Michael J. Fox, a beloved Canadian actor, has received one of Hollywood’s highest honors in recognition of the significant advocacy and fundraising efforts he has carried out since receiving a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

The Back to the Future and Family Ties actor received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award over the weekend in recognition of his charitable work in helping to generate $1.5 billion for Parkinson’s research. According to The Academy’s website, the prize is given to a “movie industry individual whose humanitarian actions have brought honor to the business.”

Woody Harrelson, a longtime friend of Fox’s, gave the prize. Fox waited for the standing crowd’s ovation to stop before stepping up to the stage.

“Stop it. You’re making me shake,” he joked.

In the opening of his moving and occasionally humorous acceptance speech, Fox summarized his struggle with Parkinson’s disease by paraphrasing lines from Bruce Springsteen’s song No Surrender.

“That is sort of a personal anthem of mine,” said Fox. “No retreat, no surrender.”

As a Canadian actor and high school dropout, he talked about his lowly beginnings.

He said to the A-list audience, which included Tom Hanks, Brendan Fraser, Florence Pugh, Cate Blanchett, and Jennifer Lawrence, “I did leave high school in the 11th grade, sell my guitar, and move to L.A.

“I told my history teacher of my plan and he said, ‘Fox, you’re not gonna be cute forever.’ I had no idea how to respond to that, so I said, ‘Maybe just long enough, sir. Maybe just long enough.’ It turns out we were both right.”

Fox was only 29 years old when he received the 1991 diagnosis for the neurological condition that has progressively hampered his speech and mobility over time.

“I was told I only had 10 years left to work,” Fox said, talking about how his diagnosis came during the height of his acting career. “That was sh—y.

“The hardest part of my diagnosis was grappling with the certainty of the diagnosis and the uncertainty of the situation,” he continued. “I only knew that it would get worse. The diagnosis was definite. The progress was indefinite and uncertain.”

Fox, 61, told the audience that in trying to understand his illness, he “went into seven years of denial.”

“The kid who left Canada, convinced that he would make anything happen just by working hard and by believing, now had a tall order in front of him,” Fox said. “I told very few people. And they kept my secret.”

Throughout those seven years, he kept working. While filming Spin City at the time, he was aware that he would eventually need to reveal his diagnosis to the public.

He then went to the media to make the announcement.

He continued, “What happened next was remarkable—the outpouring of support from the general public and the magnificent response from all of my friends in the entertainment industry.

Everything I’ve been given—success, my marriage to Tracy, and my family—seemed to have prepared me for this enormous chance and responsibility. Fox jokingly remarked that he occasionally refers to Parkinson’s disease as “the gift that keeps on giving.”

Fox said, however, that the honorary Oscar isn’t about him — it’s about the good work that’s been done through the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which he set up in 2000, two years after he went public with his diagnosis. According to the foundation’s website, the $1.5 billion raised has helped fund or sponsor many clinical trials, has helped fund 20 early-stage therapeutic programs, has garnered 48,000 “citizen scientist” participants who are sharing their lived experiences with Parkinson’s and has helped build the largest dataset and biosample library in the history of the disease.

Fox was modest about these remarkable accomplishments, though.

He said, “There was nothing heroic about what I accomplished,” and thanked those who had helped him and the many others engaged in the study of Parkinson’s disease.

Finally, he called up his wife of 34 years, Tracy Pollan, to the stage.

“I cannot believe I have been standing here for this long, it’s a miracle,” joked Fox, checking out the heavy statuette. “I cannot walk and carry this thing. But I ask Tracy to once again carry the weight.”


Download The Radiant App And Start Watching!

Web: Watch Now

LGTV™: Download

ROKU™: Download

XBox™: Download

Samsung TV™: Download

Amazon Fire TV™: Download

Android TV™: Download