NEW YORK — New York Comic-Con attendees received a rare glimpse Saturday into both personal grief and real-world “family ties” as Michael J. Fox parlayed his appearance on a “Back to the Future” reunion panel into a touching tribute to his late mother, Phyllis Fox.
Michael J. Fox, whose portrayal of Alex P. Keaton on “Family Ties” had already made the then-23-year-old actor a household name, skyrocketed to fame following the 1985 release of the fan-favorite, time-travel flick, anchored by veteran funnyman Christopher Lloyd.
Fox, now 61, shared a sweet story during Saturday’s reunion panel at New York Comic-Con, however, that showed even the mothers of A-list actors are never shy about sharing their opinions when it comes to their offspring and time management.
“I was 23 years old, and I called her. She was in Canada, and I said, ‘They want me to do this Steven Spielberg movie, but I have to do it at night, and I have to do ‘Family Ties’ in the daytime.’ And she said, ‘You’ll be too tired,’” the actor recalled, noting that he told her he lived for that “kind of tired” and “it’ll be okay,” People magazine reported.
Nearly 40 years later, Michael J. Fox admitted that his mother was right all along.
“To this day — well, till two weeks ago — my mother thought it was a really bad idea for me to do ‘Back to the Future.’ She loved the movie, [but she was right], I got tired,” he told the panel.
According to her official obituary, Phyllis Fox was born Phyllis Piper in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1929. She died Sept. 24 at the age of 92.
She was preceded in death by three brothers, Kenneth, Stuart and Albert; a sister, Patricia; her son, Mark; her daughter, Karen; and her husband, William. She is survived by two sons, Steve and Michael; daughters, Jackie and Kelli; nine grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and a great-great granddaughter.
“Nothing made her happier than watching her family grow,” her obituary stated.
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