Nightly News   |  September 25, 2013

Michael J. Fox: ‘I don’t look at myself as a leader’

It’s been 22 years since Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating illness that had put his career on hold.  His return to television, including new NBC comedy “The Michael J. Fox Show,” has been an inspiration to those with the same diagnosis. NBC’s Willie Geist reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight michael j. fox is back on this network where he made his bones and became a star. this time around he plays a guy returning to work while living with park son's, just like michael j. fox . he sat down with nbc's willie geist whose own dad is waging a fight with parken son's to talk about his return and being an inspiration to a lot of people.

>> reporter: he burst onto our tv sets in the '80s as alex p. keaton on "family ties".

>> you evr life depends on it!

>> my uncle has alzheimer's.

>> i have parkinson 's.

>> either way.

>> reporter: now 22 years after his diagnose know sis, michael j. fox is making a full-time return to television.

>> we are starving.

>> reporter: in the nbc comedy "the michael j. fox show." fox plays mike henry , a family man and tv anchor returning to work five years after parkinson 's put his career on hold.

>> we love you, bro!

>> reporter: you got your diagnose know sis -- diagnosis when you were 30. that must have flattened you.

>> it came with a prognosis that i would have maybe ten years left to work. i was just married. my son was just born.

>> for people living with parkinson 's, the status quo is not enough.

>> reporter: he gave strength to one million americans living with the disease, my own father among them. i'm on the board of the michael j. fox foundation. the greatest compliment i can pay you is when i my dad went through the decision of whether or not to be public with it, i can point to you. i can point to michael j. fox and say, look what he's done with it. do you have a sense for the way you have inspired people?

>> i don't look at myself as a leader. i do look at myself as part of the community. i'm a visible member of the community. if i can set the example for people and make them feel that you don't have to shut it down. you don't have to withdraw. it doesn't have to be life-t shattering, life-end ing or life-destroying or anything. just be a new thing that pushes you to a new place.