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Ryan Reynolds Says He’s Teaching Daughter James Lessons From ‘Intensely Smart’ Michael J. Fox 

Ryan Reynolds Says He s Teaching Daughter James Lessons From Intensely Smart Michael J Fox 886
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Ryan Reynolds is using Michael J. Fox’s work to teach some major life lessons to his eldest daughter, James.

“Last year I watched Back to the Future with my [then] 8-year-old daughter. It’s become her favorite film,” Reynolds, 47, wrote in a Wednesday, April 17, tribute to Fox, 62, for TIME 100’s Most Influential People of 2024 list. “And for now, that’s enough for me — and her. One more kid from one more generation sees what I saw.”

Reynolds said while James has “no idea” her dad’s friend is the man who played Marty McFly, he is actually “pretty damn well” acquainted with the actor. Calling him “funny,” “warm,” “handsome” and “intensely smart,” Reynolds noted that he is “lucky” to have Fox in his life. (Reynolds is the father to four girls, whom he shares with wife Blake Lively: James, Inez, 7, Betty, 4, and a fourth daughter, 14 months.)

“I don’t need to teach my daughter the level of compassion Mike has mastered,” Reynolds continued. “Or teach her to tell stories the way Mike tells stories. I need to teach her that it’s OK to fall a lot. It’s the absolute best way to know you’re flying.”

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Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease while filming Doc Hollywood in 1991 at age 29. The diagnosis came after he developed a tremor in his pinky finger and sought out a consultation with a neurologist, per the Michael J. Fox Foundation website.

While reflecting on his admiration for his longtime pal, Reynolds noted that Fox “falls a lot” — but not just because of his disease.

“He falls a lot because he’s unafraid to fly,” Reynolds wrote, revealing that the duo met 17 years ago. “I’ve watched him raise the bar for purpose and passion. It’d be kinda lazy to simply characterize him as the greatest champion of Parkinson’s research on the planet. He’s someone who helped my dad, along with millions of others, feel less alone.”

Reynolds’ father, James Chester Reynolds, died in 2015 after battling Parkinson’s disease.

He continued, “It’d be kinda lazy to simply regard [Fox] as a movie star who shaped the lives of people all over the planet with a uniquely electric wit and self-aware charm. He’s the sum of these beautiful parts. And so many more.”

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In a new interview with Howard Stern, Michael J. Fox admits he turned to alcohol to help him cope with his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 1991. Snap/Shutterstock

Two years after receiving his diagnosis, Fox began advocating for a cure, founding the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000. He has since raised awareness and over $2 billion worth of research. In May 2023, he released his documentary, Still, in which he recalled his young acting career to the trials and triumphs of his professional and personal life after his diagnosis.

“I decided to create this documentary for a couple of reasons, first bringing awareness to this disease has been very important to me for years and I wanted to continue that work through film,” Fox exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of the doc’s release. “The second is for my fans. They, along with my family, [have] been the reason I have been able to go on. As I say, my fans gave me life and I wanted to be open about mine.”

That same month, Fox and his wife, Tracy Pollan, attended the A Country Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson’s musical charity gala in Nashville, where Fox opened up about why he won’t stop fighting for a cure.

Michael J Fox Through the Years

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“After 35 years or something since I’ve been diagnosed, this is just my life and I don’t think about it much,” he told Entertainment Tonight at the time. “I don’t even think about [it]. Except that I’m thinking about what we’re going to do as a community to figure this out and find a cure – and short of a cure, [create] treatment centers that are really groundbreaking.”

Fox added that his dedication to the cause is just a product of how he’s “built” as a person, noting that Parkinson’s research goes far beyond helping just himself.

“I’m necessarily trying to figure it out for me, I’m figuring it out for everybody,” he said. “But it just is what it is. My life has been a great ride and it continues to be a great ride. And through all the challenges, it comes with all the good stuff.”

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