Even Diehard Michael J. Fox Fans Don’t Know His Real Middle Name

Michael J. Fox is a talented star who has starred in a wide variety of projects, from cult-classic movies to dramatic television shows. With the recent news of his retirement, many fans are looking back over Fox’s career, recalling his best moments and funniest scenes.

Fox has been in the entertainment business for decades and has become a subject of many rumors over the years — including a notorious urban legend regarding his middle name and what the “J” in Michael J. Fox really stands for. 

Michael J Fox speaking on the set of a talk show
Michael J Fox appearing on Good Morning America | Getty Images

Michael J. Fox got his start on television

As a child, Fox and his family moved a lot, eventually settling in Burnaby. When he was a teenager, Fox felt drawn to the entertainment industry, and deciding to pursue a career in acting, he moved to Los Angeles.

Fox quickly began scoring roles, appearing in movies such as Midnight Madness and Class of 1984. In 1982, Fox got his big breakout when he landed a supporting role in the TV series Family Ties.

The movies and tv shows that defined his career

While Family Ties made Michael J. Fox a star, it was his part in the movie Back to the Future that made him a cultural icon. As Marty McFly, Fox went down in pop culture history.

He went on to act in the film’s two sequels, as well as in a variety of other popular movies all throughout the ’80s and into the early ’90s. In 1991, Fox’s life and career changed forever, when he revealed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 29.

In spite of his devastating diagnosis, Fox has continued to work in movies, mainly as a voiceover actor. He has appeared in many high-profile television shows, including Scrubs, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Boston Legal.

Recently, Fox announced his retirement from acting — while the news made many of his fans sad, his retirement is certainly well-deserved, after such a legendary career. 

What is Michael J. Fox’s middle name?

There are few more iconic stage names than that of Michael J. Fox. His middle initial has been the subject of a lot of speculation, however, with one ongoing urban legend maintaining that Fox’s middle initial stood for “Jello.”

However, that rumor has been proven to be false according to Snopes. In fact, Fox’s real middle name doesn’t begin with “J” at all — at birth, his name was Michael Andrew Fox.

According to Woman’s World, Fox decided to change his name when he got started as an actor, deciding that the middle initial “A” sounded too close to the phrase “eh.” Woman’s World claims that Fox chose “J,” in honor of an actor he respected, Michael J. Pollard. 

Michael J. Fox’s mysterious middle initial


Why A ‘Back to the Future’ Reboot Will Never Happen

Ultimately, Michael J. Fox’s name change worked to his benefit, since there was already a Michael Fox in the Screen Actor’s Guild. The SAG, like many other professional acting organizations, is notoriously picky when it comes to allowing more than one member with the same name.

It is likely due to the guild’s desire to avoid confusion when it comes to giving appropriate credit, as well as maintaining the artist’s reputation.

Fox was hardly the first actor to assume a new identity for the sake of the Screen Actor’s Guild. Over the years, many performers who wish to be registered with the SAG have had to make some slight alterations to their given name — including stars like Elizabeth Irene Mitchell and Thomas Michael Moore, according to Empire.

Still, Fox’s name change has served him well and it remains known and loved by millions around the world.