Top the Trizzle leaderboard by 5 p.m. Friday to win a $100 gift card! Learn more


AARP Real Possibilities



AARP Games - Play Now!

Contests and

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Car buying made easy with the AARP Auto Buying Program



Top 20 Celebrity Activists of All Time

An inside look at stars ranging from Harry Belafonte to Ronald Reagan

Political activist Michael J. Fox speaks with Teresa Heinz-Kerry

Michael J. Fox talks with Teresa Heinz-Kerry, the wife of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, in 2004. — Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Michael J. Fox

Since revealing in 1998 that he has Parkinson's disease, Fox has been a powerful and poignant voice for expanding federal efforts to find a cure — particularly by funding stem-cell research.

In 2006, Fox effectively campaigned for several Democratic candidates who supported stem-cell research, most memorably appearing in an ad that helped Claire McCaskill win a Senate seat in Missouri. The ad, which dramatically featured Fox shaking uncontrollably, was instantly attacked by Rush Limbaugh, but the criticism backfired and compounded the ad's impact.

Fox's influence as an advocate is rooted both in his personal connection to his cause and the persistence of his work for it. "Few celebrities have ever been associated more closely with a cause for as long as Michael J. Fox, and his selfless efforts have inspired many others to follow suit," a Democratic insider said in National Journal's survey. A Republican said: "Michael J. Fox is unequivocally No. 1, because unlike the others, he is advocating for an issue that affects him personally and profoundly. It is moving."

Even as Fox has lobbied for greater government support, his foundation has funded more than $200 million in Parkinson's research, magnifying his impact.

Next: Bob Geldof >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members save 20% on digital hearing aids with AARP® Hearing Care Program from HearUSA.

AARP Discounts on Consumer Cellular Phones and Plans

Members save 5% on monthly service and usage charges with Consumer Cellular.

Woman holding smartphone in city, Google map tool

Members can locate discounts via the AARP® Member Advantages Offer Finder mobile app.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.