It was a "fun fact" fail during this year's Golden Globes coverage, when the E! network posted an insensitive tidbit about TV legend Michael J. Fox, who was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of best comedy actor for his self-titled sitcom.
During the red carpet pre-show, the cable channel posted a graphic touting Fox's 1991 Parkinson's diagnosis as a "fun fact," leaving viewers stunned and sparking outage on Twitter. (Incidentally, Buzzfeed caught another not-so-fun fact during E!'s pre-show Golden Globes broadcast: "Robert Redford was stricken with polio as a child." Sigh.)
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, E! apologized for the error, saying: "We regret the insensitive classification of Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's diagnosis during our live stream. We understand the serious nature of the disease and sincerely apologize."
While Fox hasn't commented on the onscreen snafu, the "Family Ties" alum has long been open about his battle with the debilitating disease. In fact, the actor's new show addresses his real life ailment head on and he even makes jokes about it. In an interview last fall with Rolling Stone, Fox said he'd even turn down a quick fix for the disease, which he's battled for 22 years.
"If I walked into a room with God or Buddha or Bill Gates or Sergey Brin or whoever could figure out a way to fix it for me, I don't think I'd do it," the actor said. "My life is better than it was, because I have access to these truths and access to these moments where I give myself a break and just go, 'F--k it.' That's the source of all this wisdom that's attributed to me … It's like I just took an a-- kicking and remembered the boots were kicking me."
Even with that positive attitude, we can think of plenty of things that are more "fun" than battling any type of disease. That said, here are five real fun facts about Michael J. Fox.
1. The actor didn't finish high school as a teen, but he made up for it later. In an interview with NPR, Fox revealed he went back to school 15 years after dropping out of high school -- at the request of his 4-year-old. "I always felt that I came up short in the education department," Fox said. "But I've come to the conclusion that we all get an education. And somehow over the years, I managed to get one."
2. The actor's middle names is actually Andrew. So, where did the "J" come from? According to Mentalfloss, there was already a Michael Fox in the Screen Actors Guild, so Fox added the "J" to set himself apart. Legend has it the former teen heartthrob switched out his initial so teen mag covers wouldn't refer to him as "Michael, A Fox."
3. His guitar playing is not an act. In 2011, Fox recreated his famous "Back to the Future" guitar scene for a Parkinson's fundraiser. The actor channeled Marty McFly in a rendition of "Johnny B. Goode," even using an exact replica of the bright red 1950s guitar he used in the film, according to Billboard. While Fox didn't actually play guitar in the movie, he reportedly learned the part shortly thereafter.
4. His list of favorite things doesn't include 1980s music. In an interview with USA Weekend, Fox cited "Dr. Strangelove" as his favorite flick, but he didn't share the love on 1980s music, despite the fact that he's an '80s icon. "I think right now my favorite music is the stuff I grew up on in the '60s and '70s," he said. "I took the '80s off but love the music of the early '90s. Nirvana. Soundgarden. Alice in Chains. But I can listen to James Taylor, too." What? No Huey Lewis and the News?
5. He knows the secret of his success -- to a long marriage. In an interview with Good Housekeeping, the actor dished on his 25-year marriage to actress Tracy Pollan: "Here's the thing with Tracy and me: We like focusing more on the comedy and less on the drama," he said. "The secret to a good marriage, as far as I am concerned, is a joke I make: Keep the fights clean and the sex dirty."
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