Michael J. Fox says he fled deeper into alcoholism when he was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
The first seven years after his 1991 diagnosis were spent in denial and depression, he says in the documentary “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” which premiered Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival.
Hiding became a virtual side hustle as he worked on films and television projects, popping dopamine pills as if they were Smarties candies.
The pills are used for Parkinson’s, which is characterized by a loss of dopamine that causes tremors and other uncontrollable movements and progresses slowly over time as the affected neurons die. Fox says he washed the pills down with alcohol, timing everything to keep his acting intact.
“Therapeutic value, comfort – none of these were the reason I took these pills. There was only one reason: to hide,” Fox says in the documentary, according to USA Today. “I became a virtuoso of manipulating drug intake so that I’d peak at exactly the right time and place.”
He got sober 30 years ago and then went public with his diagnosis in 1998. In 2000, he founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which is dedicated to finding a cure.
The movie does not hold back, as director Davis Guggenheim, who won an Oscar for the 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” goes with him to doctor visits and keeps filming even when Fox falls down.
The documentary, which will air on Apple TV+ later this year, chronicles Fox’s advocacy, as well as his career and life in general.
His optimism in the face of a devastating brain disorder is part of what moved the audience to leap to their feet when he took the stage, Variety reported.
“When I look at the film, the thing that screams at me with how lucky I’ve been and how successful my life has been is the stuff with my family,” Fox told Variety at the premiere. “It’s such joy.”
Family, friends and fans of Lisa Marie Presley gathered Sunday at Graceland to honor the late singer-songwriter and only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley.
Among those who participated in the public memorial service at Elvis Presley's mansion in Memphis, Tenn., were musicians Billy Corgan, Alanis Morissette and Axl Rose, as well as Priscilla Presley. The ceremony was livestreamed on Vimeo and is still available to watch on the platform.
Lisa Marie Presley died earlier this month after suffering cardiac arrest at a home near Calabasas. She was 54. She is survived by her mother and three daughters, Riley Keough, 33, Harper Lockwood, 14, and Finley Lockwood, 14. Her son, Benjamin Keough, died in July 2020 at age 27.
Instead of delivering a personal eulogy, Priscilla Presley paid tribute to her child by reading a poem written by one of Lisa Marie Presley's daughters.
"'I have no idea how to put my mother into words. Truth is there are too many,'" Priscilla Presley read on behalf of her granddaughter. "'Lisa Marie Presley was an icon, a role model, a superhero to many people all over the world. But Mama was my icon, my role model, my superhero in much more ways than one. ...
"She knew it was close to the end. Survivor's guilt, some would say. But a broken heart was the doing of her death. Now she is home where she always belonged, but my heart is missing her love. She knew that I loved her. I fear I'll never touch her, but the old soul is always with me. She doesn't drift above.' That says it all, and thank you all for being here. ... Our heart is broken, Lisa. We all love you."
During the service, Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins performed an acoustic rendition of "To Sheila," and Morissette sang her song "Rest," accompanied by a piano. One of the final performers of the day was Rose of Guns N' Roses, who made a few remarks before playing a passionate piano rendition of "November Rain."
"I feel like I'm supposed to be texting (Lisa Marie Presley) right now, saying, 'I'm here.' Telling her how wonderful everyone is. I never in a million years imagined singing here, and especially under these circumstances," Rose said. "This is truly devastating and, I'm sure, excruciating for everyone here and all those affected by her passing. ...
"She was extremely proud — as proud as anyone could ever be — of her father and his accomplishments, his place in music ... and American and world history. ... (Lisa Marie Presley was) a friend, a loved one, a beautiful and good soul, and a cherished and deeply missed family member. Lisa is loved and missed by many and will continue to be loved and missed by all those whose lives she touched."
Toward the end of the service, Riley Keough's husband, Ben Smith-Petersen, read a statement on her behalf:
"'Thank you for being my mother in this life,'" he read. "'I am eternally grateful to have spent 33 years with you. I'm certain I chose the best mother for me in this world, and I knew that as far back as I can remember you. ... I remember how it felt to be loved by the most loving mother I've ever known. ...
"Thank you for showing me that love is the only thing that matters in this life. I hope I can love my daughter the way you loved me, the way you loved my brother and my sisters. Thank you for giving me strength, my heart, my empathy, my courage, my sense of humor, my manners, my temper, my wildness, my tenacity. I'm a product of your heart. My sisters are a product of your heart. My brother is a product of your heart. We are you. You are us. ... If I didn't tell you every day, thank you.'"
NEW YORK — This year's PEN America Literary Gala will be notable for the presence of “Saturday Night Live.”
PEN, the literary and free expression organization, is giving “SNL” creator-executive Lorne Michaels its PEN/Audible Literary Service Award, which in previous years has gone to Toni Morrison, Stephen Sondheim and Patti Smith among others. The May 18 event will be hosted by Colin Jost, the longtime “SNL” writer and “Weekend Update” co-anchor.
In a statement given to the Associated Press, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said Michaels’ “unique brand of uproarious and fearless political and social sketches forever changed television and comedy.”
“The political landscape wouldn’t be the same without SNL to offer up a weekly skewering of a hapless cast of characters from the halls of power in Washington — a merry time capsule of what gave us joy and jitters in moments of national exhilaration and peril,” she said.
The PEN gala will be held at its longtime venue, the American Museum of Natural History, in New York.
PEN announced Monday it also will honor Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer and co-chief executive officer, who will receive the Business Visionary Award because of “the transformative impact of Netflix on storytelling, society at large, and on book adaptations as a critical source of content.”
Michaels, 78, has been overseeing SNL since it first aired in 1975, aside from a few seasons in the 1980s. The show helped launched the careers of Bill Murray, Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy and many others stars, and has included Jost, Tina Fey and Seth Meyers among its head writers. Michaels has previously received a Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
From combined wire services