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Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox Summary (Question and Answer)

Chapter Four

CHAPTER FOUR – Lost in the fun House

1

118

Fox’s meteoric rise to fortune was an amazing one. He was now in a position where he was on the cover of America’s most popular magazines, interviewed on the most listened to radio stations and was all over the television and the cinema screen. However Fox found the process of becoming famous and being famous very disconcerting. He writes that “odd as it may sound, becoming famous is something that happened to me in the same way that Parkinson’s disease happened to me.” What does he mean by this?

He wants to convey the fact that he had very little to do with how he was perceived by the public. The real Fox lived in the real world but the famous Fox lived in the collective mind of America. Whilst fame isn’t a disease, he writes, the effects can be as damaging and Fox found himself lost in that world.

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120

As a teenager in school, Fox was shy around women and generally found that they were more interested in ‘jocks’ than ‘theatre geeks’. This all changed the moment he became famous when women became much more interested in him. Was Fox concerned when people warned him that some women were only interested in him now because he was famous?

Fox didn’t mind in the slightest. He enjoyed all the advantages that fame brought to him.

3

121

Fox’s new found fame led to him meeting many famous and important people, none more so than the evening he sat next to Princess Diana at the London based premier of Back to the Future. How did Fox get over his nervous of meeting the Princess and what were the unfortunate consequences of this decision?

To get over his nerves of meeting the Princess he decided to drink a couple of beers. Unfortunately this made him desperate to use the toilet however he found himself unable to do so as etiquette demanded that he only stand to leave the room after the Princess. He thus describes his meeting with Diana as “two of the most excruciating hours of my life”.

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124

Fox finds one of the great ironies of growing up with very little money and subsequently becoming famous is that just as you earn enough money to be able to buy whatever you want, you no longer have to pay for it because every company wants to give you their products in return for your endorsement. What happened when Fox admitted to Jay Leno, live on television, that he found American beer to be too watery and so drank Canadian manufactured Moosehead Ale instead?

No sooner than he had said this on television than he received a visit from a representative of the Canadian Moosehead Ale Company who gave him a large quantity of their product along with a promise for more whenever he wanted it.

5

126

With a drive full of every car his heart desired, Fox’s greatest problem when planning for a journey was which car he should take. Once on the road, he found it frustrating when he was stuck behind cars which were not willing to break the speed limit to the same extent that he was. Despite his willingness to flaunt the laws of the road, he nevertheless was careful not to get a speeding ticket. What experience taught him that it may not even matter if he was caught speeding by the police?

The experience which taught him that the law was not such a problem for him was when he was caught driving his Ferrari in excess of 80mph down a stretch of Ventura Boulevard. Rather than revoke his license, or at least issue him with a ticket, the traffic cop just told him to drive more carefully as he wouldn’t want one of his favourite actors to die in a car crash.

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130-133

Fox outlines three strategies he employed to survive being famous. The first was always saying ‘yes’ to fans. Accordingly he would never refuse to pose for a photograph, or sign an autograph – this was especially true for charities who wanted his time and help. Secondly he kept as busy as possible, sometimes working on several project at the same time and back to back. What was his third strategy and what did it involve?

His third strategy was ‘partying his arse off’ and it involved him drinking to excess and attending every party that he had the time to.

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138

One of the things which Fox found hardest to get used to was being greeted as an old friend by celebrities he had never met. Nonetheless, one meeting with a celebrity, who was a personal childhood hero of his, stands out above all others. Who was this celebrity and how did they meet?

This celebrity was ice hockey player, Bobby Orr. They met at a charity hockey game which Fox had asked to take part in just for the opportunity to meet his hero.

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142

“I feel four foot tall” – this line, spoken by Fox as he accepted an Emmy, a top award for his work in comedy, drew great laughs from the audience. However Fox tells his readers that it was more than just a joke – what was Fox really trying to say with that line?

Fox tells his readers that what he was trying to express was a sense of surprise and disbelief at his success mixed with a deep seated feeling that he was not worthy of the attention, literally he ‘didn’t measure up’.

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144

Entrusted to his parents for safe delivery, the Emmy would meet an unfortunate end. What happened to it and how did Fox react to this news?

Fox’s father would accidentally break the award during transport. Fox was not in the least bit concerned, telling his father that the physical award meant nothing and, at any rate, he would likely be given another if he reported the accident.

10

147

Fox met Tracy, his future wife, when she was cast in Family Ties. He calls the moment that he ‘fell for her’ the ‘scampi moment’. What happened?

About four weeks into filming Fox joked with Tracy by accusing her of having bad breath, saying ”whoa, a little scampi for lunch, babe?”. At first Tracy didn’t react but then Fox could see that she was hurt and she leaned over to him and quietly said “that was mean and rude and you are a complete and total fucking arsehole”. At this moment, Fox tells his readers, he was suddenly aware of the fact that he was ‘smitten’ by her. He apologised and she came back to work – they both left the incident behind them.

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149

Before leaving the show, Tracy was very keen for Fox to hear a particular song by James Taylor which contained a number of lines about John Belushi. What did Fox think Tracy was trying to tell him with this song?

John Belushi was a famous comedian and Fox interpreted Tracy to be warning him of the dangers of getting so lost in the showbiz lifestyle that he would never find himself again.

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150-157

When, in 1987, Tracy was reunited with Fox during the filming of Bright Lights Big City, they would end up becoming much closer and a little over one year later they were married. The ceremony was a small private affair for close friends and family only. Nonetheless, every newspaper in America tried to get photos of the event. How, according to Fox, did they react in their coverage of the wedding when they failed?

When the press were unable to get any photos of the event, they reacted by covering the event in a negative way, claiming that the event had been a disaster for one reason or another.

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