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Michael Douglas: A Biography [Kindle Edition]

Marc Eliot
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews Review

Photos of Michael Douglas from the Rebel Road Archive

Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner

With Kathleen Turner, Romancing the Stone

Click here for a larger image

Michael Douglas and Glenn Close

With Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction

Click here for a larger image

Michael Douglas and Karl Malden

With Karl Malden, Streets of San Francisco

Click here for a larger image


“Loaded with juicy tidbits...entertaining.” -Macleans

Product Details

  • File Size: 5696 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype (September 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008LMD9N4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,593 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read about iconic producer/actor Michael Douglas September 18, 2012
I grew up watching Michael Douglas on the big screen. Romancing the Stone, Wall Street, Black Rain, Fatal Attraction, etc. I had no idea that prior to that Michael was an Academy Award winning producer for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Or that he lived on a hippie commune in Santa Barbara. Or that he buddied around with Danny DeVito and was mentored by the great Karl Malden. Or that he was one of the few children of Hollywood stars to successfully live up to his father's legend. In his career Michael seems to have struck gold more than once. Outside of his career his impact has extended from his role as United Nation Messenger of Peace to his recent struggles with cancer.

Mr. Eliot's biography seems to have found the happy balance in telling the story of one of Hollywood's most beloved actors and producers. Eliot also points out that it wasn't always that way and that Douglas' struggle was a bumpy one. The narrative is respectful and informative and I found myself turning the pages one after the next. All in all a great read!

I recommend this book highly!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, A Good Bio September 27, 2012
This book was definitely superior to the last book I read by this author. It is fairly straightforward and appears to be thoroughly researched. The one thing I can say definitely is that I enjoyed it a lot. It kept my interest throughout. It covers not only Douglas' career with the hits and missteps, but also looks at his personal life in detail.
Probably most interesting to me were the early years which had not been documented in the press for the world to see. As the son of a celebrity, what had been covered were photo ops and occasional items which touted family togetherness. What is the contained in this book portrays a much different picture of Kirk Douglas and Michael. While not exactly a hard luck tale about childhood abandonment, it does portray a father who is absent most of the time and a son who longs for reunification and acceptance. In this respect the reader will get a dual bio of Kirk as an actor, husband, father, and womanizer and Michael.
As things often have a way of coming full circle, Michael is also seen in much the same light as his father. He clearly makes the same mistakes as Kirk when it comes to his first wife and son with some fairly unfortunate results.
If there is one thing that I probably don't much like in this book is the author's tendency to project Michael's thoughts and feelings in regard to his dealings with all his children and both of his wives. It is easy to speculate but in the end those thoughts may not be accurate or even realistic.
Ultimately, this is an interesting book and will enhance its author's rep as a biographer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars just a bunch of media articles turned into a book December 23, 2012
By kramax
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a major disappointment. Those who have given it positive reviews are not regular readers of biographies. I am a fan of Douglas and when I saw the book I thought it would be interesting to read of his life and career. What a waste of money this title is. Just google all the media on Douglas over his career and paste it all together and save yourself the cost of the book. There is no investigative journalism, no exclusive information that one cannot get elsewhere. There is no in depth reporting of Douglas' marriages or his cancer illness. All that is written on his career is stock standard. After a couple of pages I was bored rigid and flicked through the rest of the book - all the same, just jumping from one subject to the next. As one resource ends, so does the subject. Hopefully in the future Douglas will write his own biography. However in the meantime do not bother with this nothing of a book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Worth It April 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read a lot of bios and I found this one very disappointed. I was surprised how shallow Michael Douglas was and I really didn't think the author pushed into areas of Michael's life as deeply as he should have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok December 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What I got from this book - was an interesting view into the life of an actor whose work I have admired. Nothing too
in depth and the writing style personal. A good easy read for hotel evenings and mid range flights -
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must Reading for Film Buffs and Michael Douglas Fans October 12, 2012
Like many Generation X'ers, my list of favorite male actors has always included Michael Douglas, who starred in several of the most commercially successful (as well as culturally significant) Hollywood films of all time. My appreciation of Douglas goes back even further, when he co-starred with Karl Malden in the Streets of San Francisco. As a native Californian, San Francisco, along with CHIPS, was one of those shows I watched religiously, week after week. When the handsome son of Kirk Douglas made the jump to the silver screen, I followed his every move, and have continued to do so for the last thirty years. For me, Douglas had the combination of intelligence, charisma, believability (flaws), and leading man looks. Also, Douglas's performances typically possessed an underlying sense of angst, perhaps anger, which always made his characters even more compelling.

Michael Douglas has never quite achieved the level of critical praise reserved for the rare likes of the DeNiro's and Pacino's--even though he has won multiple Oscars--but he is inarguably one of the most iconic male actors in Hollywood history, thanks to his roles in The China Syndrome, Romancing the Stone, Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct, and of course Wall Street. Perhaps better than any other actor of his generation, Douglas became the on-screen embodiment of the flawed, contemporary American male. He created compelling characters who, despite their quirks and dark sides, gave an audience plenty to root for; and when you weren't rooting for him, as was the case with his unforgettable Gordon Gecko, you were nonetheless fascinated by the complexity of the character.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Fascinating
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. Aside from my interest in Douglas' career and work as an artist, I have always been curious about the family overall after... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lauren Larson
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
it was entertaining!!
Published 2 months ago by Judy Atwell
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, more honest bio from Marc Eliot
As an avid reader of bios I've admittedly read several of Marc Eliot's. While they're almost always entertaining his books range from average to excellent depending on his subject... Read more
Published 5 months ago by E. Alton
5.0 out of 5 stars A good life.
I just finished this book and enjoyed it. Michael went through a lot of changes over the years and I am glad to know that he is a better Father to his second family than he was... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Barbara hedge
3.0 out of 5 stars A Lost Soul
Cathrine Zeta Jones deserved better. Michael grew up watching his father trying to do every broad in Hollywood. He believed in the attage, R.H.I.P.
Published 8 months ago by Tulane Wax
3.0 out of 5 stars Another egotist hits the ground
Although one "learns" how Michael Douglas ended up in the movies, and succeeding, the book does not give you any real insights into the man. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Daniel shefer
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael
I really enjoyed reading this book, very interesting and easy to read. I like the author.
I would recommend this book for any Michael Douglas fan.
Published 18 months ago by Lorna
3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough access for any real insight
This biography reads more like an accumulation of facts that might have been gleamed from other summaries or articles. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Mary Rowe
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Douglas
Excellent bio of Michael Douglas. Good account of his past and how he came to be one of the prominent actors of our time. A real bio.
Published 19 months ago by Arabella Hong Young
4.0 out of 5 stars Factual Book about Hollywood movies
This was an average read which dealt more with Michael Douglas' movies, and the other movies being made during his career.
Published 20 months ago by Paulette
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More 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 biography Cary Grant, the award-winning Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince, and most recently American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood, plus the music biographies Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen, To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles, and Death of a Rebel about Phil Ochs. He has been featured in many documentaries about film and music and has written on the media and popular culture for numerous publications. He divides his time among New York City; Woodstock, New York; and Los Angeles. Visit him at

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