A member of Hollywood's talented Douglas dynasty Michael remains one of the biggest and richest names in Tinseltown today. Actor, producer and happily married to fellow big screen star Catherine Zeta-Jones, he is Hollywood personified and not just because of the family name.
When the son of Spartacus
actor Kirk Douglas and Diana Dill added a second Oscar to the mantelpiece for his role in Oliver Stone's 1987 masterpiece Wall Street,
(his first was won for One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest,
which he produced), he became one of Hollywood's most bankable leading men.
But Douglas Junior didn't always have it so easy. After finding television success with The Streets Of San Francisco
in the early Seventies, Michael faced an uphill battle in landing film roles. Enter Kathleen Turner, whose on-screen chemistry meshed with Michael's in three movies, Romancing The Stone, Jewel Of The Nile,
and War Of The Roses,
making Mr Douglas a hot big-screen property at last.
At Jimmy Carter's pre-inaugural party in 1977, Democrat supporter Michael, who is now a UN Messenger Of Peace and campaigns for nuclear reform, met then 19-year-old Georgetown sophomore Diandra Luker. Three months later the couple were married and shortly after Diandra gave birth to the couple's only child, Cameron.
Despite two separations, rumours of infidelity, and a 1993 stint in rehab, Michael remained married to Diandra until mid-1995, when the two separated. The pair officially divorced in June 2000 amid rumours the Fatal Attraction
star had been forced to hand over half of his $100-million-plus fortune as the two had not signed a pre-nup agreement.
Enter Catherine Zeta-Jones
. One look at the sultry Welsh actress in her role in The Mask Of Zorro
, and Michael was convinced he had
to have her. For months they denied they were an item, until photos were published of the two of them canoodling in the swimming pool of Michael's Majorca hideaway. The two tied the knot in New York on November 18, 2000, after a two-year courtship. The couple have a son, Dylan Michael, who was born in 2000, and a daughter, Carys Zeta Douglas, welcomed in 2003.
After this period of family happiness, 2010 proved to be annus horribilis
for the star. His son Cameron was sentenced to five years behind bars after being found guilty of heroin possession and conspiracy to deal large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine.
"I love my son but I'm not blind to his actions," Michael wrote in a letter to the New York judge. "He is an adult and responsible for his own actions. We do know, however, that genes, family and peer pressure are a strong influence on a substance abuser."
In fact, it's understood that the Douglas family's heartfelt pleas contributed to Cameron's relatively lenient sentence - the maximum term for his offences being ten years in prison. His stepmother Catherine wrote: "What is wrong is wrong, but may all these positive attitudes prevail", while Kirk, who was 93 at the time, admitted it was his last wish to see his grandson put his troubles behind him. "I am convinced that Cameron could be a fine actor and a person that cares for others. I hope I can see that happen before I die," he said.
Four months later came another trauma for Michael. In August, it emerged the actor was battling throat cancer. As he prepared to undergo eight weeks of radiation and chemotherapy on a tumor found in his throat, the brave star announced: "I am very optimistic". His doctors, meanwhile, stated that the prognosis was good and a full recovery was expected.