Michael J. Fox Recalls 'Literally Dumpster-Diving for Food' Before His Hollywood Success

"I was living on the margins. I was 18 years old with no money, no connections," the actor said

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images
Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Michael J. Fox is recalling how he struggled to stay afloat when he first started out in Hollywood.

While speaking with Variety for a cover story published Thursday about his career and new documentary Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, Fox, 61, recalled his first few years in the industry after he dropped out of high school to move from Canada to Los Angeles.

After explaining he felt from a young age he "was more talented than a lot of people," the Back to the Future actor recalled a moment from his feature film debut on the 1980 movie Midnight Madness where he realized he was "going to make it."

"I was sitting around with all these actors and I remember thinking, 'Why is this going to work for me and not for them?' " Fox said. "It's not that I wished them unhappiness or bad luck — I wished them all the success in the world.

"But I knew I was going to make it. God knows why," he told Variety. "I was living on the margins. I was 18 years old, with no money, no connections, literally dumpster-diving for food."

Related:A Look Back at Michael J. Fox's Life and Career in Photos, from Family Ties to Family Man

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Michael J. Fox in 1986
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Michael J. Fox in 1986

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Fox's remarkable career and three-decades-long experience living with Parkinson's disease are covered in his new documentary, which has received a significant amount of support from friends like Meg Ryan, Bill Murray and Katie Couric ahead of its streaming debut Friday.

On May 4, Ryan, Murray, Couric and others, including Joan Jett, Sharon Osbourne and Fox's former Rescue Me costar Denis Leary, attended a special screening of the movie at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in New York City.

Fox recently told PEOPLE, "it means so much" to see that they all showed up to watch his Apple TV+ film. "Especially if you can get Bill to come, you've done something. You've moved mountains!" he joked. "And Meg. Joan was there. So many people. It means a lot to me because friendship means a lot."

He continued that "just the fact that they would want to" come, rather than out of a sense of obligation, was moving.

RELATED VIDEO: Meg Ryan Makes Rare Appearance as She Steps Out to Support Michael J. Fox and His New Documentary

Still, directed by Davis Guggenheim, chronicles Fox's childhood in Canada, his rise to stardom on Family Ties, his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease, and his life today with his wife of 35 years, Tracy Pollan, 62, and their four children, Sam, 33, twins Aquinnah and Schuyler, 28, and Esmé, 21.

"It's really an unusual film. It really brings people together in a way that I feel good about given how hard we're pushing against each other and how furiously we're pulling apart as a society," he told PEOPLE.

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie streams on Apple TV+ Friday.

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