Michael J. Fox talks being “80s famous” and compares it to today’s social media instant celebrity

The iconic Michael J. Fox reflects on the status of being an 80s pop culture icon and how busting his butt to get to it differs from today’s celebrities.

This week has seen a lot of news content from Michael J. Fox since People Magazine celebrates their 50th anniversary with a profile on the star after they covered the heartbreaking revelation of his condition back in 1998. Fox is a big face of 80s pop culture thanks to his work in Family Ties, Teen Wolf, The Secret of My Success, and, of course, Back to the Future. According to Variety, Fox recalls when someone coined to him the phrase “80s famous” as he explained to People, “There’s an expression I referred to when they gave me an honorary Academy Award — somebody said to me the day before, they were talking about getting this award and being famous and they said ‘You’re ‘80s famous.’”

Fox expanded on this point of view, “I thought, ‘Wow, that’s cool.’ ‘80s famous. Right, we were different. We were tougher. We didn’t have social media, we didn’t have any of that crap. We were just famous. Left to our own resources. And it was an amazing time.” People followed up by asking if it’s harder being famous then than it is now and Fox replied, “Well, you had to be talented. That helped.” He continued, “We used to bust our ass, our acting muscles and watch other actors and sit around with other actors and talk about acting and talk about it. And now you’ve got people who just go like, ‘Who’s your sweater? What’s your sweater you’re wearing? And what’s that dance step?’ And you’re the most famous person in the world.”

For those who have not seen the documentary Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, the Spin City star would recall traveling to Hollywood on his own from his home in Canada. He didn’t have a work permit, so acting was not only his ambition; it was the only way to put food on the table. In the film, Fox talked bout his first apartment, which was a tiny studio where his bathroom sink also served as his kitchen sink and was constantly chock full of unwashed dishes. He also spoke about having a sectional couch that he would occasionally sell section-by-section if he was in need of money, all while he was auditioning non-stop and worked bit roles until he got Family Ties. Then, the rest became history.

About the Author

E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/michael-j-fox-80s-famous/

author avatar
SBS editor