MICHAEL DOUGLAS (Alex Gromberg / Producer), the son of Kirk and Diana Douglas, was born in New Jersey. He attended the elite preparatory Choate School and spent his summers with his father on movie sets. He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara.
After receiving his B.A. in 1968, Douglas moved to New York City to continue his dramatic training, studying at the American Place Theatre (with Wynn Handman) and at the Neighborhood Playhouse. He got his first big break in the CBS Playhouse production of The Experiment, which won him the leading role in the feature Hail, Hero!, followed by his second feature, Adam at 6 A.M. (1970). Douglas next appeared in Summertree (1971), produced by Kirk Douglas’ Bryna Company, and then Napoleon and Samantha (1972).
In between films, Michael worked in summer stock and off-Broadway productions. He also appeared in the made-for-television thriller When Michael Calls, and in episodes of the popular series Medical Center and The FBI. Producer Quinn Martin signed the actor for the police series The Streets of San Francisco, which premiered September of 1972 and became one of ABC’s highest-rated prime-time programs in the mid-1970s. Douglas earned three successive Emmy Award nominations for his performance and directed two episodes of the series.
During breaks in his shooting schedule, Douglas devoted time to his film production company, Big Stick Productions, Ltd. Long interested in producing a film version of Ken Kesey’s grimly humorous novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Douglas purchased the movie rights from his father. After a number of major motion picture studios turned him down, Douglas formed a partnership with Saul Zaentz, a record industry executive. A critical and commercial success, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won five Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress, and went on to gross more than $180 million at the box office.
Now in demand as an independent producer, Douglas teamed up with Jane Fonda to produce The China Syndrome (1979), starring Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda, and Michael Douglas. The film received Academy Award® nominations for Lemmon and Fonda, as well as for Best Screenplay. The National Board of Review named it one of the best films of the year.
Douglas resumed his acting career in the late 1970s, starring in Michael Crichton’s Coma (1978), It’s My Turn (1981), and The Star Chamber (1983). He also starred in Running (1979) and Richard Attenborough’s A Chorus Line (1985).
Douglas’ career as an actor/producer came together again in 1984 with the release of Romancing the Stone. With Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, and Douglas, Romancing was a resounding hit and grossed more than $100 million at the box office. Douglas was named Producer of the Year in 1984 by the National Association of Theater Owners. Douglas, Turner and DeVito reteamed in 1985 for the successful sequel The Jewel of the Nile.
Douglas followed with Starman, starring Jeff Bridges, the sleeper hit of the 1984 holiday season which earned an Oscar® nomination for Best Actor for Jeff Bridges. In 1986 Douglas created a TV series based on the film for ABC starring Robert Hays. Douglas returned to the screen in 1987, starring opposite Glenn Close in the phenomenally successful Fatal Attraction, followed by his performance as ruthless corporate raider Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, earning him the Academy Award® for Best Actor.
Douglas next starred in Ridley Scott’s thriller Black Rain and then teamed up again with Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito in the black comedy The War of the Roses (1989). In 1988 Douglas formed Stonebridge Entertainment, Inc. which produced Flatliners, directed by Joel Schumacher. In 1992 he starred with Sharon Stone in Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct, one of the year’s top grossing films.
Douglas gave one of his most powerful performances opposite Robert Duvall in Joel Schumacher’s controversial drama Falling Down. That year he also produced the hit comedy Made in America starring Whoopi Goldberg. In 1994/95 he starred with Demi Moore in Barry Levinson’s Disclosure. In 1995 Douglas portrayed the title role in Rob Reiner’s The American President opposite Annette Bening, and in 1997 starred in The Game, directed by David Fincher and co-starring Sean Penn.
Douglas formed Douglas/Reuther Productions and produced The Ghost and the Darkness, starring Douglas and Val Kilmer; John Grisham’sThe Rainmaker, directed by Francis Ford Coppola; and John Woo’s action thriller Face/Off, starring John Travolta and Nicholas Cage, which proved to be one of ‘97’s major hits.
In 1998, Douglas starred with Gwyneth Paltrow and Viggo Mortensen in A Perfect Murder and formed a new production company, Furthur Films. Furthur’s first film was One Night at McCool’s. Douglas was also named a Messenger of Peace for the United Nations in July of 1998 by Secretary General Kofi Annan. His two areas of concentration are nuclear abolition and small arms proliferation.
Wonder Boys opened in February 2000 to much critical acclaim, directed by Curtis Hanson. Michael was nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Film award for his performance. Douglas then starred in Traffic (2001) directed by Steven Soderbergh. Traffic was named Best Picture by New York Film Critics, won Best Ensemble Cast at the SAG Awards, and was recognized over on over 175 top ten lists.
Douglas recently starred in Don’t Say A Word, directed by Gary Fleder and also starring Sean Bean, Famke Janssen and Brittany Murphy. He also made a guest appearance on the popular comedy series Will & Grace, which won him an Emmy nomination. He’ll next be seen in The In-Laws with Albert Brooks.
Douglas is married to Catherine Zeta-Jones and the couple has one son, Dylan, and is expecting a second child in 2003. Douglas also has one son, Cameron, from a previous marriage.