Michael Douglas, one of Hollywood’s most celebrated actors, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, as the first child of legendary Hollywood icons Kirk Douglas and Diana Dill. Kirk and Diana met while studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Michael has a younger brother named Joel Douglas and two half-brothers from his father’s marriage to Anne Buydens namely, Peter and Eric Douglas.
In 1969, Douglas had his first breakthrough on television with a CBS Playhouse special called “The Experiment,” where he was billed as “M.K. Douglas.” This was the only time he used this billing name in his career.
He Was Blogging Way Before it Became Cool
Kirk Douglas is the unlikely pioneer of celebrity blogging, often considered the oldest celebrity blogger in the world. He began his journey on the popular social media platform MySpace, where he shared his thoughts and opinions with fans worldwide. He continued blogging and even penned a letter for The Huffington Post about his opinion about the rise of Donald Trump.
Fans still remember his impassioned letter and appeal to the American public. Douglas proved he was beyond mere things like age, effortlessly embracing technology and social media to stay connected with his audience and share ideas with a new generation of readers.
Failing Health and Final Moments
Although Kirk Douglas had seemingly inexhaustible energy, his health gradually began failing him. In 1996, he suffered a severe stroke at age 79, which left him with impaired speech. Doctors initially believed that the damage was permanent, but he regained some of his speaking ability with regular speech therapy.
On February 5, 2020, Kirk Douglas passed away at age 103 at his home in Beverly Hills, surrounded by his loved ones. The family kept the cause of death private. His funeral was at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, where he was buried in the same plot as his son, Eric. On April 29, 2021, Douglas' wife Anne died at age 102 and now rests close to her husband and their son.
Acting Didn’t Come Naturally to Him
Michael Douglas stumbled into acting almost by chance. After aimlessly drifting through three years of college, he was forced by the school to choose a major. Douglas, with no particular interest in acting, chose theater arts because of his parents' background in the industry. But his early performances were far from impressive, as even his father, Kirk Douglas, admitted.
Attending nearly every show despite his busy schedule, his father was honest and told him that his acting was "awful." Michael acknowledged that his father was right and that he had a lot of room for improvement. He had a rough start, but Michael honed his craft and went on to have a successful career in acting.
The Story Behind K. Douglas
Michael Douglas had hoped to use his nickname "Mike" when he landed his first acting gig. He discovered that the name was already taken by another Mike Douglas, a popular TV talk show host of the time, leading to concerns about potential confusion among audiences. It explains why he went by "M.K. Douglas" in the 1969 CBS TV Playhouse special called "The Experiment.”
Some years later, a similar story played out when another actor with the birth name Michael Douglas had to change his name to avoid confusion with Michael Douglas - who had become a big star by then. This actor, Michael John Douglas, would become known as Michael Keaton in the entertainment industry.