On this day in pop culture history: Michael J. Fox said goodbye to ‘Spin City’

16 years ago today, Mike Flaherty bid adieu to City Hall and Michael J. Fox said goodbye to Spin City.

It was the actor”s final episode as a regular on the ABC sitcom after playing the lead role since the show premiered in 1996. Fox had revealed to the public in 1998 his battle with Parkinson”s disease. As his symptoms worsened, during Spin City“s fourth season, Fox, then 38 years old, announced he would be leaving the show at the end of the season to spend more time with his family and to raise money for Parkinson's research and awareness.

Spin City lasted another two seasons after Fox”s departure, with Charlie Sheen as the new lead. Fox did return for appearances in a few episodes in the final season.

In that May 24, 2000 episode, the season 4 finale, Mike Flaherty fired himself to save everyone else on the mayor”s staff in the midst of a scandal, taking the blame for a Mafia link the mayor unknowingly had.

It could have spelled the end of Mike”s career, but things turn out alright for him. He becomes an environmental lobbyist in Washington, D.C. and he”s making waves there. But, as Mike says in an email to Caitlin (Heather Locklear), he finds himself up against a junior senator from Ohio – “what a stiff” – named Alex P. Keaton (who, of course, was Fox”s character on Family Ties).

Other notable May 24 happenings in pop culture history:

• 1964: Ed Sullivan interviewed The Beatles in the band”s third appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The interview had been taped on the set of A Hard Day”s Night, which premiered the following July.

• 1980: The season 5 finale of Saturday Night Live aired on NBC. It was the final episode featuring Bill Murray as a regular cast member.

• 1985: The seventh and final James Bond film to star Roger Moore, A View to a Kill, opened in U.S. theaters.

• 1989: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was released.

• 1991: Thelma & Louise and Backdraft opened in theaters.

• 1993: NASA astronaut Mae Jemison guest starred in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Second Chances,” which was directed by series regular cast member LeVar Burton. 

• 1995: Braveheart opened in theaters, following its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival. It went on to win five Oscars, including Best Picture.

• 2000: Mission: Impossible II opened in theaters, topping the American box office that weekend. It earned more than any other film in U.S. during the year 2000.

• 2002: Christopher Nolan film Insomnia opened in theaters.

• 2006: The finale of American Idol“s fifth season aired. Taylor Hicks was declared the winner, making Katharine McPhee the runner-up.

• 2011: ABC aired the season 12 finale of Dancing With the Stars. Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward won the competition.