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Michael J. Fox leaving 'Spin City' to be with family, fight Parkinson's


January 18, 2000
Web posted at: 10:21 p.m. EST (0321 GMT)

In this story:

Fox, 'Spin City' in line for Golden Globes

Sitcom's future unclear

Actor is active despite disease

A crippling illness affecting 1 million Americans


LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Michael J. Fox, the star of the hit TV show "Spin City" who suffers from Parkinson's disease, says he is leaving the sitcom to spend more time with his family and focus on seeking a cure for the disease.

Fox announced Tuesday that he will not return to the show after the completion of its fourth season. The decision came "after long and careful consideration," Fox said.

"I could not be more proud of the show, our cast, writers, crew, and all that we have accomplished over the last four years, yet I feel that right now my time and energy would be better spent with my family and working toward a cure for Parkinson's disease," he said in a written statement.

"This does not mean I am retiring from acting, producing or directing, only that I want to relieve the strain of producing and performing a weekly network series," Fox said.

Fox, 'Spin City' in line for Golden Globes

"Spin City" is up for a Golden Globe at this weekend's awards ceremony in the category of the best television series, musical or comedy.

Fox is a nominee for best actor, and co-star Heather Locklear is up for best actress. Fox has already won two Golden Globes with the show for best actor and also received two Emmy nominations for outstanding actor.

"Spin City" made its debut on September 17, 1996.

Sitcom's future unclear

It was not immediately clear what the show's fate will be after this season. ABC Entertainment issued a brief statement, saying the star would be deeply missed.

"Michael has been an extraordinary creative partner over the past four years. We know that 'Spin City' has been a labor of love for Michael and we are proud to have been a part of its success," the statement said.

"But there are clearly more important things in life, and we wish Michael and his family our heartfelt thanks and continued support. We look forward to working with Michael in his future endeavors."

Actor is active despite disease

In November 1998, Fox announced he had been suffering from Parkinson's for seven years, and he underwent brain surgery in March of that year to lessen the tremors caused by the illness.

He has since dedicated his time to focusing attention on the disease. He appeared before three congressional subcommittees in late September 1999 and asked for more federal money in the search for a cure for Parkinson's.

"What celebrity has given me," Fox said, "is the opportunity to raise the visibility of Parkinson's disease and focus attention on the desperate need for more research dollars."

Fox became a household name in the 1980s when he starred as Alex P. Keaton, the conservative, heartless son of two hippie parents in the TV sitcom "Family Ties." On that success, Fox built a movie career, with blockbuster hits like "Back to the Future."

A crippling illness affecting 1 million Americans

Parkinson's disease is a progressive, degenerative disease that ultimately renders some patients unable to walk, talk or take care of themselves. Other patients are able to manage their symptoms for many years without becoming disabled.

An estimated 1 million Americans -- including Attorney General Janet Reno and former heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali -- suffer from the disease, which has no known cause and no cure.

Health: Parkinson's Disease

Michael J. Fox pitches for Parkinson's research
September 28, 1999
Drug may provide new hope for Parkinson's treatment
July 26, 1999
Michael J. Fox reveals he has Parkinson's disease
November 25, 1998

Internet Movie Database: Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox, A Biography
ABC-TV's Spin City
National Parkinson Foundation
Parkinson's Disease Foundation
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