox become of the most popular stars of Hollywood during that decade thanks to the sitcom “Family Ties” and his role as Marty McFly in the “Back to the Future” movies.

“There’s an expression I referred to when they gave me an honorary Academy Award — somebody said to me the day before, they were talking about getting this award and being famous and they said ‘You’re ‘80s famous,’” Fox told People magazine. “I thought, ‘Wow, that’s cool.’ ‘80s famous. Right, we were different. We were tougher. We didn’t have social media, we didn’t have any of that crap. We were just famous. Left to our own resources. And it was an amazing time.”

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When asked by People if being famous in the 1980s was “harder” than it is now, Fox replied: “Well, you had to be talented. That helped.”

“We used to bust our ass, our acting muscles and watch other actors and sit around with other actors and talk about acting and talk about it,” Fox explained. “And now you’ve got people who just go like, ‘Who’s your sweater? What’s your sweater you’re wearing? And what’s that dance step?’ And you’re the most famous person in the world.”

Fox hasn’t acted since 2020 because his Parkinson’s disease made it increasingly difficult to remember dialogue. He told Entertainment Tonight earlier this month that he would consider coming back to acting if the role felt right.

“My biggest goal, I think, was to raise a family. We have four amazing kids, and that’s been the big thing,” Fox said about retiring from acting. “And then the other is with the [Michael J. Fox] foundation…[however] if something came up that I could put my realities into it — my challenges — if I could figure it out.”

Fox’s last major role was a 2020 guest stint on “The Good Fight,” but he hit the press circuit last year in support of his Apple TV+ documentary “Still.” He said participating in the movie was a “big thrill” and “if someone offers me a [new] part, and I do it, and I have a good time, great.”

During an appearance on Mike Birbiglia’s “Working It Out” podcast in 2022, Fox said that he stepped back from acting because he was having difficulty memorizing his lines. He struggled on the set of “The Good Fight” and the “same problem” occurred while he as filming the series “Designated Survivor.”

“It was this legal stuff, and I just couldn’t get it,” Fox said at the time. “But what [was] really refreshing was I didn’t panic. I didn’t freak out. I just went, ‘Well, that’s that. Moving on. A key element of this process is memorizing lines, and I can’t do it.’”

Head over to People’s website to read Fox’s latest interview in its entirety.

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