Michael J. Fox Laughs Off Criticism Of Political Ads

WASHINGTON (October 29, 2006) — Michael J. Fox laughed off criticism of his appearance in recent political ads in support of embryonic stem cell research, but said his mother was not as amused.

“She was not happy,” Fox said during an interview aired Sunday’s on ABC’s “This Week.”

Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease, said his mother, Phyllis, was with him when he shot the ads and knew that he “was struggling to stay still. Because I truly wanted to stay still. It’s more comfortable. It’s not comfortable to be moving around.”

Fox, who supports embryonic stem cell research as a possible cure for Parkinson’s, drew some conservative criticism after a Missouri ad began running during the World Series. It showed Fox visibly shaking while urging viewers to vote yes for stem-cell research and for a Democratic Senate candidate over the Republican incumbent.

Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh criticized him, claiming that Fox was “either off his medication or acting.” Limbaugh, who apologized later in his broadcast, called Fox “really shameless” in his effort to stir up sympathy.

Fox said he was neither acting nor off his medication.

“I’m experienced enough and mature enough to take my licks,” said Fox, who was shaking during the interview aired Sunday. “But I know the community was really hurt by it. And it really brings up the specter of, ‘go away, shut the window, shut the doors, close the curtains and suffer, and don’t let us know,’ because it’s a fearful response.”

Fox, 45, who starred on TV’s “Family Ties” and “Spin City” as well as the “Back to the Future” films, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991 and revealed his condition publicly in 1998. In 2000, he quit full-time acting because of his symptoms and founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which has raised millions of dollars.

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