BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Michael J. Fox will return to series TV with a four-episode guest role on FX's "Rescue Me."
FX also announced on Tuesday that Academy Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden ("Pollock") will be joining the Glenn Close legal drama "Damages" as a second-season series regular, while Ted Danson will return to the show for several episodes.
On "Rescue Me," which stars Denis Leary as troubled firefighter Tommy Gavin, Fox will play a "very funny, very original character," said John Landgraf, president and general manager of FX Networks.
Fox's character, who uses a wheelchair, is the new boyfriend of Tommy's estranged wife Janet (Andrea Roth) and will be introduced in the fifth-season premiere in spring 2009. The episode's air date was not announced.
Fox, 47, a friend of Leary's, was "really excited about the part," Landgraf said.
The star of TV's "Family Ties" and "Spin City" and the "Back to the Future" films was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991 and revealed his condition publicly in 1998.
He quit acting full time in 2000 because of his symptoms, which for people living with Parkinson's — a chronic, progressive disorder of the central nervous system — can include muscle rigidity, tremor and slowness of movement.
He has acted sporadically in smaller roles, including a several-episode guest appearance in 2006 on ABC's "Boston Legal," playing a business tycoon with cancer. For that role and others, Fox generally has sought to control his movements, though his illness was evident.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, founded by the actor, has raised millions of dollars, and Fox has been a vocal supporter of stem cell research.
Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive disorder of the central nervous system that leaves patients increasingly unable to control their movements.