Michael Kirk Douglas turned 68 on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012. Born in 1944 to legendary actor Kirk Douglas and his wife, Diana Hill, Michael would grow up to follow in his father’s footsteps as an actor, as well as being a producer of film and television. Douglas studied acting at The American Place Theatre in New York City, and began starring in films in the late 60s. His first large role, however, came on the TV series The Streets of San Francisco, which ran from 1972 to 1976, where he was mentored by co-star and veteran actor Karl Malden. Douglas would receive three Emmy nominations for his performance on the series.
In 1975, Douglas acquired the rights to Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and ended up winning an Oscar (along with Saul Zaentz) for producing the Best Picture winning film for that year. Douglas would wrap up the 70s starring in the successful thrillers Coma (1978) and The China Syndrome (1979). In the 80s he starred in several hits including Romancing the Stone (1984) and its sequel Jewel of the Nile (1985), both co-starring Danny DeVito and Kathleen Turner. 1987 would be Douglas’ greatest year, starring in the classic horror/thriller Fatal Attraction opposite Glenn Close, as well as playing financial tycoon Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, the former earned him a BAFTA nomination while the latter won him an Oscar for Lead Actor (his only Oscar nomination for acting). It was a role he would reprise in the 2010 sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. In 1992, Douglas starred in the controversial thriller Basic Instinct opposite Sharon Stone, which became a large hit despite is graphic sexual depictions (or maybe it was because of its graphic sexual depictions…). Throughout the 90s he starred in many great films including the highly underrated Falling Down (1993), The American President (1995), The Game (1997), and A Perfect Murder (1998). In 2000, he starred in Traffic and Wonder Boys, and received critical praise for both (including a BAFTA nom for Wonder Boys). He would marry actress Catherine Zeta-Jones the same year.
In 2009, the American Film Institute honored Douglas with their Life Achievement Award.
Michael Douglas is currently filming Behind the Candelabra, where he will star as Liberace opposite Matt Damon. The film was delayed while Douglas received treatment for stage IV throat cancer in 2010, but should be released in 2013 on HBO. I think we are all expecting it to be a contender at next year’s Emmys.
My Circuit 3 for Michael Douglas:
- Wall Street (1987)
- Traffic (2000)
- Fatal Attraction (1987)
What are your three favorite/best Douglas films? View his entire filmography here.