Former Family Ties
dad Michael Gross
says Michael J. Fox
's emotional battle with Parkinson's disease has rekindled his relationship with his TV son.
Gross, who guest-stars as a psychologist on tomorrow's Spin City season finale, confesses to the TV Guide Channel that he and Fox had dropped out of touch following their long run on the popular 1980s sitcom.
"When I first heard about Michael's illness, I was entirely taken by surprise," says Gross, who was doing a play in Chicago when Fox first went public with his illness. "Outside of family and a few close friends, and some of his co-workers on Spin City, very few people knew about Michael's condition."
Upon hearing the news, Gross placed a phone call to Fox and the two began chatting again. Their renewed bond grew stronger when Gross, looking to pursue theater full-time, moved to New York City last fall.
"I greatly admire Michael and his whole take on the disease and the choices he's making now in his life," Gross says of Fox, who's leaving Spin City after this season to focus on his Parkinson's battle. "He's a very positive guy. He's coming to a wisdom about life and his place in it, which is a wisdom acquired at a very great cost. It's something that most men don't come to until they retire or until later in midlife, until they're forced to."
Gross says he and Fox were in familiar territory when they reunited on-camera for the first time in 10 years on Spin. "[Michael] just sort of hit me with his hand after we finished and said, 'It feels just like the old days, doesn't it?' And I said, 'Yeah, it really does!' It was as if those years had passed in the blink of an eye, which is kind of scary."