Would Michael J. Fox still be an A-List actor today had he never been afflicted with Parkinson's Disease? What types of roles do you think he would portray?
Question: Would Michael J. Fox still be an A-List actor today had he never been afflicted with Parkinson's Disease? What types of roles do you think he would portray?
No, unfortunately he wouldn't have.
The major thing that stopped him from retaining his status as an A-list actor was the dwindling box office of the films in which he starred. Had Fox been able to score several more hits, his success would have been able to extend in the late 1990s or early 2000s and he would have been able to write his own ticket.
- The movies that didn't have "Back To The Future" in the title usually performed poorly.
- He did Teen Wolf which was a surprise hit, but he declined Teen Wolf II which would have given him another franchise.
- The two films which everyone (including Fox himself) thought were going to hit, didn't. Casualties of War and The Hard Way were supposed to be hits. The former bombed and the latter, although successful, woefully underperformed.
- The films which were successful beyond the ones mentioned above (Doc Hollywood, Life With Mikey, etc.) weren't very successful.
- The Frighteners was his last chance to be a major star and it performed poorly. Although it's now a cult classic, it barely earned its budget back and it resulted in the career slowdown that resulted in his return to television.
Basically Michael J. Fox's career was already cooling down by the time that his announcement that he was afflicted with Parkinson disease became public knowledge. In my opinion, if you carefully watch The Frighteners and second season of his other television series, Spin City, you can see moments when it is clear that his illness was coming to the fore.
Even if he hadn't been afflicted with Parkinson's, Fox was going to drop off the A-list by the latter 1990s, whatever happened. He wasn't bringing in the box office numbers, he was too short and too likable to be an action star; he didn't do the successful pairings that might have been able to revive his box office (Imagine an Eddie Murphy/Michael J. Fox teamup or Jim Carrey and Fox in The Cable Guy instead Matthew Broderick?), and he was never a romantic lead. Basically, when The Frighteners failed, Fox had little choice but to return to television simply to maintain a steady paycheck.
Michael J. Fox's career (assuming that he was never afflicted with Parkinson's) would have had fewer voiceover roles, but also fewer leading roles going into the 2000s. He would be a significant actor, but not an A-lister at this time.