These days, conventions organizers can never stop planning their next fan gatherings. That's because more conventions than ever are competing to get bigger celebrity guests to mingle and take photos with the fans. The next Fan Expo Dallas gathering doesn't start until April, but it's already scored a huge and revered pop culture icon for the convention: actor Michael J. Fox.
Fan Expo Dallas announced last week on its website that the star of the Back to the Future trilogy and TV shows such as Spin City and Family Ties will attend the next fan convention, scheduled for April 6-8 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
The Canadian-born actor first gained fame in the early 1980s as the conservative high-schooler Alex P. Keaton on the NBC sitcom Family Ties, a role that earned him five consecutive Emmy nominations and three Emmy wins for lead actor in a comedy.
Fox made the jump from TV star to film star in 1985 with the high school comedy Teen Wolf and the smash hit sci-fi comedy Back to the Future. He played the skateboarding time-traveler Marty McFly alongside actor Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown, the mad genius who built a time machine out of a DeLorean sports car. The latter film spawned two sequels and has become one of the most successful film trilogies in Hollywood history.
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Fox continued to work on films in the early '90s after the release of the final Back to the Future film in 1990. He said during a recent interview with Jane Pauley on CBS Sunday Morning that he started to notice the first signs of Parkinson's disease while filming the romantic comedy Doc Hollywood in 1991. He didn't go public with the diagnosis until seven years later in a People Magazine interview while starring on the hit ABC sitcom Spin City. He became a vocal advocate for scientific research and public health funding and founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, which has contributed more than $750 million to research projects to seek a cure for the disease, according to the group's website.
Fox is the latest star from the Back to the Future films to join the local fan convention circuit. Actor and comedian Tom Wilson, who played the evil Biff Tannen and other members of the Tannen family throughout time in the Back to the Future trilogy, attended last year's Fan Expo Dallas convention. Lloyd also has a long history of touring with the national Fan Expo convention circuit.
Imagine what the lines for photos would look like if they could also get actors Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover to put Fan Expo Dallas on their schedules in April.