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Michael Douglas: A Biographyby Marc Eliot
Synopses & Reviews
A groundbreaking portrait of one of Hollywood’s most successful stars, from critically acclaimed and bestselling biographer Marc Eliot
Through determination, inventiveness, and charisma, Michael Douglas emerged from the long shadow cast by his movie-legend father, Kirk Douglas, to become his own man and one of the film industry’s most formidable players.
Overcoming the curse of failure that haunts the sons and daughters of Hollywood celebrities, Michael became a sensation when he successfully brought One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, starring his friend Jack Nicholson, to the screen after numerous setbacks, including his father’s own failed attempts to make it happen. This 1975 box-office phenomenon won Michael his first Oscar (the film won five total, including Best Picture), an award Kirk hadn’t won at the time, and solidified the turbulent, competitive father-son relationship that would shape Michael’s career and personal life.
In the decades that followed, Michael established a reputation for taking chances on new talent and projects by producing and starring in the hugely successful Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile movies, while cultivating a multifaceted acting persona—edgy, rebellious, and a little dark—in such films as Wall Street, Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct, and Disclosure.
Yet as his career thrived, Michael’s personal life floundered, with an unhappy and tumultuous first marriage, rumors of infidelity (especially with leading ladies such as Kathleen Turner), and a headline-grabbing stint in rehab. Rocked by a series of tragedies, including Kirk’s strokes, his son Cameron’s incarceration, and his own fight against throat cancer, Michael has emerged triumphant, healthy, and happy in his marriage to Catherine Zeta-Jones, a Welsh actress twenty-five years his junior, and their new young family.
In Michael Douglas, Marc Eliot brings into sharp focus this incredible career, complicated personal life, and legendary Hollywood family. Eliot’s fascinating portrait of the lows and remarkable highs in Michael’s life—including the thorny yet influential relationship with his father—breaks boundaries in understanding the life and work of a true American film star.
"Eliot's series of actor biographies (Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood) here looks at the life and career of actor-producer Douglas. Curiously, Eliot has almost nothing to say about the actor's childhood, but accelerates in covering his communal counterculture life at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his friendship with roommate Danny DeVito when both were struggling actors in New York City. After a foothold doing minor film roles in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Douglas gained a following when he portrayed a detective during four seasons of The Streets of San Francisco on television. Shifting gears, he scored accolades when he produced the multi-Oscar winner One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, later commenting, 'My producing career evolved out of my inability to get parts as an actor.' Eliot surveys the acclaim and box-office bonanza that followed: The China Syndrome, Romancing the Stone, Fatal Attraction, Wall Street, and Basic Instinct, detailing Douglas's rise as a romantic lead, both on-screen and off. Closing chapters cover his marriage to Catherine Zeta-Jones and his struggle with cancer. Highlighting father-son tensions with Kirk Douglas, Eliot succeeds with pages of psychological probes: 'In a sense, Michael acted out his demons on-screen.' However, he often takes a journeyman cut-and-paste approach to writing, and since he did not interview Douglas, the book remains oddly distant from its subject. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
MARC ELIOT is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books on popular culture, among them the highly acclaimed biographies Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood, and Steve McQueen. He divides his time among the east and west coasts, and Asia.
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Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Actors » Biographies