MICHAEL DOUGLAS (Billy), an Academy Award winning actor and producer, is not only the son of a Hollywood icon, but after 40 years as an actor-producer in film, television and theater has left his indelible mark on the industry with projects that reflect and penetrate the public concerns of changing times.
Douglas won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1987 for his role as the ruthless corporate raider Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone's Wall Street. His 1975 debut film as a producer, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest based on Ken Kesey's classic novel and starring Jack Nicholson, brought him an Academy Award for Best Picture. The film won the top five Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay) and was nominated for the top honor in other critical categories.
He recently won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Movie for his portrayal of the consummate entertainer Liberace in HBO's Behind the Candelabra, co-starring Matt Damon. The film won the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Movie and Outstanding Directing for Steven Soderbergh as well. Douglas has also received an Emmy nomination for a guest role on the hit NBC comedy Will & Grace.
The list of wins and nominations for his life's work has been generous -- 32 wins and 28 nominations. Douglas has received two Golden Globes for Wall Street and the prestigious Cecile B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment (as well as six Globe nominations); and, a Screen Actors Guild Award for his role in the ensemble cast of Soderbergh's Traffic. That film won four Oscars including best picture.
In 2010, he was given the New York Film Society's Charlie Chaplin Award. The prior year he garnered the Producers Guild of America's Lifetime Achievement Award in Motion Pictures and the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1984, the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) named Douglas Producer of the Year. Five years prior, he was named Producer of the Year at the ShoWest Convention.
In 1998, he was given a distinguished honor outside of the entertainment field -- Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan made Douglas a UN Messenger of Peace. Douglas' main concentrations: Nuclear non-proliferation and the control of small arms.
Douglas' activism mirrors his pursuits in entertainment subject matter, tackling controversial issues that become politically influential works of art, such as The China Syndrome. Douglas starred in and produced the 1979 film, which centered on a journalist who discovers the cover up of an accident at a nuclear power plant. The screenplay and Douglas' co-stars Jack Lemmon and Jane Fonda were nominated for an Academy Award.
His combined talents as an actor-producer came together for the first time in 1984 in the hit action adventure romantic comedy Romancing the Stone, co-starring Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. The trio would reteam in the 1985 sequel The Jewel of the Nile. They would collaborate a third time on the black comedy War of the Roses.
The New Jersey native and son of acting legend Kirk Douglas and Diana Douglas, who is also a respected actress, grew up in California. He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and the preparatory Choate School while spending summers on movie sets with his father. He moved to New York where he began his acting career in television after graduating from college and studying at the American Place Theater and Neighborhood Playhouse, appearing in several workshop productions.
His first role was in the CBS Playhouse series The Experiment followed by Hail, Hero! -- the debut film of Cinema Center Films, CBS' new production company at the time. He would then appear in Adam at 6 A.M. and Summertree, based on Ron Cowen's play and produced by Kirk Douglas' Bryna Company. Douglas' break in bigger roles followed with the ABC thriller When Michael Calls, Medical Center and The FBI. So impressed by his performance on The FBI, the show's Producer Quinn Martin signed Douglas on as Karl Malden's sidekick in ABC's The Streets of San Francisco, which would become one of the 70s most successful crime series and earned Douglas three successive Emmy Award nominations. He also directed two of the show's episodes. That show was Douglas' breakout performance as a household name and rising star. During breaks in the show, he devoted his time to producing.
Douglas produced several shorts before he acquired the rights to Kesey's novel from his father. He would eventually leave the show and partner with Saul Zaentz and produce Milos Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which grossed $180 million box office, considered a huge success for its time.
Although Douglas continued his producing pursuits, he would star in 50 different film and television roles over the course of his career. His acting credits include: Napoleon and Samantha; Coma, based on Michael Crichton's bestselling medical thriller; It's My Turn; Running; the screen adaptation of Richard Attenborough's hit Broadway musical A Chorus Line; The Star Chamber; Adrian Lyne's disturbing thriller Fatal Attraction opposite Glenn Close; Ridley Scott's Black Rain; Paul Verhoeven's hit erotic thriller Basic Instinct opposite Sharon Stone; Joel Schumacher's controversial Falling Down; Barry Levinson's Disclosure based on Crichton's bestseller; Rob Reiner's The American President; David Fincher's The Game; A Perfect Murder; Curtis Hansen's Wonder Boys; Don't Say A Word; The-In Laws; You, Me & Dupree with Owen Wilson; Michael Cahill's King of California; Beyond A Reasonable Doubt; Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past; Solitary Man; and Soderbergh's Haywire (a cameo role.)
Douglas recently reprised his Oscar winning role as Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone's 2010 sequel Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. He and his father appeared in Lee Grant's illuminating HBO documentary A Father, A Son... Once Upon a Time in Hollywood about the professional and personal lives of both men and the impacts they have made on the motion picture industry.
He can be seen in Rob Reiner's upcoming The Shadow of Your Smile opposite Diane Keaton and The Reach with Jeremy Irvine, which he is producing.
He has also starred in and produced: One Night at McCool's starring Liv Tyler and John Goodman; It Runs in the Family co-starring Douglas' father Kirk Douglas, his mother Diana Douglas and his son Cameron Douglas; Clark Johnson's The Sentinel based on the Gerald Petievich's novel co-starring Kim Basinger, Keifer Sutherland and Eva Longoria; and The Ghost and the Darkness with Val Kilmer.
As a producer alone, Douglas has made 18 films and television series. Those credits include: Joel Schumacher's Flatliners starring Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts and Kevin Bacon; Richard Donner's Radio Flyer; Made in America with Whoopi Goldberg; Francis Ford Coppola's The Rainmaker, based on John Grisham's bestseller; John Woo's Face/Off with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage; and Starman with Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen. He later created an ABC series based on Starman starring Robert Hays.
Douglas theatre credits include: the off-Broadway production of Frank Gagliano's City Scenes; John Patrick Shanley's Love is a Time of Day; and George Tabori's Pinkville.
Among his philanthropic efforts, Douglas hosts the annual Michael Douglas and Friends Celebrity Golf Event, to raise money for the Motion Picture and Television Fund. To date the event has raised more than $5 million.