Starting his acting career at an early age, Michael J. Fox got his breakout role in the 80’s sitcom Family Ties. He stole the show starring Alex P. Keaton and won the title of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series consecutively for three years. However, despite all the acclaim, one of the producers of the series did not find him the star material. Fox opened up about it during an interview with Television Academy.
Former NBC President Tried to Get Michael J. Fox Fired
Following his breakout in the 80s sitcom Family Ties, Michael J. Fox landed the lead role in the 1985 film Back to the Future. Director Robert Zemeckis has shared that Fox was always his first choice for the role of Marty McFly as he was highly impressed with his work in Family Ties.
And it turned out to be one of the biggest roles of his career. While the Back to the Future director was sure Fox was the perfect actor for the movie, but the NBC President at the time, Brandon Tartikoff, did not share the same opinion about him.
During an interview with Television Academy, the Teen Wolf star shared that Brandon Tartikoff did not like him in the role of Alex P. Keaton and even tried to get him fired several times. “He urged Gary [David Goldberg, creator] quite a few times in the first season to fire me,” he shared.
The reason behind all this was that Tartikoff believed that the 62-year-old actor did not have what it takes to be a pop culture icon. “Look at that kid. That’s not a face you’re going to see on a lunchbox,” he recalled the former NBC president’s words. Keeping this in mind, the actor planned a prank to get back at the executive following the success of his 1985 film.
Michael J. Fox Got Back at Brandon Tartikoff With a Prank
While Brandon Tartikoff did not like Michael J. Fox in Family Ties, not everyone shared the same opinion as him. The creator of the series, Gary David Goldberg, supported him against the executive’s claims, saying, “I give him three jokes, he gives me five laughs.”
Soon after starring in the 80s sitcom, he was cast as the lead in the 1985 film Back to the Future. The movie was a box office hit, having a $385 million worldwide collection, and Tartikoff was reportedly happy to be proved wrong and for Fox’s success.
He has shared that although he respected Tartikoff’s opinions and admired him a lot, Fox wanted to remind the executive of his words with a prank. He made a lunchbox with his picture and a message for the producer saying, “Brandon, this is for you to put your crow in, love Michael J. Fox.”
Back to the Future trilogy is available on Prime Video.
Source: Television Academy