The “Back to the Future” star was born Michael Andrew Fox in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, according to Britannica. After kicking off his career at the age of 15, Fox hadn’t considered changing the name he had always gone by: Michael Fox. But he ran into a problem when he joined the Screen Actors Guild after moving to the United States, as The Telegraph pointed out. When trying to register his stage name, Fox learned that he had been beaten by the character actor who shared his name, the Michael Fox of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” and “Young Frankenstein,” according to IMDb

As Fox had never considered changing his name, he had to sit with his options. “My middle name is Andrew, but ‘Andrew Fox’ or ‘Andy Fox’ didn’t cut it for me,” Fox wrote in “Lucky Man: A Memoir.” He also didn’t care for Michael A. Fox because the pronunciation of the letter was too close to the Canadian interjection “Eh,” he explained. “And then I remembered one of my favorite character actors, Michael J. Pollard, the guileless accomplice in ‘Bonnie and Clyde,'” Fox noted. 

Fox sandwiched a J between his given name and last name and resubmitted his application. There was no other Michael J. Fox on the books, so the actor successfully found the perfect stage name — and an opportunity to fool people. “… I sometimes tell people [the J] stands for either ‘Jenuine’ or ‘Jenius’ …” he wrote. 

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