Why Michael J. Fox Chose a Sea Turtle for His First Tattoo at Age 57

Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox. Photo credit: Sylvain Gaboury/PatrickMcMullan.com

At 57 years old, Quogue resident Michael J. Fox has officially joined the bad boy crowd. On January 9, Fox received his first ink from one of the most illustrious tattoo parlors in Manhattan, Bang Bang NYC. On January 10, Fox revealed his impressive new tattoo via Instagram: a sea turtle with a piece of fin missing. This wasn’t a spontaneous mid-life crisis decision either, but rather a deliberate and meaningful experience.

The owner, Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy spoke with Inked magazine about how Fox’s first tat came to be, “We got an email from one of his associates asking to meet with [Mr.] K and talk about the design,” he said. “About a month and a half ago, they got to meet at a scheduled consultation and set up the appointment for today.”


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Represents his life and himself. Can’t decide how I feel today @realmikejfox it was an honor✨ #michealjfox #mrktattoo

A post shared by MR.K (@mr.k_tattoo) on

Why did Fox choose a sea turtle with a broken fin for his first design? McCurdy told Inked the image was linked to an iconic moment in Fox’s life: “He was telling me that there was a transformation for him with his career decisions when he was swimming in St. John. He spotted this turtle with a chunk missing from its fin and a scar on his face. And that turtle let him swim with him for about a half an hour. He made a transcending decision right after that. So that turtle was pretty significant to him.”

Fox clearly left an impact on the tattoo parlor, in more ways than one. On January 9, Mr. K, the man behind the sea turtle, posted an Instagram slideshow captioned, “Represents his life and himself. Can’t decide how I feel today @realmikejfox it was an honor.” The post shows Fox’s tattoo, a photo of them standing side by side with Mr. K’s autographed Back to The Future hoverboard and a video of Fox signing it.

Mr. K wasn’t the only one lucky enough to get an autograph that day. McCurdy told Inked that Fox signed a bunch of stuff for the employees and tattoo artists, and on January 10, Bang Bang NYC’s official Instagram posted a slideshow captioned, “For @realmikejfox thank you for the trust as well as letting us fan out a bit after! Thank you for sharing the story of your tattoo with me. Keep following that turtle.”

The slideshow featured McCurdy standing next to Fox and Mr. K holding their autographed gear, (in McCurdy’s case, it was his shoe).

As the phrasing goes, “Better late than never,” and though it’s Fox’s first (maybe only) tattoo, it is heartwarming that he chose something so valuable to himself. Excellent choice, Mr. Fox.

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