“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”
– Gordon Gekko, “Wall Street”
Michael Douglas made us believe that greed was so good in “Wall Street” it brought him his Best Actor Oscar and full emergence – finally – from the shadow of his father, Kirk. But even as his son looked for a break into entertainment, Kirk never played the nepotism card – even telling Michael to find another line of work – and so the young Douglas climbed his way up like a regular thespian. After becoming an A-list star, his personal life was always under scrutiny. He struggled through a much-publicized rocky first marriage, confessed his addiction to sex, entered rehab for alcohol and substance abuse, and caused a stir with his marriage to Catherine Zeta-Jones, 25 years his junior. It’s easy to overlook, then, the eclectic and memorable roles he’s brought to life – not to mention he was an Oscar winning producer at the age of 31 for a little Jack Nicholson movie called “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
The son of Spartacus was born in New Jersey in 1944. His parents, Kirk and Diana, split six years later. By his early 20s, he was doing minor roles like docudrama period pieces you’d watch in sophomore year American history. But his charisma was evident and his break came in 1972 with the TV show “The Streets of San Francisco” working opposite veteran Karl Malden. Still, whenever audiences looked at him they saw his father. After a few seasons on the show, Michael sought to further make a name for himself by gambling on a film about nutcases. The gamble paid off. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” swept the Oscars for 1975, including a Best Picture statuette for Michael. But it would really be another decade before Michael Douglas the actor became Michael Douglas the movie star. Credit the two Indiana Jones-inspired blockbusters “Romancing the Stone” and “Jewel of the Nile” as well as the crowning performance in “Wall Street” as bringing Michael Douglas at long last into his own.
The choices Michael made in the past two decades – from man vs. women characters (“Basic Instinct,” “Disclosure,” “A Perfect Murder”) to zany goofballs (“Falling Down,” Wonder Boys”) promise some amazing box sets of different movies (“One Night at McCool’s” anyone?). And during this prolific period, his shaky marriage of 20-plus years ended, he wed Catherine Zeta-Jones who would win an Oscar for “Chicago,” and now is father to two children with her. So, it’s safe to say that while Gordon Gekko spouts that greed is good, it is Michael Douglas who professes that anything is possible. It must run in the family.
Michael on the Web
Great resource for Michael Douglas news, trivia, filmography, and message board.
Michael photos, TV Listings, and updates.
Detailed bio, including intricate family tree diagram.
All Movie Photo.com
Pretty good site featuring stills from recent Douglas films and tons of links.
Excellent interview in which Michael discusses the changing face of entertainment.
Eye for Film Interview
Lengthy interview about Michael’s personal life, from his failed marriage to Catherine.
Michael on the Screen
Michael Douglas has put together such an eclectic list of movies we can only single out some of them. His penchant for oddball characters began with “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which he produced. Years later, he would take on similarly out-of-the-ordinary characters himself, such as in “Falling Down.” The best of these is his turn as Professor Grady Tripp in the sadly overlooked “Wonder Boys.” On the other hand, he can also do the cool CEO businessman like no one else. David Fincher’s “The Game” takes a fun poke at that screen persona of Michael’s and results in one of his great films. As Judge Wakefield in “Traffic,” Douglas has one of the more memorable performances in the ensemble. He plays the president in “The American President,” makes some observations in “Basic Instinct,” wards off Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction,” and is Dr. Mark Bellows in the Michael Crichton movie “Coma.” And look for the story on the “Wall Street” set when Oliver Stone tells Michael to shape up and start acting with heart. The goading brought Mr. Douglas his Best Actor trophy.
On wife Catherine Zeta-Jones:
“What a marvelous gift!”
On gun control:
“I was there the night John Lennon was shot, three blocks away. It left a lasting impression on me. It motivated me to do whatever I could to lobby for small-arms control.”