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Also Known As: Michael Kirk Douglas Died:
Born: September 25, 1944 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA Profession: actor, producer, assistant film editor, director, gofer, gas station attendant

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Actor and producer Michael Douglas enjoyed great success by avoiding the heroic leading-man archetype by creating smart, flawed, sympathetically human characters. His popularity grew through several star-making hits, including "Romancing the Stone" (1984), "Fatal Attraction" (1987) and "Basic Instinct" (1992) and held strong as he portrayed midlife professionals at a crossroads in "Wall Street" (1987) and "Wonder Boys" (2000). Douglas rarely dominated a movie like his famous father Kirk Douglas had during his 1950s heyday, and, though his $20-million price tag might have suggested otherwise, the younger Douglas remained more of a complementary player who allowed a collection of strong actors to drive a film. In addition to his movie-star status, Douglas was well known as a film producer, garnering a Best Picture Oscar for his first outing, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975), and maintaining his reputation with films including "The China Syndrome" (1979) and "The Rainmaker" (1997). The respected and well-liked actor raised eyebrows, however, when he married the much-younger screen beauty Catherine Zeta-Jones, with whom he later co-starred in the drug war drama "Traffic" (2000). Douglas'...

Actor and producer Michael Douglas enjoyed great success by avoiding the heroic leading-man archetype by creating smart, flawed, sympathetically human characters. His popularity grew through several star-making hits, including "Romancing the Stone" (1984), "Fatal Attraction" (1987) and "Basic Instinct" (1992) and held strong as he portrayed midlife professionals at a crossroads in "Wall Street" (1987) and "Wonder Boys" (2000). Douglas rarely dominated a movie like his famous father Kirk Douglas had during his 1950s heyday, and, though his $20-million price tag might have suggested otherwise, the younger Douglas remained more of a complementary player who allowed a collection of strong actors to drive a film. In addition to his movie-star status, Douglas was well known as a film producer, garnering a Best Picture Oscar for his first outing, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975), and maintaining his reputation with films including "The China Syndrome" (1979) and "The Rainmaker" (1997). The respected and well-liked actor raised eyebrows, however, when he married the much-younger screen beauty Catherine Zeta-Jones, with whom he later co-starred in the drug war drama "Traffic" (2000). Douglas' professional output decreased at the start of the new millennium, marked by lesser efforts such as the remake of "The In-Laws" (2003), but it was a succession of tragic events - the fatal overdose of half-brother Eric; the conviction of son Cameron for drug dealing; and Douglas himself being diagnosed with throat cancer - that cast a pall on the venerable star's personal life. Exhibiting the strength of character he had become known for, Douglas resurrected his most famous character, Gordon Gekko, in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" (2010), garnering critical praise and reminding the world that Douglas was still a force to be reckoned with.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Unlocked (2016)
2.
 Reach, The (2015)
3.
 Ant-Man (2015)
4.
 Reykjavik (2014)
5.
 And So It Goes (2014)
6.
7.
 Last Vegas (2013)
9.
 Haywire (2012)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1960:
Was a gofer on the set of "Spartacus," starring his father Kirk Douglas
1962:
Worked as assistant film editor on "Lonely Are the Brave," starring his father
:
Roomed with Danny De Vito when first starting out as an actor in NYC
1969:
Made TV acting debut on "The Experiment" ("CBS Playhouse")
1969:
Landed first significant film role as the well-scrubbed hippie lead in "Hail, Hero!"
1971:
Played young music student clashing with his parents over the Vietnam War in "Summertree"
1972:
Co-starred with Karl Malden on the ABC series "The Streets of San Francisco"; also directed some episodes; earned three Emmy nominations for his role
1975:
Produced first feature film, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"; earned Oscar for Best Picture; DeVito had small role in film
1979:
Produced the award-winning film "The China Syndrome"; also acted in the film, but was overshadowed by Jack Lemmon and Jane Fonda, who both received Oscar nominations
1980:
Acted opposite Jill Clayburgh in "It's My Turn"
1980:
Injured in a skiing accident and spent three years off screen
1984:
Executive produced John Carpenter's "Starman," starring Jeff Bridges
1984:
Produced and starred in "Romancing the Stone" with Kathleen Turner and Danny De Vito
1985:
Reunited with Turner and De Vito for the "Romancing" sequel "The Jewel of the Nile"; again produced
1986:
Created and executive produced "Starman" (ABC), based on the 1984 feature
1987:
Starred opposite Glenn Close in Adrian Lyne's "Fatal Attraction"
1987:
Earned Best Actor Oscar for his ruthless portrayal of Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street"
1988:
Formed Stonebridge Entertainment
1989:
Made third film with Turner and DeVito, "The War of the Roses"; film directed by DeVito
1989:
Starred as a street-worn NYC cop in Ridley Scott's "Black Rain"
1990:
Produced Joel Schumacher's "Flatliners"
1992:
Was again fatally attracted, this time to Sharon Stone, in Paul Verhoeven's "Basic Instinct"
1992:
Executive produced Richard Donner's "Radio Flyers"
1993:
Reteamed with Schumacher as star of "Falling Down"
1993:
Co-produced the off-Broadway production "The Best of Friends"
1994:
Dissolved Stonebridge Entertainment and formed Douglas/Reuther Productions (formerly Constellation Films), a production company with producing partner Steve Reuther
1994:
Signed a deal with Paramount to produce 12-14 features over four years
1994:
Played a man sexually harassed by Demi Moore's character in Barry Levinson's "Disclosure"
1995:
Played U.S. President Andrew Shepherd in "The American President"
1997:
Executive produced "John Grisham's The Rainmaker," directed by Francis Ford Coppola and featuring De Vito
1997:
Starred as the bored billionaire in the David Fincher thriller "The Game"
1998:
Co-starred with Gwyneth Paltrow in the thriller "A Perfect Murder," loosely based on the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock film "Dial M for Murder"
2000:
Played a writer-professor in Curtis Hanson's "Wonder Boys"
2000:
Played a drug Czar in Steven Soderbergh's ensemble crime drama "Traffic"
2001:
Featured in the ensemble black comedy "One Night at McCool's"; also produced
2002:
Made rare TV guest appearance on an episode of "Will & Grace" (NBC) as a gay cop attracted to Will Truman (Eric McCormack); earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor
2003:
Starred alongside father Kirk and son Cameron in "It Runs in the Family"
2006:
Appeared opposite Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson in the comedy "You, Me and Dupree"
2007:
Played Evan Rachel Wood's manic depressive father in "The King of California"
2009:
Co-starred opposite Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner in the romantic comedy "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past"
2009:
Starred in the drama "Solitary Man," which also featured Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, and Mary-Louise Parker
2010:
Reprised role of Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone's long-awaited sequel "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture ("Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps")
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
2012:
Co-starred in the action thriller "Haywire," directed by Steven Soderbergh
2013:
Starred as Liberace in the HBO TV movie "Behind the Candelabra"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

The Neighborhood Playhouse: New York , New York -
American Place Theatre: New York , New York -
Choate School: Wallingford , Connecticut -
Eugene O'Neill Theater Center: Waterford , Connecticut -
University of California, Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara , California - 1968

Notes

His official website www.michaeldouglas.com was launched on February 1, 2000; the fan club fee is used to fund a foundation dealing with international concerns.

Received UCLA's Spencer Tracy Award in 1990. His father was presented with the same honor in 1999.

Named Man of the Year by Hasty Pudding Theatricals of Harvard University in 1992.

Douglas underwent treatment for alcohol abuse in September 1992.

In 1998, he was awarded the Order of Arts and Letters from the French government.

"He's tough but he makes decisions and he knows exactly what he wants. If you have a problem, you go to him -- he knows what you're talking about, and he'll give you a decision. A lot of them in this business are tough and totally useless. A lot of them I can't find for a week. Michael wasn't always Mr Nice Guy -- but he was always there. He called me a son of a bitch; I called him a son of a bitch, but as a producer he's as good as any. He's got all the things you can love and hate in a person." --a veteran of the "Romancing the Stone" crew, quoted in The New York Times, December 3, 1989.

"I think I've found a way to marry my two careers, which have always been on separate tracks to a certain degree. When I had my success as a producer, people always wanted to know why I wanted to be an actor. And when I got some success as an actor, people asked me why I still wanted to produce. It's always made some people uncomfortable that I won't just be one thing or the other." --Douglas on his Hollywood double duty, quoted in the Los Angeles Times, December 4, 1994.

"Douglas has become the John Wayne of the gender war movies, the Indiana Jones of the men's movement." --Bruce Newman in New York Newsday, December 4, 1994.

"There's a dark side to Michael that people are attracted to, and they know when they see a movie with him, there's going to be an edge to it. If someone else played the part, audiences wouldn't accept such a flawed character." --Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office tracking firm Exhibitors Relations Co. Inc., quoted in Us, August 1998.

"I love my work, but right now the United Nations is motivating me much more. Anywhere I go in the world, people will know me, and I'm enjoying using that opportunity. Sometimes you can reach people on the entertainment page with things they might glide over in the rest of the paper. And people in government are relieved to talk about movies for a while before you broachthe real topic." --newly appointed Minister of Peace Michael Douglas, quoted in The Guardian, October 15, 1998.

"It's a corny image, but I think of my life as a surfer. A surfer sits out there, and the waves come in sets and you've got to be ready for the waves. I've gotten pretty good at not pushing things. If things aren't there in my personal life or professionally, I rest. But when the waves come, they come in sets of five, three or seven. Then you've got to be ready to go." --Michael Douglas to Daily News, February 13, 2000.

Douglas on the end of his "madness", quoted in Us, MArch 2000: "I don't feel anger anymore. If you have a void, you fill it with something. And love is a valuable stone that you can't necessarily find."

Douglas on taking a pay cut to do "Wonder Boys": "I think what happens is that at a certain point in your life and career, whatever commercial success you've had, the desire just to do good work becomes more important. I've seen too many actors arouns my age group who've said, 'OK, let's just cash in; let's do four or five movies a year' and all of that. I'm not interested in that." --quoted in The Daily Telegraph, September 23, 2000.

Douglas on selling exclusive rights to pictures of he, his wife and their newborn son to a magazine: "It seems odd, I guess, for the United States. But Catherine is an international star, and in England, the paparazzi become like bounty hunters and go to extraordinary extremes to take a photograph they can sell. When you spend your whole life protecting your name and likeness, how do you deal with these people? ... When we were going to have a baby, we knew a bounty hunt would happen. So when we were contacted by a magazine about doing a layout, playing us for it, then syndicating the photos--a fairly common practice in Europe as opposed to here--we simply saw it as a way to build financial security for our son and control what was going to be a madhouse. I'd rather do that than have some guy harrassing us, though that happens anyway." --to Movieline, December 2000/January 2001.

"Compared with the characters in 'A Perfect Murder' or 'Wall Street', this guy was much more uncertain about himself, more like the guy in 'Falling Down'. Sometimes you want to do something a little different, not be so concerned about your vanity and you put on weight. 'Wonder Boys' allowed me to play against the intensity that runs in the Douglas genes, to play a man of inaction as opposed to a man of action. I call it a coming-of-age movie for a 50-year-old." --Douglas on Professor Grady Tripp, his character in "Wonder Boys", quoted in Movieline, December 2000/January 2001.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Brenda Vaccaro. Actor. Met on set of "Summertree"; together c. 1970-76.
wife:
Diandra Douglas. Producer. Born c. 1957; met Douglas in Washington, DC the night before Jimmy Carter's inauguration; married on March 20, 1977; has produced art history documentaries for PBS, "Frederic Remington: The Truth of Other Days" (1991) and "Beatrice Wood: Mama of Dada" (1993); has a NYC-based production company named Wild Wolf Productions; separated in 1995; filed for divorce in 1997; divorced; later romantically involved with painter Sacha Newley.
companion:
Elizabeth Vargas. TV newscaster. Worked at NBC and ABC.
companion:
Maureen Dowd. Newspaper columnist. Writes op-ed pieces for <i>The New York Times</i>.
wife:
Catherine Zeta-Jones. Actor. Began dating as of spring 1999; announced engagement in January 2000; married in NYC on November 18, 2000 at the Plaza Hotel.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Diana Douglas. Actor. Married to Douglas' father from 1943 to 1950; later married William Darrid in December 1956.
father:
Kirk Douglas. Actor, producer. Star of such films as "Champion" (1949), "The Bold and the Beautiful" (1952), "Lust for Life" (1956), "Two Weeks in Another Town" (1962) and "Seven Days in May" (1964); married to Douglas' mother from 1943 to 1950; later married Anne Buydens.
step-father:
William Darrid. Actor, producer, writer. Married to Douglas' mother until his death in July 1992.
step-mother:
Anne Douglas. Producer, former publicist.
brother:
Joel Douglas. Producer. Born on January 23, 1947; head of Victorine Studios in Nice, France.
half-brother:
Peter Douglas. Producer.
half-brother:
Eric Douglas. Actor, comedian. Has had highly publicized battles with addictions; died July 6, 2004.
son:
Cameron Douglas. Club deejay. Born on December 12, 1978; mother, Diandra Douglas; reportedly spent some time in rehab for alcohol problems c. 1997; arrested in 1999 for possession of cocaine; engaged to Jennifer Gatien.
son:
Dylan Michael Douglas. Born August 8, 2000; mother, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
daughter:
Carys Zeta Douglas. Born April 20, 2003; mother Catherine Zeta Jones.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Michael Douglas" Ulverscroft Large Print Books
"In the Wings: A Memoir" Barricade Books

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