Michael J. Fox Remembers His Mom 2 Weeks After Her Death at 'Back to the Future' Comic-Con Panel

Michael J. Fox paid tribute to his late mother Phyllis during a Back to the Future New York Comic-Con panel on Saturday

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Michael J. Fox (L) and Phyllis Piper attend 2014 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's at The Waldorf=Astoria on November 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/MJF2014/WireImage)
Photo: Neilson Barnard/MJF2014/WireImage

Michael J. Fox is mourning the loss of his mother, Phyllis Fox.

While attending the Back to the Future Reunion Panel at New York Comic-Con (NYCC) on Saturday, Michael, 61, paid tribute to his mother, who died on Sept. 24 at age 92.

Noting how Phyllis "passed away two weeks ago," Michael shared a story about how his mother was initially against him shooting Family Ties in the daytime and Back to the Future at night in the 1980s.

"I was 23 years old, and I called her, she was in Canada, and I said, 'They want me to do this Steven Spielberg movie, but I have to do it at night and I have to do Family Ties in the daytime.' And she said, 'You'll be too tired,' " Michael said.

Detailing that he told his mom, "I live for this kind of tired. It'll be okay," in response, Michael continued, "To this day — well, till two weeks ago — my mother thought it was a really bad idea for me to do Back to the Future. She loved the movie, [but she was right], I got tired."

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 08: Actors Christopher Lloyd (L) and Michael J. Fox attend a "Back To The Future Reunion" at New York Comic Con on October 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for ReedPop)
Mike Coppola/Getty for ReedPop

Phyllis was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1929 to father Henry "Skip" Piper and mother Jane "Jenny" Piper, according to an online obituary.

She had three brothers — Kenneth, Stuart and Albert — as well as a sister, Patricia. Each of her siblings predeceased her, as did her son Mark and her daughter Karen, as well as her husband, William.

Phyllis is now survived by sons Steve and Michael, plus daughters Jackie and Kelli. Other survivors include nine grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and a great-great-granddaughter. "Nothing made her happier than watching her family grow," Phyllis' obituary states.

The online obituary asked that donations be made in Phyllis' name to an array of causes, including diabetes, Parkinson's, the Burnaby General Hospital, the BC Children's Hospital and Canuck Place, in lieu of flowers.

RELATED VIDEO: Michael J. Fox Talks About the Timeless Nature of Back to the Future

During the NYCC panel over the weekend, Michael also chatted about being optimistic amid the struggles he faces in his life. He was joined onstage by Back to the Future costar Christopher Lloyd.

"Well, in the last year I've broken my cheek, my eye socket, my hand, my elbow … my shoulder. I had a rough year of getting beat up," he told audience members. "But that was really cool because it made me realize … with gratitude, it's sustainable."

"If you can find something to be grateful for, if you can find something and say, 'Well, that's good,' … It'll always get better," he continued. "… I'm very optimistic."

Added Michael: "I'd say optimism is thinking that things are more likely to get better than they are to get worse. If you believe in that, and you are grateful for it, that'll sustain you the rest of your life."

Tickets to the final day of New York Comic-Con are available to purchase now.

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