Michael J. Fox is an icon for many of us who grew up with Family Ties, Spin City and the Back to the Future movies. He is also iconic for handling hardship with humor and grace. Despite his diagnosis of young-onset Parkinson’s disease at age 30, he has continued to lead a full life that includes both work and family. “Since 2000, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has sought to understand the condition and improve treatment options for the estimated 1 million people in the U.S. who are living with Parkinson’s. The foundation has funded nearly $325 million in research, and supported hundreds of scientists in more than 20 countries and 60 clinical studies. At the moment, all eyes are on a promising surgical therapy involving a specialized brain protein called neurturin, which may slow or stop Parkinson’s symptoms rather than temporarily mask them. In testing, neurturin has been found to help rejuvenate neurons damaged by Parkinson’s, and restore function.” [AARP Magazine, April/May 2017]
For my purposes, an interview extra later published in TheMail [AARP Magazine, June/July 2017] highlights in Fox’s own iconic style just who Trump is and how little he’s changed:
The story I tell about Donald is about an episode of Spin City. Since it was about New York, you had to have all the New Yorkers in it, right? He was cool to work with. He came in, did his stuff, did it well – he was pure Trump. Great. We enjoyed having him on the show. But every time I’ve seen him since then, the same thing has happened. If I walked out that door right now and he happened to be right there, it would happen again. He’d say, “When I was on your show, it was the highest rating you ever got!”
In reality, the episode (see below), didn’t even make the Top 10.
EPISODE NUMBER :: 2.14
EPISODE TITLE :: The Paul Lassiter Story
ORIGINAL AIR DATE :: January 21, 1998
GUEST STARS :: Donald Trump as Himself; Sam Lloyd as Walter; Stephen Kunten as Doctor; Anne James as Nurse; Jennifer Van Dyck as Betty Simms
WRITER :: Bill Lawrence
DIRECTOR :: Andy Cadiff
PLOT DESCRIPTION :: The usually indomitable Mike can’t cope at the office because of upsetting news he’s unwilling to share–his doctor suspects Mike has prostate cancer. The timing couldn’t be worse, since the Mayor needs Mike to help write his newest book, so Mike brings in best-selling author Donald Trump to advise the Mayor on writing. Meanwhile, a chair-snatching bureaucrat is terrorizing the staffers.