Back to the Future cast now – Parkinson’s diagnosis to suing production company

The Back to the Future trilogy had an understandably huge cultural impact all across the globe.

Fans were treated to a story of time-travelling chaos, featuring main character Marty McFly as he took Doc’s time-machine – in the convenient shape of a DMC DeLorean – backwards and forwards through the years.

The first film is now considered to be one of the greatest films of all time since its 1985 release, and has even been preserved in the United States Library of Congress in the National Film Registry.

Its spin-offs included an animated TV series, various video games including a release of Back to the Future Pinball as recently as 2017, and a range of comic books.

There have even been board games themed around the iconic trilogy – and it scored itself a theme park ride at the World Expo area of Universal Studios Florida, in which guests were taken on a wild journey in pursuit of movie villain Biff Tannen.

The ride was replaced by The Simpsons ride in 2007, but it still remains well thought of by fans.

To celebrate the 60th birthday of Michael J. Fox, we take a look at where the cast of the legendary trilogy are today – from a tragic Parkinson’s diagnosis to a successful court cases against film producers.

Marty McFly – Michael J. Fox

Protagonist Marty McFly is the world’s second ever time traveler – after Einstein – and the first person ever to travel to the past in Doc’s time machine.

While things understandably get a little confusing as Marty hurtles through the years, life for actor Michael J. Fox was similarly bizarre, as he was catapulted to fame for his iconic portrayal of Marty.

But Back to the Future was far from his first role – that was when he appeared as Jamie in the TV show Leo and Me way back in 1978.

Since appearing in all three of the Back to the Future movies, Michael has also starred in shows like The Good Wife, Scrubs and Designated Survivor, as well as being awarded his own comedy show – The Michael J. Fox Show – in 2014.

Most famously, though, Michael actually lent his voice to the iconic kids’ character Stuart Little for all three films featuring the white mouse.

But life hasn’t all been plain sailing – in 1991, he publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s Disease.

He told People magazine about the moment a noncancerous tumour began to grow on his spine, causing him to fall and break his arm: "That was definitely my darkest moment. I just snapped. I was leaning against the wall in my kitchen, waiting for the ambulance to come, and I felt like ‘This is as low as it gets for me.’

"There’s no bright side to this, no upside. This is all just regret and pain," he confessed.

He told NPR in an interview that he "love[s his] mother too much to give her a hug", as he isn’t in control of his bodily movements, and admitted words come to his mind quicker than he can speak them, meaning he sometimes has to "arrive at a word that’s not quite what I want to say."

To help others with Parkinson's, Michael set up The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for the disease, and better therapies to cope with its symptoms, through funded research.

But things began looking up for the star when he focused back on optimism, writing in his fourth memoir: "Accepting that this thing has happened, and you accept it for what it is. It doesn’t mean that you can’t endeavour to change […] just put it in its proper place, then see how much the rest of your life you have to thrive in."

And thankfully, he has wife Tracy Pollan there to help him through the hard times.

The lovebirds tied the knot in 1988 after meeting on the set of Family Ties, when they played boyfriend and girlfriend.

The pair have four children together.

Dr Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown – Christopher Lloyd

Since appearing as the iconic – if a little batty – Dr Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown in Back to the Future, actor Christopher Lloyd has taken part in a whole host of other projects.

His roles include appearances in the 2016 film I Am Not a Serial Killer, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Clue, in which he portrayed Professor Plum.

But his personal life has been a little rockier than his professional career, as Christopher has been married no less than five times.

His first wedding took place in 1959 to Catharine Dallas Dixon Boyd, though they divorced 12 years later in 1971.

Christopher went on to wed Otherworld actress Kay Tornborg in 1974, divorcing her in 1987 before tying the knot wiith Carol Ann Vanek in 1988.

His fourth marriage came in 1992 to screenwriter Jane Walker Wood, before they divorced in 2005.

Finally, Christopher exchanged vows with his real-estate agent Lisa Loiacono, who had helped him to sell his Montecito residence in 2012.

The 82-year-old insists that: "Wife number five is the last!", telling The Guardian: "[Lockdown] has been good. We have dinners at home; Lisa prepares wonderful food. I think we got to know each other more, and better."

He added that his current wife Lisa enjoyed going hiking with his ex Jane Walker Wood during the pandemic, but said he wasn’t afraid of what they could be chatting about, and was "glad they’re having fun."

Christopher was struck by tragedy in 2008, when his $11million home in Los Angeles was destroyed in the ‘Tea Fire’ – a blaze which started at the Tea Garden Estate in Santa Barbara.

As he picked through the rubble, the actor said: "Boy, look at that. All this happens in a couple of minutes."

Biff Tannen – Thomas F. Wilson

Villain Buford ‘Biff’ Tannen was a high-school bully to Marty’s dad George, becoming the leader of a skinhead gang in 1955.

But actor Thomas F. Wilson is – thankfully – a far cry from his on-screen persona.

He’s perhaps best known for lending his voice to an array of SpongeBob SquarePants characters – and he’ll even star in spin-off programme The Patrick Star Show as Cecil Star.

But he’s also starred in everything from Legends of Tomorrow to Family Guy, and has voiced a number of video game characters.

He has been married to wife Caroline Thomas since July 1985, and the lovebirds have four children together.

As well as his acting career, Tom is a keen stand-up comic – and found the repetitive nature of interviews so frustrating when he first rose to fame that he wrote a song about it to be included in his comedy routine, entitled ‘Biff’s Question Song’.

Those aren’t his only skills, however – he’s a keen painter, and was selected in 2006 to join the California Featured Artist Series at Disneyland.

He even released an album of Christian songs in 2000, meaning his vocal chords aren’t too shabby, either!

Jennifer Parker – Claudia Wells

Wife of Marty McFly, Jennifer became the world’s fourth ever time traveller in the original series.

Jennifer was originally portrayed by Claudia Wells, before Elisabeth Shue reprised the role as Claudia couldn’t partake due to personal reasons, which she didn’t disclose at the time.

But Claudia’s decision to leave her acting career actually came as her mother was tragically diagnosed with cancer, and instead started her own clothing shop – Armani Wells – in the 1990s.

“Life was very, very difficult and stressful,” Claudia told People magazine. “I just didn’t have it in me to do anything but deal with the stress and the emotions that were going on as a result of my mom being in the process of dying.”

But she’s since returned to acting, starring in various projects including The Mentalist and Alien Armageddon – and she wasn’t finished entirely with Back to the Future, either, as she came back to voice Jennifer in various video games.

Clara Clayton – Mary Steenburgen

Though she only appeared in the final film of the trilogy, Clara Clayton left a huge impression on Back to the Future fans when she popped up as Doc’s wife.

Actress Mary Steenburgen also appeared in the animated Back to the Future TV series in 1992, and has since appeared in various films and TV shows including Christmas flick Elf, 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Orange is the New Black.

Mary married star of A Clockwork Orange Malcolm McDowell after meeting him on the set of Time After Time, and the pair had two children together, including film director Charlie McDowell – but they later divorced.

Mary went on to marry Cheers actor Ted Danson, who she now lives with in LA.

They met during auditions for 1983 film Cross Creek – but Ted didn’t get the part, which he said was actually a relief.

"I was a hot mess back then," he told People, as Mary chimed in: "I was married. He was married. That was not our moment."

But they both achieved roles on the 1993 movie Pontiac Moon, shortly after Ted left his relationship with Hollywood star Whoopi Goldberg and finalised his divorce from second wife Casey Coates.

"It was very magical," Ted told the publication, referring to a romantic picnic and canoe trip. "We came back in love, to be honest, or I’ll say smitten."

But her husbands aren’t Mary’s only famous connections, as she is also pals with former presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

George McFly – Crispin Glover

Known best for playing Marty’s dad George McFly, Crispin Glover has also starred in everything from Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland.

He’s also directed various films and written a whole host of books, along with releasing an album of cover songs in 1989.

But he hasn’t been without controversy, as he even forced seasoned chat show host David Letterman to walk off-set mid-interview in 1987.

While promoting his film River’s Edge, Crispin appeared wearing platform shoes and a wig, before proceeding to almost kick David Letterman right in the face – and prompted him to walk right off-set mid-interview.

It was later speculated that he was merely acting in-character or practicing some method acting, as he appeared in the movie Rubin & Ed a few years later, in which his character Rubin Farr was similarly eccentric.

Crispin isn’t married and doesn’t have any kids, as he feels 'unfit' to be a father with his hectic career.

He did, however, have a brief romance with Penthouse magazine’s Pet of the Month Alexa Lauren from 2001 to 2003.

And he made an even bigger name for himself after deciding to sue the Back to the Future crew, as his character George was recast as Jeffrey Weissman, who was coated in heavy prosthetics to give him the same appearance as Crispin.

Crispin quit the role as his "offer was less than half of what Lea Thompson and Tom Wilson" were offered for "similar-sized roles".

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The actor told Yahoo! Entertainment: "They stole something, and it’s illegal to steal something, it’s really that simple. [Producer and writer] Bob Gale is quite literally a thief, no exaggeration."

He wasn’t keen on the idea of filmmakers using his likeness without permission, and successfully sued Universal Pictures n 1990 for an alleged $760,000.

His action even led to new clauses being written into the Screen Actors Guild agreements, to prevent the same “theft” happening again.

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