Michael was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer, which doctors treated with aggressive chemotherapy and radiation. Despite the gravity of the situation, Michael says he never doubted that he would live to share his story. "The odds, first of all, were very good at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center [in New York City], in this particular cancer," Michael says. "But, I must say, I didn't go through the whole mortality number."
Over eight grueling weeks, Michael lost 32 pounds, and the treatments took a toll on his body. While many cancer patients worry about losing their hair, Michael says he was more concerned about losing his tongue. "If the radiation didn't work, then they've got to do surgery [on my tongue], and I don't know how many parts there are for silent film actors anymore," Michael says. "Dad did a great job with his stroke of overcoming his speech, but when they take out a good chunk of your tongue, it's a little more difficult."
In January 2011, Michael announced that he was cancer free, but he's not out of the woods yet. "You're a cancer survivor, and you know enough that it can come back," Michael says. "This particular type of cancer—I've got a pretty good record about not coming back...but it can."
Michael says he sees the doctor every month to ensure that he's still in remission, and after three appointments, there are no signs of cancer.