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Michael Douglas makes emotional confession about famous family member

The Wall Street star remembered the late Kirk Douglas

Bryony Gooch
US Writer
May 3, 2024
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Michael Douglas is remembering his father, the iconic Kirk Douglas - and keeping it candid. The star opened up about how his relationship with his dad changed - a gradual improvement over time. 

"It was different stages. It was not particularly good in the beginning, probably it was just because of the amount of work that he was doing", he admitted about Kirk in an interview with Chris Wallace, on MAX's Who's Talking to Chris Wallace?

Michael and Kirk Douglas chat at  Children Of Chernobyl's Children At Heart Gala in 2011© Getty
Michael and Kirk spend time together

"He just — career definitely went first before family," Michael explained, before admitting that their relationship certainly changed as they grew older.

Michael revealed: "But then in the sort of third act of his career, I think the second act, he was a little stunned that I was having a certain degree of success." 

"It is a reminder for me now as I’m into my third act that we can change," he said. "And we were very close. So I'm happy to say that by the time he was ending his life and before that, the last 15, 20 years, were a joy to be with him."

Kirk Douglas pays surprise visit to his son Michael Douglas on the movie set, "Hail, Hero" © Getty
Following his parents divorce, Michael would visit Kirk in the holidays

Kirk passed away aged 103 in 2020, with Michael announcing his death in a glowing tribute on Instagram.

"It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103", he wrote. 

Michael and Kirk Douglas at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in 2012© Getty
Michael announced that Kirk had passed away in 2020

"To the world he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.

"But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine, a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband", he continued.

The Wall Street actor continued to discuss his father's "well lived" life and significant legacy in film as an actor and filmmaker, adding that he was a known philanthropist as well. 

 (L-R) Kirk Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anne Douglas, and Michael Douglas © Tibrina Hobson
(L-R) Kirk Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anne Douglas, and Michael Douglas

But more poignantly, Michael added a personal touch to the sad announcement: "Let me end with the words I told him on his last birthday and which will always remain true. 'Dad - I love you so much and I am so proud to be your son'."

Speaking to Chris, the Gordon Gekko actor added that it could be difficult going into the same career as his father, as while he didn't measure his own success against the Hollywood titan, other people did.

"It wasn't necessarily that I was doing it, but you'd be working with people [and] they'd go, ‘It's just like your father. Your father does that, it's just really like your father.’ And, of course, we're in a career where you're trying to create your own identity."

michael douglas and children dylan and carys 2016© Getty Images
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 10: (L-R) Dylan Michael Douglas, actor Michael Douglas and Carys Zeta Douglas attend the premiere of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" at the Pantages Theatre on December 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael have spoken about their own kids' desires to go into acting, as in 2021 it appeared that Carys and Dylan wanted to follow in their parents' footsteps.

"Michael has said what it is like to be 'the daughter of' in the same industry, which I guess is similar if you are in business," Catherine told Drew Barrymore.

"If you are successful in business, it’s not an easy way in. In fact, one has to prove oneself more", she said, adding: "Even with that deterrent my kids are like, 'No, sorry we still want to do it

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