Michael Douglas

       
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Real Name: Michael Douglas
Birthday: September 25, 1944
Place of Birth: New Brunswick, NJ
Education: Choate, Wallingford, CT; Black Fox Military Academy; University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara (drama); Neighborhood Playhouse, New York, NY; American Place Theatre, New York, NY

 

Biography:

Introduced to filmmaking while on the sets of his father Kirk's films, Michael Douglas started acting when asked to select a major his junior year at U.C. Santa Barbara, and began his craft in a university production of "As You Like It".  Playing a "hippie", he started his career like any normal student, playing good looking young men taking on the issues of the day, and raised his prominence as co-star (with Karl Malden) of the television police drama "The Streets of San Francisco" in 1972.

Michael was still starting out when he was hired for his feature producing debut, Milos Forman's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975), from the story by Ken Kesey and starring Jack Nicholson. The result was a smash hit and outstanding box-office winner and five Oscar winner, the first time that had happened since "It Happened One Night" (1934). He shared Best Picture award with Saul Zaentz.

Douglas then teamed with Jane Fonda to co-produce and star in "The China Syndrome" (1979), a story about a reporter who finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant. The film benefited greatly from the the near meltdown catastrophe at the Three Mile Island nuclear power facility.

Until "Romancing the Stone" (1984), Douglas was thought of more as a producer than an actor, but his role of the egotistical adventurer Jack Colton started to change all that. Basically a feminist view on "Raiders of the Lost Ark", the movie teamed him with Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito for a fast-paced comedy action adventure. After the three made the expected sequel, "Jewel of the Nile" (1985), Michael found himself on the annual Top 10 box office stars in ninth place. Douglas has seldom dominated a movie, except his 1987's "Wall Street" and 2000's "Wonder Boys" with Tobey Maguire, about an English Professor who tries to deal with his wife leaving him, the arrival of his editor who has been waiting for his book for seven years, and the various problems that his friends and associates involve him in.

When DeVito's dark comedy of romance and divorce, "The War of the Roses" (1989), joined the three celebrities again, he could relax and act his part in the comedy on careers, love, money and material desires. He wrapped that year as an icon like his father, having found himself as an actor. Even though "Wall Street" was more focused on the Charlie Sheen character, he won the Best Actor Oscar for his considerably more interesting Gordon Gekko, the terrifically disturbing and arrogant corporate raider and incarnation of 1980's excess and greed. 

That same year, Michael tried to get away with adultery that jeopardized his family in "Fatal Attraction", but audience's immediately forgave his human weakness to root against the burned stalker Glenn Close. Possibly even more with "Fatal Attraction" than with "Wall Street", he had nailed a movie that echoed with audiences. 

In 1988, he created Stonebridge Entertainment, Inc., which produced Joel Schumacher's "Flatliners" (1990) which also starred Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts and Kevin Bacon. Next was Richard Donner's "Radio Flyer" (1992) with a small role by Tom Hanks, about a father who recounts a dark period of his childhood when he and his little brother lived in the suburbs.  He continued to attract debate in his choice of movie roles. If the Glenn Close part had been uncaring, the bisexual, man devouring Sharon Stone's role in "Basic Instinct" (1992) attracted a storm of criticism from the gay, lesbian and homosexual community, but viewers ran to see the star in Paul Verhoeven's thriller. 

Douglass also succeeded at the box office as a geek gone mad in Schumacher's "Falling Down" (1993), about an unemployed defense worker frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society, begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them. He produced "Made in America" (1993), a humorous comic gathering of Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Danson and a young Will Smith, before being over-powered by a woman once again (Demi Moore) in "Disclosure" (1994). Based on Michael Crichton's top selling book, the movie told the story of a male executive sexually harassed by his female boss.

He next became involved in the 1995 comedy "The American President", a comedy about a widowed United States president and a lobbyist who fall in love. He was amazingly light and cheerful as widowed President Shepherd, trying to balance running the free world and romancing an environmental lobbyist. In 1994, Michael signed a development deal at Paramount, where he produced and starred in the adventure "The Ghost and the Darkness" (1996) with Val Kilmer, but the studio was better-off with two producing projects in which he did not have a role as actor - John Woo's "Face/Off" with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, about a revolutionary medical technique that allows an undercover agent to take the physical appearance of a major criminal and infiltrate his organization.

Next was John Grisham's "The Rainmaker" (both 1997) that included a brief appearance by the young Claire Danes. He then had a box office smash hit as a brutal businessman whose brother gives him an odd birthday present in David Fincher's action thriller "The Game" (1997). He turned in another great role plotting the death of his rich wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) in "A Perfect Murder" (1998).

The actors next role, as a pot smoking teacher suffering writer's block and his own adulterous ways in Curtis Hanson's 2000 "Wonder Boys", won the actor numerous critical reviews. He was helped by a cast of soon-to-be stars like Tobey Maguire and Katie Holmes. 

Douglas then found himself in the media and tabloids more for his personal life than his professional interests, with a public romance and later high profile wedding to actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, the younger mother of his second son. The two were featured in that year's "Traffic", a Steven Soderbergh adventure thriller in which he played the nation's new drug czar who is trying to rid the United States of substance abuse while his own crack and heroin addicted daughter is falling into destruction. 

In 2001, he was seen as a man in the dark comedy "One Night at McCool's" and then as a psychiatrist blackmailed into treating a client with crucial information in the thriller "Don't Say a Word." In 2003, he gained more tabloid headlines than box office dollars when he starred as the father of a dysfunctional family in "It Runs in the Family," the story of a dysfunctional New York family, and their efforts to come together. 

This was the first time he had worked professionally with his famous father Kirk, and his son Cameron and mother Diana . Also that year, he starred in the comedy "The In-Laws," directed by Andrew Fleming, playing a CIA agent to Albert Brooks' poor dentist.

After a vacation and some down-time from the big screen, Douglas again appeared with his father Kirk in director Lee Grant's HBO documentary "A Father... A Son... Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" (2005) in which the famous family openly talked about their long and captivating careers and the difficult and loving relationship. 

Michael then starred in the smash hit crime thriller "The Sentinel" (2006) working with an all-star cast including Kiefer Sutherland, Kim Basinger and Eva Longoria, in the story about a secret service agent who is framed as the mole in an assassination attempt on the president. He must clear his name and foil another assassination attempt while on the run from a relentless FBI agent. Next was "You, Me and Dupree" with Kate Hudson (2005), about a best man (Owen Wilson) who stays on as a guest with newlyweds, much to the couple's aggravation.

The now famous movie star started the next year with the comedy "The King of California" (2006) with Evan Rachel Wood, about a manic depressive father who tries to convince his teenage daughter that here is buried treasure in the San Fernando Valley. Next was the mystery drama "Beyond A Reasonable Doubt" (2009), a remake of the 1956 film noir film "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" in which a writer's plan to expose a crooked district attorney takes a surprising turn. True to form, he returned to the romantic comedy films with a role in "The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" (2009) with Jennifer Garner and Matthew McConaughey, about a bachelor who is haunted by the ghosts of his past girlfriends at his younger brother's wedding. He ended the year with the dramatic adventure "Racing The Monsoons" (2008) with his wife Catherine.

In Late August of 2010, Douglas announced that he had stage four throat cancer.

 

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