Hollywood superstar Michael J Fox has claimed that Parkinson's disease helped improved his acting.

The Back to the Future star's revelations came in the wake of news that veteran comedian and actor Billy Connolly was being treated for the "initial symptoms" of Parkinson's disease

Fox was diagnosed with the progressive neurological condition in 1991 at the age of 30.

Although it was assumed his career was over, the actor defied Hollywood expectations and went on to star in a number of films and hit TV shows such as Spin City and The Good Wife.

Fox, who is returning to TV on NBC's The Michael J Fox Show, believes that he ultimately became a better actor because he was forced to step out of his comfort zone as a performer.

Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine, the 52-year-old actor said that he believed that the disease gave his acting gravitas.

"I had certain fluidity to my movements and rhythm of speech and a physicality that I had depended on," he said.

"It served me really well, but when that was taken away, I found that there was other stuff that I could use.

"That hesitation, that Parkinsonian affect, is an opportunity to just pause in a moment and collect as a character and respond to what's happening and just gave me this kind of gravitas."

He said: "I don't worry about that bit I was going to do or the look I was going to give because when I get there I may not be able to give that look or do that thing or move that glass."

Connolly's spokesman said: "Billy Connolly recently underwent minor surgery in America after being diagnosed with the very early stages of prostate cancer. The operation was a total success, and Billy is fully recovered.

"In addition, Billy has been assessed as having the initial symptoms of Parkinson's disease."

Connolly joins the 127,000 people in the UK living with Parkinson's.

There is no cure for Parkinson's but there are a number of treatments available to manage the symptoms of the disease.