10 Things You Didn’t Know About Michael Douglas

“Michael Douglas has been in the public eye for decades but how well do you really know him?” asks critically acclaimed and bestselling biographer Marc Eliot. “In my forthcoming biography, there is a lot of surprising new and original material about him. See how well you know this Hollywood icon by answering the below questions. How many did you get right?”

1. Although Michael Douglas was the son of a Hollywood movie star, where did he grow up?

Answer: He actually spent most of his childhood in New York City, and later on in Connecticut. His mother got custody of Michael and his brother when she and Kirk divorced.

2. Where did Michael go to college and what did he major in?

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Answer: Michael attended the University of California Santa Barbara (USCB) and at first his major was uncertain—he became a hippie, tuned in and turned on, lived in a commune for awhile and overall, enjoyed the good life of being the son of a movie star. Upon the Dean’s suggestion, he left college for a year to find himself, and only after he returned did he decide to try theater and ultimately decide to major in it.

3. What was Kirk’s first reaction to seeing his son acting in a college production?

Answer: He thought Michael was dreadful!

4. What was Michael’s first appearance on television?

Answer: Kirk was promoting his film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea that he had made at Disney. Uncle Walt invited him to come to the house to let the boys ride Walt’s legendary back yard train set. Disney filmed the boys for what Kirk believed were home movies for personal use only. When the footage aired on television, Kirk filed a lawsuit that he ultimately dropped once he realized “You can’t sue God.” This footage marks Michael Douglas’ debut on TV.

5. Who originated the role of McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?

Answer: It was Kirk Douglas, not Jack Nicholson, on stage in New York in 1963.

6. Why did Kirk agree to allow Michael, who had no producing background at all, to take over the film production of Cuckoo’s Nest?

Answer: Neither Kirk nor anyone else could get it made. Kirk gave it to Michael as a last-ditch effort.

7. What distinguishes Cuckoo’s Nest from all other films since 1934?

Answer: In 1975 it won all four major awards: Best Picture (Kirk Douglas and Saul Zantz, producers), Jack Nicholson Best Actor, Louise Fletcher Best Actress, Milos Forman Best Director. The last picture to accomplish this was Frank Capra’s 1934 It Happened One Night: Frank Capra Best Director, Best Film, Clark Gable Best Actor, Claudette Colbert Best Actress.

8. How long was Michael married to his first wife and why did they break up?

Answer: Michael was married to Diandra for eighteen years. They separated fairly early on, and got back together many times before their divorce. The problems had to do with his career – he was never home and he had an eye for the women, both on the screen and off.

9. How many Academy Awards did Michael win?

Answer: He won two – One for producing Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975 and one for Best Actor in Wall Street in 1987.

10. What friend of Michael’s did a soundtrack recording for one of his films that won Best Song of the Year?

Answer: Bob Dylan, “Things Have Changed,” Wonder Boys

MARC ELIOT is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books on popular culture, among them the highly acclaimed biographies Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, the award-winning Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince, Down 42nd Street, Take It from Me (with Erin Brockovich), Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen, To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles, and Death of a Rebel. He has written on the media and popular culture for numerous publications, including Penthouse, L.A. Weekly, and California Magazine. His most recent book is American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood.He divides his time among New York City, Woodstock, New York, and Los Angeles.

Biographies of Hollywood Legends

About Kira Walton

Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

  • Sandra Hoppa

    This book is right up my alley.

  • melissa chappell

    i want to win

  • Alexandria rivera

    Hi there 
    I would love to read this book i am a big fan of Michael Douglas this book sounds great. Marc Eliot is a wonderful author love his books can’t wait to read it .

  • Lorrie-O

    Big fan and would love to know more!

  • Connie

    Hi! Sounds like a great book to read. 🙂

  • Nancy Gallagher

    I’ve always lived biographies & this seems like it will be very interesting

  • susan smoaks

    I am a big fan as well and this book sounds amazing!

  • Patty Tapella

    Would love to read this book.

  • yakovlev

    Hi! Please send me Michael Douglas book .

  • Rosa M Pacheco

    I would like to opportunity to get this book for free and enjoy reading it during the summer

  • smeek1958

    Sounds quite interesting, seems like lots of little-know info

  • Patti DeMares

    I would really like to read this book. I’m a big fan of Michael Douglas!!
    Marc Elliot is a wonderful author. His book on Michael Douglas would be a great read! Thanks!!!

  • Donna Clifford


  • Kay Burke

    I did not even know this book was coming out….sounds great!

  • David Hollingsworth

    I would really love to have this book, since I am an extreme film lover, and I don’t own any books of my own on the subject. Plus, Michael Douglas is one of the greatest actors of his generation, and he never gives a bad performance.

  • sue doersam

    i would love to read this book. i think michael douglas is a wonderful actor!

  • Barbara

    Thanks for the chance to win this book.

  • jr Hale

    Great book and contest. Thanks!

  • Terri Sutherland

    Michael Douglas is a wonderful actor! I would love to read this book.

  • maryann

    I like Michael Douglas and would love to read the book!

  • sally

    would really love to read this book

  • Shelli

    Sounds like a good read! I am a big fan of Michael Douglas!

  • Joel Cobbs

    There are FIVE major Academy Awards and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest won all five: Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay. It Happened One Night did the same.

  • LuAnn Morgan

    I’ve always been a fan of the Douglas family. And as Michael ages, he reminds me more and more of his father.

  • Diane Miller

    love to read and this would be a good book to read

  • Carol L

    Definitely on my TRL. Love Michael Douglas’s movies.
    Thanks for the opportunity.
    Carol L.

  • shina caetano

    Would love to read this book.

  • dawn thomas

    Sounds like a great book, cannot wait to read it.

  • Amy V

    Would love to read this book, seems very interesting!

  • Marcia Hardell

    I dont usually read biographies but think this would be
    interesting. I would like to read it.

  • Sunnymay

    Michael Douglas is a classic act and seems to be one of the strongest method actors. This book will give a glimpse into his private life and how he got there and what makes him tick.

  • Carol Wong

    I read a biography of his father and now it would great to read about his son.

  • Patricia b

    Sounds like an excellent read and great giveaway!



  • Connie

    Grew up with this well respected actor/director, yet he seems to have “figured out” the Holleywood life…would be an interesting read.

  • Sandi

    Michael Douglas has always been someone I respected. Hope to win thebook.

  • sunsfun

    I think this would be a very interesting book to read.

  • Lynda L

    Would love to read this book

  • Chandra DeVaul

    This sounds like a very informative read. I just wish I had the time to read all the books I wanted to. But with being in school full time and working 34 hours a week, it makes it pretty much impossible. My retirement years will be a wonderment of reading!!!!

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