Happy 50th Birthday! Our Five Favorite Michael J. Fox Moments

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THIERRY ORBAN / CORBIS

From a basketball-hogging werewolf, to Deputy Mayor of New York, to leading the charge for a Parkinson’s cure, Michael J. Fox has played every role he’s called for with a playful ease and inimitable professionalism.

To help celebrate this, his 50th birthday, we take a look back at five of our favorite Michael J. Fox moments from his legendary career.

(PHOTOS: The Multitalented Michael J. Fox)

5. Back to the Future II – The Hoverboard Scene

In an ode to the wicked skateboard scene from the original flick, Marty McFly takes things one step further when he is again confronted by a bumbling gang of bullies he must outrace – this time, on a futuristic hoverboard from the year 2015. (That leaves us, oh, four more years until we should see kids heel-flipping over treetops.)

4. Family Ties – Alex Loves Ellen (and Michael Loves Tracy)

“At this Moment” was a song penned by Billy Vera & the Beaters that encapsulated the love life of Family Ties’ lovable protagonist, Alex P. Keaton. Here, his onscreen relationship with his free-spirited girlfriend Ellen Reed (played by actress Tracy Pollan) is made all the more better by the fact that Michael and Tracy tied the knot in real life in 1988 – and have been married ever since.

3. Teen Wolf – Surfing USA

The cult classic that spawned an MTV relaunch is perhaps best remembered for this scene, in which our furry basketball star surfs through town atop a van. Why does he do it? Because that’s what werewolves do, apparently.

2. Fox Responds to Limbaugh

At the pinnacle of the stem cell debate, an extra blow-hard-y Rush Limbaugh accused the Parkinson’s afflicted actor of “playing up” his symptoms to elicit sympathy, thus furthering his political aims. Here, in Fox’s first interview following the asinine criticism, he responds with the dignity and poise that have come to define his career. “Nobody in this position wants pity,” he states bluntly. “I’m not a victim.”

1. Back to the Future – Marty McFly Plays “Johnny B. Goode” 

The scene that inspired thousands of kids to pick up a guitar and rock their parents’ basements may have launched Fox’s career into the stratosphere, but it’s also our favorite because it captured the rebellious spirit of the ’80s and cemented Back to the Future as, well, timeless.

(MORE: 10 Questions for Michael J. Fox)