Guest star gigs let Michael J. Fox dip his toe into the acting waters after walking away from his starring role on “Spin City” in 2000 due to symptoms from Parkinson’s disease.

The guest shots were great,” Fox says. “It really brought me to a place of, ‘This is what I do. This is what I was built and programmed to do.’”

Those dips turned into numerous nominations and at least one trip to the Emmy podium to pick up a gold statue for his work. While Fox also did voice work, each guest role kept Fox from disappearing from the public eye.

SEE ALSO: More Emmy News, Features

“When I watched those guest shots, I just kept being reminded of just how good he is,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt says. “And also how beloved he is as an actor and how good he is as a drama actor (and) comedy actor.”

After his first post-retirement TV shot on “Scrubs” in 2004, Fox was nominated in 2006 for guesting on “Boston Legal.” He snagged a win with “Rescue Me” for his 2009 role as a mean, drug-addicted paraplegic.

His ongoing guest stint as attorney Louis Canning on “The Good Wife” has earned him three consecutive Emmy nominations, including the 2013 nod.

All this led to Fox returning to his TV lead actor status in NBC comedy, “The Michael J. Fox Show.”  “As long as I play a guy who has Parkinson’s, I can do anything,” Fox quipped during a spring appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman.”

The actor, who had also garnered four Emmy wins for “Family Ties” and “Spin City,” now has a chance to once again carry a show — and turn a spotlight on a disease that could have killed his career.

“By returning to TV playing a character who’s also living with Parkinson’s disease, Fox gets to do the work he loves — and that viewers love him for,” says St. Louis Post-Dispatch TV critic Gail Pennington. “He also has a platform to make us understand Parkinson’s better, and to take away some of its power by letting us laugh at it.”