Michael Kirk Douglas is an American actor and producer, primarily in movies and television. He has won three Golden Globes and two Academy Awards, first as producer of 1975’s Best Picture, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and as Best Actor in 1987 for his role in Wall Street. Douglas received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2009.
Douglas was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the first son of actor Kirk Douglas and Bermudian actress Diana Dill. His paternal grandparents, Herschel Danielovitch and Bryna Sanglel, were Jewish immigrants from Gomel in Belarus (at that time a part of the Russian Empire). His mother and maternal grandparents, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Melville Dill and Ruth Rapalje Neilson, were natives of Devonshire Parish, Bermuda. Thomas Dill served as Attorney General of Bermuda and was commanding officer of the Bermuda Militia Artillery.
Douglas started his film career in the late 60s and early 70s appearing in little known films like Hail, Hero! and Summertree. His first significant role came in the TV series The Streets of San Francisco from 1972 to 1976, where he starred alongside Karl Malden.
Douglas married Diandra Luker, 14 years his junior, on March 20, 1977, after 6 weeks of dating. They had one son, Cameron (born December 13, 1978). In 2000, after 23 years of marriage, Diandra divorced Douglas.
Douglas married Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones on November 18, 2000; they were both born on September 25, though 25 years apart. Zeta-Jones says that when they met in Deauville, France, Douglas used the line “I want to father your children.” They have two children, Dylan Michael (born August 8, 2000) and Carys Zeta (born April 20, 2003).
Douglas and Zeta-Jones hosted the annual Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, Norway, on December 11, 2003. They acted as co-masters of ceremony in the concert celebrating the award given to Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi. In 2006, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Douglas and his family divide their time among their homes in Pacific Palisades, California; New York City; Aspen, Colorado; Bermuda; Majorca, Spain; Swansea, Wales, Ridgewood, New Jersey, and La Conception, Quebec.
Douglas is an advocate of nuclear disarmament, a supporter of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and sits on the Board of Directors of the anti-war grantmaking foundation Ploughshares Fund. In 1998, he was appointed UN Messenger of Peace by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He is a notable Democrat and has donated money to Barack Obama, Christopher Dodd, and Al Franken. He has been a major supporter of gun control since John Lennon was murdered in 1980.
In 1997, New York caddy James Parker sued Douglas for USD$25 million. Parker accused Douglas of hitting him in the groin with an errant golf ball, causing Parker to lose a testicle and his job. The case was later settled out of court.
It was announced on August 16, 2010, that Douglas was suffering from throat cancer and will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment. On August 31, 2010 Douglas appeared on Late Show with David Letterman and confirmed that the cancer is at an advanced stage IV.