This Tuesday, May 16, 2023, Michael Douglas is honored at the Cannes Film Festival by receiving a special Palme d'Or which celebrates his entire career. The 78-year-old actor went public with his battle with cancer in 2010, but is said to be cured now.
[Updated May 16, 2023 7:57 PM] It's a very special day for famous actor Michael Douglas. This Wednesday, May 16, 2023, during the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival, the American actor was awarded an honorary Palme d'or. This prestigious award comes to salute his entire career as an actor, he who shone in films such as "Wall Street" or "Basic Instinct". At the age of 78, Michael Douglas has raised concerns about his health in the past. Catherine Zeta Jones' husband publicized his battle with cancer in 2010, which he successfully beat the following year. At first, the actor announced that he was suffering from stage 4 throat cancer.
In 2013, he revealed that he actually suffered from tongue cancer. In an interview with the British daily The Guardian, he reveals more details, acknowledging that his illness was due to his sexual practices. He states: "Without going into details, this very specific cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and arises from cunnilingus." However, the son of Kirk Douglas is reassuring about the evolution of the disease: "I have to have regular check-ups, currently every six months, but everything has been normal for two years. This type of cancer does not recur in 95 % of cases." Since then, the actor has claimed to be doing well and has been campaigning for cancer prevention.
The presentation of the Palme d'or d'honneur at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival crowns the exceptional career of Michael Douglas. His resilience and determination to overcome personal trials enrich his remarkable journey as a renowned actor. His enduring success in the motion picture industry, spanning decades, has left an indelible mark on the cinematic art, and his contribution to this art is recognized and celebrated by audiences around the world.
When one is born the son of one of Hollywood's biggest stars, the path is as royal as it is strewn with pitfalls. How to get out of the shadow of the father figure, in this case Kirk Douglas? This cumbersome legacy, Michael Douglas could have dragged it all his career like so many others. But several decisive choices will change the game and propel him to the top of Hollywood.
Michael Douglas will follow his father very early on the set, working as assistant director on the set of Alone are the Untamed (1962). He then joined the drama school in Santa Barbara where he met Danny De Vito, future friend and playing partner. The young man's career took off with a bang: his first major role, Hail Hero! a Golden Globe nomination for best newcomer in 1970. Two years later, he became Inspector Steve Keller, hero of the series The Streets of San Francisco. This role of young recruit made his fortune and his celebrity for four years. He then set up his first production company, Fantasy Films, and entrusted the adaptation of a novel on psychiatric hospitals to a young director of Czech origin: Milos Forman. Masterstroke ! The film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, was an international hit and won 5 Oscars. Douglas' course is flawless.
But the years that followed were less successful. Michael Douglas plays in The Winner, The Chinese Syndrome, This is my chance... Without success. Worse, in 1980, a serious skiing accident kept him away from the plateaux for three years. His acting career is at a standstill. Until 1984 when he put on the boots of Jack Colton, intrepid hero of In pursuit of the green diamond. Produced by the actor himself, this adventure film by Robert Zemeckis took full advantage of the Indiana Jones wave and triumphed at the box office. A sequel was even shot in 1985: Le Diamant du Nil. In both episodes, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner form an endearing and excessively argumentative couple. The friend De Vito is also part of the adventure. Success will never let go of Douglas...
With In pursuit of the green diamond, the actor had found his niche, this character who would stick to his skin throughout his career: the hero-seducer victim of women. Husband persecuted by his mistress in Liaison Fatale; husband at war with his concubine in the hilarious War of the Roses; cop troubled by Sharon Stone in the sulfurous Basic Instinct; employee sexually abused by Demi Moore in Harassment; President seduced by a secretary in The President and Miss Wade; writer attracted by the student Katie Holmes in the pretty Wonder Boys... In the 80s and 90s, Michael Douglas multiplies the roles of poor guy victim of the fair sex. A true priesthood.
Fortunately, he explores other facets of his talent, notably in Oliver Stone's Wall Street. His interpretation of Gordon Gekko, a wealthy business tycoon, even earned him an Oscar in 1987. He also worked with Ridley Scott for the needs of Black Rain, an atmospheric and baroque thriller. In Chute Libre, Joel Schumacher's best film, he composes a memorable William Foster, an ordinary employee who suddenly turns psychopathic. We also find it in David Fincher, where he becomes the plaything of a bewildering plot against his person (The Game), and in Steven Soderbergh, as a politician on a crusade against drugs (Traffic). The actor has since slowed down, appearing sparingly in light entertainment such as Divine But Dangerous or Spy But Not Too Much. The Sentinel marks his return to thriller, a genre that made him successful. But he really returned to the Hollywood scene in 2013. Indeed, his third collaboration with Steven Soderbergeh for the TV movie My Life with Liberace is synonymous with success. Douglas plays the famous American pianist, opposite Matt Damon who plays his lover Scott Thorson. The film is presented in the official selection at the Cannes Film Festival and winner of three Emmy Awards, including Best TV Movie and Best Actor for Michael Douglas. The following year, he embarked on a wild senior spree alongside Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Robert De Niro in the movie Last Vegas.
On the heart side, Michael Douglas hit the headlines by marrying Catherine Zeta-Jones, 25 years his junior. However, in May 2013, the couple announced their separation after 13 years of marriage. Marked by the filming of Traffic, Michael Douglas also committed himself to several humanitarian causes, notably becoming a United Nations Messenger for Peace. A new role for him, which he assumes with seriousness and discretion.