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What bigger star is there than Michael Douglas? This movie legend is right at the top of the Hollywood A-list. Married to Catherine Zeta-Jones, he’s among the most-loved actors in history.

But it wasn’t always that way! Michael only became the famous superstar we know today after many years of hard work and struggle.

Entry Into The Movie World

Many believe that Michael Douglas’s fame and fortune were always guaranteed. He was the son of the movie Maestro, Kirk Douglas (which explains why his middle name is Kirk), and got a wonderful education. Not only was there plenty of acting and showmanship at home, but he also trotted around the country to various movie-making locations with his father, learning the ropes.

Because of this, it was only natural that Douglas would go to drama school at the University of California in Santa Barbara. Here, he really learned his craft and honed his skills, becoming much more accomplished with every passing year.

It wasn’t long before he was on the screen. In 1969, he starred in the war story Hail, Hero! which was all about the U.S.’s struggles in Vietnam. The appearance catapulted the then-young superstar into the Hollywood scene and suddenly more people wanted to know what he could do.

Unfortunately, Michael’s career took a bit of a nosedive after that and it seemed like it all might be over. Most of the films he starred in during the 1970s were highly forgettable, and even with Disney’s direction in Napoleon and Samantha, he was unable to make the same impact his father had during the decade.

Success As A Producer And Actor

Fortunately, things didn’t stay dire. Michael eventually got his act together – no pun intended – and began starring in successful films and producing some of his own.

The big change came with One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a film based on the original Ken Kesey novel. Incredibly, Douglas’s father owned the rights to the IP because he’d starred in a Cuckoo’s Nest-based Broadway show a decade earlier. It flopped, so he passed it over to his son to see if he could do a better job of producing it. 

Amazingly, he did. Michael managed to create a film that picked up trophies in all five major Academy Award categories at the time. From that point onward, his career was made. 

During the 1970s and 1980s, Michael also worked to improve his acting skills. It wasn’t always easy for him, but he soon proved he could emulate his father’s abilities in the nuclear power plant-based, The China Syndrome in 1979.

He became a legend in his own right for his 1987 depiction of a morally bankrupt financier in the film, Wall Street. The portrayal captured the imagination of a generation and seemed the perfect film for the time when everyone was obsessed with money-making and markets.

After 2001, Douglas’s career became quieter, but he didn’t retire completely. That year, he starred in thriller Don’t Say a Word, and also starred in and produced The Sentinel in 2006. Later, he played the role of Liberace in the controversial 2013 film, Behind the Candelabra. 

In summary, Michael Douglas is an accomplished actor with a tremendous pedigree. He’s starred in many of the most iconic films in history and won multiple prestigious awards during the course of his acting career.

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