When Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at age 29, already a major movie and TV star ("Family Ties," "Back to the Future"), a doctor told him he would be lucky to work for 10 more years.
Thirty years and eight Emmy nominations (including a 2009 win) later, the joke's on that guy.
But the optimism that carried Fox along even as his body betrayed him — and fueled three hopeful memoirs, beginning with "Lucky Man" in 2002 — has given way to a more sober and realistic vision in his latest book, "No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality." Part of that realism is the revelation, to himself and his fans, that his acting career is coming to an end.
"There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me," Fox writes in the book, which is out Tuesday.
He continues, "At least for now ... I enter a second retirement. That could change, because everything changes. But if this is the end of my acting career, so be it."
Here are some other takeaways from Fox's fourth memoir.
Some Trump digs
His past struggles with sobriety
Memory loss and delusions
A missed gig with a Hollywood ending
Keith Richards and more famous friends
Unfortunately, Fox was dealing at the time with an excruciatingly painful pinched sciatic nerve and had to cut the trip short. "Oh god, Keith Richards looks better than I feel," he thought.
Fox also writes at length about hitting the links with his golfing buddies, author Harlan Coben and ABC News' George Stephanopoulos; hanging out with former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.); and working with the likes of Larry David.
His binge-watches may surprise you
Watching vintage TV, Fox "[slips] into another reality. It’s one of the million iterations of time travel — to visit a world that’s pre-me ... Just like the performers in these old shows, someday I will survive myself in reruns."
Love and family ties
"She’s not always a rock, but that’s okay," he writes. "Rocks are solid, stubborn, and immovable. That’s me. Tracy, on the other hand, has learned to keep the rock rolling."
Not so happy days on 'The Michael J. Fox Show'
Ultimately, he takes responsibility for the show's failures. He didn't have “the focus or the bandwidth to administer the life support the show would need to make it. That’s on me, and I’m fine with that.”
He took inspiration from Quentin Tarantino
He writes, "DiCaprio, playing a cowboy actor who’s seen better days, keeps screwing up his lines ... Furious at himself over his chronic inability to remember and deliver the dialogue... [he] berates himself viciously over his abject failure. I feel his pain. I’ve obviously been there.
"But weighed against everything else in my life, I don't find it worthy of self-excoriation ... My work as an actor does not define me."
Despite several setbacks and scares, Fox remains committed to advice his late father-in-law Stephen Pollan gave him, "With gratitude, optimism becomes sustainable."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.