Michael J. Fox is AARP's cover boy, and movie mom Lea Thompson feels old

He may be 60, but the actor is still as McFly as ever, fans say.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Michael J. Fox is 60, but to many fans, he's still the sassy, young Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties, or the time-traveling Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movie series. So it might be a shock to see him show up on the cover of AARP The Magazine, the bimonthly magazine for the nonprofit group for people over age 50. 

But no one was as unnerved by Fox's cover appearance as actress Lea Thompson, also 60, who played Marty's mom in the Back to the Future Films.

"Ummm my son is on the cover of AARP," Thompson tweeted on Wednesday. "Makes me feel proud. And a bit old."

It's not even Fox's first time as AARP's cover boy. He graced the cover back in March 2017 when he was 55. But it's tough for some to accept he's now 60.

"I thought you guys had access to the Time Machine for real because you both don't age!" one fan tweeted in reply to Thompson.

Wrote another, "And he's still as (Mc)Fly as ever. Would it be weird to hang AARP on my wall like it's Tiger Beat?"

Not everyone understood the "son" joke, but as those who saw the Back to the Future films know, Fox's character travels back in time and meets his mother (Thompson) as a teenager, which is how the movie was able to cast same-age actors as mother and son.

"LOL! You are (too) young to have a 60-year-old!" tweeted one person. "You are both pure awesome, you were both a big part of my TV/movie experience growing up."

In the AARP profile, Fox discusses his Parkinson's disease, which helped him decide to retire from acting last year.

"I'm really blunt with people about cures," he tells the magazine. "When they ask me if I will be relieved of Parkinson's in my lifetime, I say, 'I'm 60 years old, and science is hard. So, no.'"

But he also encourages those with the disease not to give up.

"You don't die of  Parkinson's," Fox said. "You die with Parkinson's, because once you have it, you have it for life -- until we can remedy that, and we're working hard at it. So, to live with it, you need to exercise and be in shape and to eat well. If you can't drive, find a way to get around. Maintain friendships. Don't say, 'Oh, I don't have anything to say to Bob.' Bob might have something to say to you. Just make the call."

It can be uncomfortable to see a heartthrob actor turn up on the cover of AARP The Magazine, and this isn't the first time. When the late Luke Perry showed up on the cover in 2016, many of the fans who remembered him as bad boy Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills 90210 suddenly felt "90210ld." 

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