a man accepts an Oscar award

Michael J. Fox to Receive Honorary Award for Parkinson's Work

Michael J. Fox, 61, is set to receive an honorary Oscar Award this fall for his contribution to Parkinson’s research. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts selected him for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his dedication to Parkinson’s research and treatment.

According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences website, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award is "an Oscar statuette . . . given to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry." This year’s honoree is Michael J. Fox, who has been a beacon for many Parkinson’s patients for years.1

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was named after actor Jean Hersholt, who was a legendary philanthropist. Hersholt began his career as an actor in Denmark, where he was born. In 1913, he moved to the United States and continued his acting career.1

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In 1938, he began working diligently as the president of the Motion Picture Relief Fund. There, he dedicated his time to the service of others. His efforts helped contribute to higher levels of financial support for those in need, specifically in the film industry.1

About Michael J. Fox

Like Hersholt, Fox has been a philanthropist throughout his life. His work has been predominantly dedicated to Parkinson’s disease because of his own relationship to the condition. After Fox’s Parkinson’s diagnosis at the age of 29, he kept the diagnosis quiet for a number of years. It wasn’t until 1998 that he made his condition public.2

Then, in 2000, he established the Michael J. Fox Foundation to advocate for a cure for the disease. The foundation has been responsible for advocacy efforts and the development of treatments and therapies for those with Parkinson’s. It also has made financial contributions to early-stage therapeutic investigations, clinical trials, and several Parkinson’s-oriented programs.2

Long before he was a Parkinson’s advocate, Michael J. Fox made a name for himself as a prolific actor. In the 1980s, he claimed fame after he played Alex P. Keaton in the Family Ties sitcom.

Although Fox has received many different awards in his life, he has yet to claim a coveted Academy Award. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recognizes Michael J. Fox’s work as both an actor and a Parkinson’s advocate.2

Past recipients

Past recipients of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award include Danny Glover in 2021. He worked to build the United Nations Development Program to combat poverty and disease.

In 2020, Tyler Perry received the same award for his philanthropic work on various social causes. He helped the families of people of color who were killed by the police. He also created platforms for artists to work during quarantine.

And in 2019, Geena Davis received the Jean Hersholt Award for her efforts to support gender equality in Hollywood. The Oscar winner founded the Geena Davis Institute to provide opportunities for genders of all kinds in media.

Fox is expected to receive the award in November.

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