Did Michael J. Fox Have to Learn to Skateboard for Back to the Future?

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Michael J. Fox has to learn how to ride a skateboard for Back to the Future.

As you likely know by now, since it is such an iconic film, skateboarding plays a major role in Back to the Future. Right from the start of the movie, we see Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) getting to school on his skateboard including some rather dangerous stunts involving holding on to the backs of cars and trucks to make himself go faster...

Later, when he has traveled to the past and is being pursued by Biff and Biff's gang of goons, Marty borrows a kid's toy that involves a board with skates on it and he tears off the excess material to turn it into a primitive skateboard. This leads to an awesome stunt where Marty skates towards the villains in their car and then jumps on to their hood and runs from the top to the back of their car and then jumps off on to his skateboard, which has drifted through the bottom of the car in the process.

It was stunt double Charlie Croughwell who did the tricky stunts (like the car stunt). Croughwell (who is actually slightly shorter than Fox) became Fox's stunt double for years after this film...

However, Fox still had to do some skateboarding in the film and the persistent rumor is that Fox had to learn how to ride a skateboard for this movie. It's even on the Back to the Future wiki, "Although Fox learned how to skateboard for his role in the first film..."

Is that true?

No, it is not. Fox was a fairly regular skateboarder when he was a teen before he became a successful actor.

In fact, a few years back, Fox actually auctioned off his very first skateboard for charity, noting, “This skateboard was a gift for my 15th birthday in 1976. It was the board I learned to skateboard on before I got to use some of my old tricks in Back to the Future. It will come with a signed certificate of authenticity.”

So, the legend is...


Be sure to check out my archive of Movie Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of film.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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