Michael J. Fox Told Johnny Carson He Did This to Get Even With ‘Jerks’

Eighties icon Michael J. Fox soared to superstardom as a television actor. By 1985, he was seemingly everywhere. Not yet 25, he starred in two hit films that year and sat down with legendary host Johnny Carson for his first interview on The Tonight Show.

During that first visit, Fox revealed he made a big purchase to get even with some “jerks” that he said he hated. So, what did he tell Carson about the type of “young guy” that rubbed him wrong? And what did he buy to get back at them?

Michael J. Fox sits during a 1991 interview with Johnny Carson
(L-R) Michael J. Fox and Johnny Carson in 1991 | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

On the Hollywood fast track

Born on June 9, 1961 in Canada, Fox took an interest in acting in his early teens. According to Biography, he dropped out of high school and made the trip to Los Angeles with his father to pursue a career in the ’70s. Though it might have been risky, it paid off for him.

In the early ’80s, he skyrocketed to fame playing Alex P. Keaton on the television show Family Ties. Notably, during his seven-year run in the role, he won a Golden Globe as well as three consecutive Emmys.

But it was in 1985 that he starred as Marty McFly in Back to the Future and as Scott Howard in Teen Wolf, making him a major movie star. It was also the year he made his first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Michael J. Fox on ‘The Tonight Show’: ‘I used to hate those jerks’

After Carson welcomed Fox to The Tonight Show, he noted that the young actor was having an incredible year. As such, he was curious to know if Fox had made any big purchases with the big money he’d earned.

Fox explained to Carson, “When things weren’t going that well, I used to always hate when some young guy about my age would drive by in … this fancy sports car with the big tires and everything.”

“I used to hate those jerks,” he said. “So, I went out and bought one.”

That was enough to get an approving chuckle from Carson, but that wasn’t Fox’s only big purchase. He said he also bought a house in the Hollywood Hills, noting that the dirt and old trees reminded him of his home in Canada.

Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991

Though Fox didn’t announce it to the public until 1999, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991. According to Biography, he underwent brain surgeries to help alleviate the tremoring caused by the disease.

At the time, he was enjoying the success of his TV show, Spin City. But he announced he was leaving to spend time with his family and to raise funds and awareness about Parkinson’s.

Now 60, Fox has retired from acting and recently released his fourth memoir, No Time Like the Future. And he likely has no financial regrets about those big purchases he shared on The Tonight Show in the ’80s. In 2021, he has a net worth of $65 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

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