“Cheers” actor Woody Harrelson outed his longtime friend, fellow actor Michael J. Fox, as the guy who once drank cobra blood with him — and he said that at least for Fox, it didn’t end well.
Harrelson, 61, has been friends with Fox, also 61, for decades — so he was the perfect choice to present the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to the “Back to the Future” star at Saturday’s 2022 Governors Awards in Los Angeles. But while he was leading up to the award presentation, Harrelson took an entertaining detour through their wilder days.
Referencing a trip he took to Thailand to visit Fox in the late 1980s, Harrelson said that the pair found themselves spectators at a fight between a cobra and a mongoose.
“He taunted a bunch of these cobras and then he found the orneriest cobra, grabbed it by the neck, threw it in a cage with mongoose, where I saw the craziest fight I’ve ever seen between any animals other than studio executives,” Harrelson described the scene.
“And the mongoose won, they took the snake, yep, tied it by its tail, run the blood out, half-filled four glasses with cobra blood and half with Thai whiskey,” he said, explaining that “drinking the cobra blood is called ‘becoming brother to the snake.’”
He and Fox apparently decided to accept the challenge, but according to Harrelson, the “Family Ties” actor had some difficulty keeping the concoction down.
“Mike and I drink lots of things together, and he can hold his own — can I say, he’s Canadian. But Mike promptly vomited his snake cocktail. Never could hold his cobra blood,” Harrelson laughed.
The “Hunger Games” actor pivoted to the reason he was presenting the award to his friend: his tireless advocacy for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Fox, who was diagnosed in 1991, became a vocal activist, raising funds and awareness in the hopes of finding a cure — if not in his lifetime, for those who would come after.
“He never asked for the role of Parkinson’s advocate, but it is his best performance. Michael J. Fox sets the ultimate example of how to fight and how to live,” Harrelson said.
Fox thanked his friend for the introduction, joking that the pair had certainly “done some damage” back in the day — before addressing the audience.
“I refer to Parkinson’s as the gift that keeps on taking. But it truly has been a gift,” he said, adding, “I’m really blunt with people about cures. When they ask me if I will be relieved of Parkinson’s in my lifetime, I say, ‘I’m 60 years old, and science is hard. So, no … I am genuinely a happy guy. I don’t have a morbid thought in my head — I don’t fear death. At all.”