Michael Douglas is without a doubt one of Hollywood’s most recognizable stars. Much like so many other actors who have had their feet in the game for a number of years. And established himself as a type of character that’s best known for being ruthlessly cutthroat at worst and morally ambiguous at best.
Certainly though he has a much broader range than a lot of folks credit him for. If you don’t believe us, just take a look at his stellar performance in the 2013 Liberace biopic ‘Behind The Candelabra’. That being said, his signature style is still something a little more uncomfortable for most audiences. Check out Wall Street or Fatal Attraction to get a better idea of what we’re talking about. Those roles definitely showed off his grittier side.
A distinctive acting ‘brand’ coupled with a natural affinity for giving strong performances can give viewers the feeling as if they know an actor intimately. But in Mr. Douglas’s case, all of those performances don’t let you in on who he really is in the least bit.
Douglas, in all reality has very little in common with the characters he’s portrayed onscreen. And even the little bits of information that we do know about him can be a bit misleading out of context. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to delve into his complex backstory and reveal his more elusive softer side. Join Facts Verse to learn more about The Truth About Michael Douglas’ Cancer Diagnosis.
Michael Douglas Doesn’t Think Of Himself As ‘Show-Biz Royalty’
You probably already know this, but Michael Douglas is the son of another legendary Hollywood player, Kirk Douglas. As such, you might assume that he grew up with his place in the industry pretty much guaranteed. But actually Douglas’s destiny only seems so obvious in retrospect.
Douglas once touched on this subject when speaking to AARP. He acknowledged the fact that a lot of people are under the impression that he’s somehow a member of Tinseltown royalty. While he cherishes the relationship that he had with his dad and always did his best to make him proud. He still had to put a lot of hard work in to come out on top as he has. When he was young, his father wasn’t the reigning king of the entertainment industry yet. So he couldn’t possibly have grown up as Hollywood’s prince.
Douglas describes that chapter of his childhood as being a bit ‘awkward and intense’. And his family history also a bit rocky so the idea of him a part of some kind of grand dynasty seemed pretty foreign to him at the time.
After his father’s marriage failed, he pretty much abandoned his family leaving him with a tremendous sense of guilt that lingered with him for quite some time. He and his son only got to see each other around the holidays so their relationship became quite strained there for a while.
But even though he not raised with some kind of Hollywood pedigree. He still had this remarkable sense of stability in his life. He was lucky enough to have a stepfather who loved him very much and provided him with the resources and environment needed to enjoy a lifestyle that had nothing to do with Hollywood. Join Facts Verse to learn more about The Truth About Michael Douglas’ Cancer Diagnosis.
Douglas Only Studied Acting Because He Couldn’t Think Of Another Major
One of Michael’s favorite stories to tell in interviews is about how he fell into acting in the first place. When he was young, he was a self-described hippie who miraculously managed to make it through three years of college. By pretty much just drifting on by putting in as little effort as was absolutely necessary.
Well, one day, the big-wigs over at the school sat him down and told him in not-so-subtle words that he had to declare a major or get out. He replied by shrugging before muttering something about ‘theater arts’ under his breath. Both his father and mother were both actors, but he had little interest in following in their footsteps. But eventually he came around to the idea of it – albeit reluctantly.
He wasn’t a natural at it either. His father used to come to every show that he did, despite being a very busy man but he wasn’t afraid to give his son his honest opinion about his performance. One time in particular Kirk told him quite frankly that he was awful. And while some people might have pretty offended by that cold response. Michael admitted to AARP that his father’s assessment on point despite being a tad bit insensitive. But as time went on, Michael’s acting started getting better and better little by little. But he still had a long way to go if he wanted to be a star.
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And don’t you dare think about clicking away just yet. Stick around to see what prestigious title Michael Douglas holds working with the UN. Like we’ve already said, there is a whole lot about Michael that you probably never knew. Fortunately for you, you’re friends over here at Facts Verse love sharing all of the intel that we acquire in our relentless search for knowledge. Join Facts Verse to learn more about The Truth About Michael Douglas’ Cancer Diagnosis.
He Got His Start Earlier Than You Might Think
Michael Douglas freely admits that he didn’t have a very good handle on his acting career until around the year 1987 when his films Fatal Attraction and Wall Street hit theaters being met with rave reviews and gloving accolades. Up until that point he still had quite a bit of anxiety about appearing in front of the camera. Even though he felt competent and had a degree of earned confidence in his abilities. His nerves would still flare every time he stepped onto a soundstage or film set.
But he did have experience already appearing in the TV crime drama The Streets of San Francisco where he starred alongside Karl Malden. Back in those days, Michael says that he used to look at the camera like it was some kind of x-ray machine at the dentist’s office. It wasn’t exactly the warmest and inviting piece of equipment on the planet. But he knew that it wasn’t going to harm him either.
He was profoundly grateful for the care and attention that Malden showed him during those formative years. Douglas appreciated how he so graciously shared the spotlight. Genuinely cared about others, and treated him like ‘the son he never had’. He was one of his biggest mentors and heeding his advice saved him from a whole of pain.
In stark contrast with his later body of work, Douglas’s earlier parts were much gentler. He was often cast as the ‘good guy’ – so often actually that he would relish the opportunity to play a ‘rascal’ as he did in ‘Romancing The Stone’. So many years later, it’s almost unfathomable to imagine that Michael Douglas ever struggled with being typecast as a hero knight-in-shining-armor type. Join Facts Verse to learn more about The Truth About Michael Douglas’ Cancer Diagnosis.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Michael Douglas didn’t land his breakout role as an actor until the late 80s when he took his first stab as a producer in the 1975 film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that he had an in – with his father being Kirk Douglas and all. And his dad owned all the necessary rights to that film. So that obviously made things easier for him as well.
When he asked his father for permission to produce the film, he promised him the lead role. But fundraising for that project took quite a bit of time. And by the time they had the necessary funds to get the ball rolling. His father was already getting up there in years. Michael claims that his father never forgave him for not casting him in the film. As you can probably imagine, they probably shared at least one or two family dinners after that incident.
Douglas shared with Playboy that the production of that film was grueling and thrilling at the same time. They shot on location in a real state-run mental hospital in Salem, Oregon. And they even employed the talents of several actual patients from the hospital per the director’s request.
Douglas also shared that he hadn’t fully realized what he had signed on to before taking on the film. At one point they naively had an arsonist working with turpentine with the painters just one year after trying to burn down the hospital. They also had a convicted murderer working alongside the electricians, so it’s a wonder that nothing tragic transpired.
Regardless of all of the hang-ups and hurdles, the movie ended up being a huge success from both a critical and financial standpoint. It even won several Oscars. In 2020, Douglas returned to the show’s subject material by producing the Netflix spinoff series. Ratched. Join Facts Verse to learn more about The Truth About Michael Douglas’ Cancer Diagnosis.
Douglas Values Professionalism Above All Else
Douglas’s most tried and true rule on the job is to keep a set as professional as possible. When you’re in the captain’s seat working on such a project. It’s your job to set the overall tone on the set. ‘If you’re late’, Douglas says, “other people will be late’ too.
Bad behavior begets bad behavior and Jerks unconsciously egg each other on to engage in equally toxic ways. That kind of thing can either make or break somebody’s experience while working on a movie set. So it’s always been Douglas’s goal to make sure that he recruits talented people who are also pleasant to work with.
In that same AARP interview, Douglas discussed the importance of maintaining that same kind of no-nonsense approach just like his father taught him about. One of his biggest personal rules in life is that old biblical admonition to do whatever it is you’re doing whole-souled. And not to make needless compromises out of laziness. It’s a lesson that he wants to pass on to his children.
Michael also greatly values maintaining a strong personal work ethic. He has always tried his best to treat his co-stars and workmates with courtesy. A little bit of kindness goes a long way. And those are traits that don’t just come naturally for most.
You have to constantly work hard to maintain those kinds of standards. If you really want something in life, you have to work hard for it. After all, nothing in life is free. Douglas has repeatedly stressed the need to keep trying and ‘rehearsing’, as he puts it, especially if you know that you might be setting an example. Join Facts Verse to learn more about The Truth About Michael Douglas’ Cancer Diagnosis.
He’s An Outspoken Anti-War Advocate
Douglas is best known as an actor and a producer but he has another title that has even more honor associated with it. For years now he has served as a Messenger of Peace for the United Nations. He’s spent decades promoting nuclear disarmament and a scaling back of the global weapons trade. He’s spoken about these issues at a symposium in the Netherlands as well as narrating an anti-war film called Soldiers of Peace.
For quite some time Douglas took a pretty hard-line anti-nuclear stance. But he has reluctantly come to see it as a necessary source of clean, renewable, and environmentally friendly source of power. Even so, he still committed to his anti-nuclear weapons position. To this day, he is still a vocal advocate for these causes and considers them to be one of the most important parts of his life.
Alrighty, well here we are once again at the end of another facts-paced video. And to be fair we’ve only scratched the tip of the iceberg in terms of dissecting Douglas’s multifaceted character. Perhaps we’ll cover more details of his fascinating life story in another upcoming video. So make sure you subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already.
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One last thing, in the comments section, let us know who you think was the superior actor, Michael Douglas or his equally legendary father, Kirk Douglas.