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Michael Douglas

Michael DouglasAKA Michael Kirk Douglas

Born: 25-Sep-1944
Birthplace: New Brunswick, NJ

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish [1]
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Wall Street

Michael Douglas's parents divorced when he was six, and he was raised primarily by his mother, actress Diana Douglas, and her subsequent husband, novelist Bill Darrid. At 22, Douglas made his film debut with a bit part in his father Kirk Douglas's Cast A Giant Shadow. He was in his mid-20s before he began getting movie and television roles, and he perplexed his agent by insisting on off-beat parts. He was 28 when he took the young sidekick role opposite Karl Malden's veteran cop in The Streets of San Francisco.

Kirk Douglas owned the rights to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for many years, but had been unable to get the film made, and by the early 1970s he felt too old to play the lead. So father handed the property off to son, and as producer of the film, starring Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas won the 1975 Oscar for Best Picture. Douglas has remained active as a producer, mostly of films he has starred in. After a few routine leading man roles, Douglas became a major star with Romancing the Stone, but almost immediately he seemed to gravitate toward off-kilter roles again.

In Fatal Attraction, he played the philandering husband pursued by a maniacal Glenn Close, and it was a box office hit, but sensitive feminists complained that the film had a misogynist streak. In Wall Street, he played the arch-capitalist Gordon Gecko, and voiced perhaps his most famous scripted line, "Greed is good" (and won the Oscar for Best Actor). Black Rain was a straightforward action film, with Douglas as an American cop tracking the Japanese Mafia to Osaka. Douglas then starred in the merciless divorce comedy The War of the Roses with Kathleen Turner, and the cop thriller Basic Instinct. In Falling Down, he played a laid-off defense worker having a very bad day, and getting into situations that some audiences grumbled were anti-anything but white, straight, and crew-cut. Disclosure was a drama about sexual harassment with the roles reversed, and Demi Moore harassing Douglas, leading to renewed complaints of sexism.

Despite the grumbling of audiences waiting to be offended, a good actor taking challenging parts -- and most of his films, including the "controversial" titles, have been entertaining, well-reviewed, and well-received. He has also appeared in more mainstream roles as The American President with Annette Bening, or the Drug Czar in Traffic.

There has been no press release announcing it, but observers say they have seen the tell-tale scars of plastic surgery on Douglas, who is now in his 60s. And in 2000, he re-entered "creepy" territory by divorcing his wife of 23 years to marry 31-year-old Catherine Zeta-Jones, a marriage in which Douglas is older than his father-in-law.


[1] Patricia Erens, The Jew in American Cinema (1984), page 383, states outright that he is Jewish. His father Kirk Douglas is Jewish, though mother Diana Dill is a WASP. Michael Douglas is known to be a supporter of the Jewish National Fund, a fact we note although it is inconclusive as to his religious identification. Douglas is also listed in Klein and Vuijst's The Half-Jewish Book (2000).

Father: Kirk Douglas (actor, b. 9-Dec-1916)
Mother: Diana Dill (actress, b. 22-Jan-1923)
Brother: Joel Douglas (film producer, b. 23-Jan-1947)
Brother: Peter Douglas (half-brother, film producer, b. 23-Nov-1955)
Brother: Eric Douglas (actor, b. 21-Jun-1958, half-brother, d. 6-Jul-2004 drug overdose)
Father: Bill Darrid (stepfather, novelist, married Diana Douglas)
Girlfriend: Brenda Vaccaro (actress, together 1970-76)
Girlfriend: Elizabeth Vargas (TV newscaster)
Wife: Diandra Mornell Luker (b. 1956, m. 20-Mar-1977, sep. 1995, div. Jun-2000, one son)
Son: Cameron Douglas (drug dealer, b. 13-Dec-1978)
Wife: Catherine Zeta-Jones (actress, m. 18-Nov-2000, one son, one daughter)
Son: Dylan Michael Douglas (b. 8-Aug-2000)
Daughter: Carys Zeta Douglas (b. 22-Apr-2003)

    High School: Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, CT
    University: BA, University of California at Santa Barbara (1968)

    Al Franken for Senate
    Bill Bradley for President
    Caribou Club
    Dean for America
    Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
    Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
    Effective Government Committee
    Friends of Hillary
    Gore 2000
    Hillary Clinton for President
    Hillary Rodham Clinton for US Senate Committee
    Jefferson Awards Board of Selectors
    Kucinich for President
    National Leadership PAC
    New Leadership for America PAC
    Obama for America
    Ploughshares Fund Board of Directors
    United Nations Association of the USA Advisory Board, Adopt-A-Minefield campaign
    Oscar for Best Actor 1988 for Wall Street
    Golden Globe 1988 for Wall Street
    New Perspectives Quarterly Board of Directors
    unknown detox facility
    Sierra Tucson 1992
    Wedding: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones (2000)
    Risk Factors: Alcoholism, Smoking, Throat Cancer

    TELEVISION
    The Streets of San Francisco Inspector Steve Keller (1972-76)

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    And So It Goes (10-Jul-2014)
    Last Vegas (31-Oct-2013)
    Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (7-Sep-2013) · Himself
    Behind the Candelabra (21-May-2013) · Liberace
    Haywire (7-Nov-2011)
    Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (14-May-2010) · Gordon Gekko
    Solitary Man (Sep-2009)
    Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (1-May-2009) · Uncle Wayne
    Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (5-Feb-2009) · Mark Hunter
    Trumbo (10-Sep-2007) · Himself
    King of California (24-Jan-2007) · Charlie
    You, Me and Dupree (13-Jul-2006)
    The Sentinel (19-Apr-2006)
    Tell Them Who You Are (11-Sep-2004) · Himself
    The In-Laws (17-May-2003)
    It Runs in the Family (25-Apr-2003) · Alex Gromberg
    Don't Say a Word (24-Sep-2001)
    One Night at McCool's (19-Apr-2001)
    Traffic (27-Dec-2000) · Robert Wakefield
    Wonder Boys (22-Feb-2000)
    One Day in September (22-Oct-1999) · Himself [VOICE]
    Get Bruce (24-Jan-1999) · Himself
    A Perfect Murder (5-Jun-1998)
    Completely Cuckoo (16-Dec-1997) · Himself
    The Game (12-Sep-1997) · Nicholas Van Orton
    The Ghost and the Darkness (11-Oct-1996) · Remington
    The American President (17-Nov-1995) · Andrew Shepherd
    Disclosure (9-Dec-1994) · Tom Sanders
    Falling Down (26-Feb-1993)
    Basic Instinct (20-Mar-1992) · Det. Nick Curran
    Shining Through (31-Jan-1992)
    The War of the Roses (8-Dec-1989) · Oliver Rose
    Black Rain (22-Sep-1989) · Nick
    Wall Street (11-Dec-1987) · Gordon Gekko
    Fatal Attraction (11-Sep-1987) · Dan Gallagher
    The Jewel of the Nile (11-Dec-1985) · Jack
    A Chorus Line (10-Dec-1985)
    Romancing the Stone (30-Mar-1984) · Jack Colton
    The Star Chamber (5-Aug-1983) · Steven Hardin
    It's My Turn (24-Oct-1980)
    Running (30-Oct-1979)
    The China Syndrome (16-Mar-1979) · Richard Adams
    Coma (6-Jan-1978) · Dr. Mark Bellows
    Napoleon and Samantha (19-Jul-1972)
    When Michael Calls (5-Feb-1972)
    Summertree (6-Jun-1971)
    Adam at Six A.M. (22-Sep-1970)
    Hail, Hero! (4-Oct-1969)


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