Michael Douglas is an American actor and producer that has made his own mark on Hollywood and received many accolades. Some of his achievements include two Academy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, and the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award.
Michael is best known for several films, including “A Chorus Line,” “Fatal Attraction,” and “Wall Street.” He has also become popular among a younger crowd by joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Dr. Hank Pym. He has appeared in many films, including “Ant-Man,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” and “Avengers: Endgame.”
Outside of his career, Michael is a family man. He and Catherine Zeta-Jones have been happily married since 2000 and have two kids. Their lives have changed a great deal since they moved between the US and Bermuda with their children, Dylan Douglas, and Carys Zeta-Douglas.
Catherine is also a prominent actor in Hollywood. She and Michael were married in New York on Nov. 11, 2000, after Michael officially got divorced from his previous wife, Diandra Luke. The couple shares more than just an affinity for acting; they also share a birthday on Sept. 25, 25 years apart.
Fans of Michael’s know that he comes from a Hollywood legacy family, with his father being Kirk Douglas. Kirk is best known for appearing in such films as “Champion,” “The Bad and the Beautiful,” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” among many more. Read on to learn more about Michael and his family, as well as how his father lasted in a marriage that spanned more than six decades.
Early Life and Career
On Sept. 25Sept. 25, 1944, Michael was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to Hollywood actors Diana and Kirk Douglas. His parents got divorced when he was six years old, and Michael only saw his father during the holidays. According to Biography, they had a strained relationship, but it improved as Michael got older.
Michael has a younger brother, Joel Douglas, as well as two half-brothers from his father’s side, Peter Douglas and Eric Douglas. They were born to his stepmother Anne Buydens. Michael only has good things to say about his stepmother and how she treated him and his brothers growing up.
As a child, Michael went to the Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and later on attended the Choate School, an elite private academy. Michael developed an interest in show business at a very young age. He turned down the offer to study at Yale University and instead moved to California and enrolled himself at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied drama.
The actor’s time at UCSB was life-changing. “I grew up on the East Coast and was going to go to an Ivy League School, but at the last minute I decided to be a hippy,” he said. “It was the protest movements on the war, peace movements were going on at our university. It was a fantastic time.”
While in California, he tried to persuade his father Kirk of that one opportunity that could open the doors of Hollywood for him. Finally, he bagged his first acting assignment in 1966.
After he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in 1968, Michael moved to New York City to pursue his childhood dream of becoming an actor. He received his training at the American Place Theatre and the Neighborhood Playhouse. During this period, he landed some roles as a lead actor and also performed in off-Broadway productions.
Even before his first feat as a feature film artist, Michael played a small role in the television series “The FBI.” His work impressed the producer Quinn Martin who offered Michael his breakthrough role in the new cop series “The Streets of San Francisco.” The program first aired in 1972 on prime time and became one of ABC’s highest-rated series, ensuring Michael three Emmy Award Nominations for his performance. He was also the director for two episodes in the series, giving him an insight into his future stint in showbiz.
In 1975, Michael went on to produce the classic “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” a movie that is considered to be one of the greatest films ever made. The film won five Academy Awards, including the Best Picture Award for Michael himself. By now, Michael was one the most sought-after producers and directors. His next production, “The China Syndrome” (1979), where he starred opposite Jane Fonda, won even more Academy Award nominations and was lauded as one of the best films of the year by the National Board of Review.
Michael emerged as one of the leading Hollywood stars following his portrayals of Gordon Gecko in “Wall Street” (1987), William Foster in “Falling Down” (1993), and Nicholas van Orton in “The Game” (1997).
Personal Life and Family
It was the mid-1990s when Michael met the love of his life, Catherine. He had become her admirer even before they met. She caught his eye when he watched a screening of her then-upcoming movie “The Mask of Zorro.” “I’m watching this movie, and I go, ‘Wow, who is this girl? She’s incredible,'” Michael recalled.
The two Hollywood biggies finally met in 1996 at the Deauville Film Festival. “I had been told Michael Douglas wanted to meet me,” Catherine recalled in a 2001 television interview with Larry King. “I was a little nervous because I didn’t quite know what he wanted to meet me about.”
Michael knew that he’d just found his soulmate. But what he said next could have ended in a complete disaster. “I said to her after about half an hour, ‘You know, I’m going to be the father of your children,'” Michael recalled on “The Jonathan Ross Show,” as quoted by E! News. “It sounded good, and she said, ‘You know, I’ve heard a lot about you and I’ve seen a lot about you, and I think it’s time I say goodnight.'”
The couple dated for about nine months and then started thinking about their future together.
“He certainly didn’t want me as an ex-girlfriend on his list, and I certainly didn’t want ‘Michael Douglas’ as an ex-boyfriend on my list,” she said. “We looked at each other one day and said, ‘We’re having a lot of fun together.'”
Michael and Catherine have a 25-year age difference, which might be why their relationship was soon all over the media.
But they didn’t seem to care about what the world said; their love for each other was strong. On Dec. 31Dec. 31, 1999, Michael proposed to Catherine at his home in Aspen, Colorado.
“I don’t take any of this for granted,” Catherine told People during their wedding. “When I look at Michael, I run around like a little girl. I can’t believe I came into his life and he came into mine.”
In August 2000, the pair welcomed their first child, Dylan. Dylan was Catherine’s first child and Michael’s second. His first son was Cameron, who was born in 1978 to his then-wife Diandra Luker.
In 2003 Catherine and Michael were blessed with their second child – daughter Carys. Their marriage, like any other, has also been through a lot of obstacles, but in the end, their love beat all the odds.
In 2010, while speaking to The Guardian, Michael opened up about how the values he wants to pass on to his children and just how proud he is of them all.
“Neither of us is overwhelmed with worry about which school or college they are going to be going to,” said Douglas.
“We just want them to be good citizens of the planet. They’re not spoiled or obnoxious. They’re well-mannered, confident, pretty worldly. My son deals with Dyslexia to a degree – it runs in the family and my brother has it. He goes to a special school. We’re old-fashioned parents, they’ve got British nannies and we get nice compliments from people. Our children make us proud.”
Michael and Catherine’s daughter, Carys, lived in Bermuda with her parents and younger brother, Dylan, until 2009, before the family settled down in rural New York State in 2016. Because the family has always been away from the hustle-and-bustle of Hollywood, Carys even admitted once that she didn’t even know her father was an actor.
Carys told Town & Country magazine in an interview, “I thought my dad was a pancake maker. I didn’t know he was an actor. Honestly.”
On Jun. 8, 2021, Michael was featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show and opened up about a mix-up that happened to him at his daughter Carys’s high school graduation. All of the parents were congratulating one another when one parent said to Michael, “You must be so proud of your granddaughter.” Michael opened up about how the encounter was awkward as he said, “It’s a little rough.”
The 76-year-old actor laughed as he said:
“I’m not going to take it personal. I know they’re just trying to be nice.”
“It was so wonderful and we’re so proud of her, but I’ve got to tell you, Kelly, it’s a little rough when you’re going out the doors and the other parents are saying, ‘Oh congratulations … you must be so proud of your granddaughter.'”
Now that Carys is off to college and her brother Dylan is already studying at Brown University, Catherine and Michael will have an empty nest. Douglas spoke to the adjustment as he said:
“There is that moment when they’re gone and they’re out of the house … and you look at each other and in the back of your mind, you’re thinking, ‘What are we going to talk about?'”
Since Catherine and Michael’s marriage has already lasted over two decades, we’re sure they’ll adjust to life with an empty house just fine.
Celebrity Dad and Stepmom
In his heyday, Kirk Douglas was one of Hollywood’s biggest heartthrobs, and he was no stranger to chasing women. But it was his wife of 65 years, Anne Douglas, née Buydens, that he chose to spend the majority of his life with. After passing away at the age of 103 on Feb. 5Feb. 5, 2020, Kirk left Anne a widow. Over one year following his death, Anne passed away at her home in Beverly Hills on Apr. 29Apr. 29 at the age of 102.
Theirs was a love for the ages — amid the storms of infidelity, cancer, and even the loss of their child, Kirk and Anne stuck together through it all in 65 years of marriage.
Upon first meeting in 1953 on the Paris set of “Act of Love,” the two were involved with different people at the time. Anne was married to Albert Buydens, while Kirk was already divorced from actress Diana Dill and secretly engaged to Italian actress Pier Angeli.
Anne was a film publicist at the time and had been working as a location scout and assistant for director John Huston in 1952. In 1953, she had a three-year period where she worked as head of protocol for the Cannes Film Festival, where she scheduled parties and made sure that they were filled with celebrities and media. Kirk offered her a job to be his assistant, but she vehemently turned him down, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Kirk Douglas wrote about the beginning of their professional relationship in the book that the couple co-authored in 2017, “Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, he wrote:
“She finally agreed to work with me on a trial basis, making it clear our relationship would be strictly business.”
Meanwhile, Anne Douglas also had something to say about it:
“We talked for hours, and I had a strange feeling in my heart that I could fall in love with this man. I didn’t want to, because I had seen too many young women enter into intense affairs with visiting movie stars — Dean Martin, Marlon Brando, Cary Grant among them. Then the film wrapped and the men returned to their wives and families.”
However, what was meant to be would be. Very shortly after, at the end of 1953, Kirk ended his engagement to Pier Angeli, and by the spring of 1954, in a spontaneous moment, he and Anne decided to get married in Las Vegas after a year of working together and pursuing a complicated relationship.
Their son Peter Douglas was born a year later, followed by Eric Douglas, who was born in 1958. Their marriage would last for more than six decades, which is extremely rare in the Hollywood industry. Speaking about Anne, Michael said in a statement to People in 2021:
“Anne was more than a stepmother, and never ‘wicked.’ She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father. Dad would never have had the career he did without Anne’s support and partnership. Catherine and I and the children adored her; she will always be in our hearts.”
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