‘Family Ties’: How Tall Is Michael J. Fox?

Perhaps it’s the overwhelming set of choices we have with a multitude of streaming options that have left us feeling nostalgic for simpler days of classic TV shows.

With more and more options for television platforms popping up every day, people are left with disparate entertainment experiences. It’s no longer the case that we can gather around the water cooler on Monday morning confident that most of our colleagues will have seen the same programming. Instead, we’re each left with our own little worlds, and it can be lonely there. 

Maybe that’s why so many networks and streaming platforms are turning to classics as re-runs and reboots. 

One of those classic series that still resonates with viewers is Family Ties. In addition to bringing us a roadmap for political family conflict that still resonates today, it also acted as a launching pad for Michael J. Fox’s long and celebrated career. 

‘Family Ties’: Michael J. Fox rose to fame in the 1980s

Justine Bateman as Mallory Keaton, Scott Valentine as Nick Moore, Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton, Meredith Baxter as Elyse Keaton, Michael Gross as Steven Keaton
Justine Bateman as Mallory Keaton, Scott Valentine as Nick Moore, Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton, Meredith Baxter as Elyse Keaton, Michael Gross as Steven Keaton | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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Born in 1961 in Canada, Michael J. Fox got an early start in the acting world. He has a long filmography that dates all the way back to 1978 when he briefly appeared in the TV series Leo and Me. Like many teen actors trying to break into the entertainment business, Fox spent the next several years hopping around between guest parts including series like Here’s Boomer and The Love Boat

It was a recurring role on Family Ties that really helped define Fox’s success. He played Alex Keaton, an ambitious Young Republican whose political leanings were often a source of comedic tension when played against his on-screen parents’ much more liberal views. The series ran for seven seasons, and by the time it concluded in 1989, Michael J. Fox was something of a household name. 

Michael J. Fox had iconic teen film roles

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In the middle of his success on Family Ties, Michael J. Fox landed some leading roles in films that helped define his career. Most notably, he played Marty McFly in the iconic Back to the Future series. His original foray into the role was in 1985, and he reprised the part for sequels in 1989 and 1990. 

He also had the starring role of Scott Howard, the basketball-playing teen turned into a lovable monster in the 1985 classic Teen Wolf. He saw a shift into more mature roles with less of a teen emphasis in 1988’s Bright Lights, Big City and 1989’s Casualties of War

Unfortunately, just as his career was making the leap into these more substantial and weighty roles, Fox received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in 1991 when he was just 29 years old

Michael J. Fox continued to act after his Parkinson’s diagnosis

Following his diagnosis, Fox continued to build his filmography with meaningful roles — many of the voiceover variety. He provided the voice for Chance in Homeward Bound and Stuart Little in the 1999 film. Eventually, he made a return to TV with recurring roles in Spin CityBoston LegalRescue Me, and Scrubs

The actor, who — according to his IMDb biography — is only 5’4″ tall, recently announced his retirement from acting, and he leaves behind a long and celebrated career that has come a long way since his early days as a teen star. His most recent work includes political dramas like The Good Wife and its spinoff The Good Fight as well as Designated Survivor. It’s safe to say that he has left a deep imprint on the entertainment industry.