Michael Douglas released information to People Magazine in August 2010 that he has throat cancer and was starting a two month course of combined radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
Douglas’s spokesman told People that doctors had found that the popular Oscar-winning actor/producer had a tumour in his throat. No further detail on the type or stage of the cancer was revealed.
Douglas,however, said that he was optimistic about beating the disease and presumably it’s his doctors who have given him that optimism through a positive prognosis. Throat cancer is a very treatable disease as long as it’s caught and treated in the early stages. Around 90% of cases are currently completely cured by the combined treatment.
Douglas is 65 now and has a history of smoking and drinking, both proven factors in the development of throat cancer. As recently as 2006, he and Welsh actress wife Catherine Zeta-Jones said they were trying to give up smoking. Each reportedly smoked around 10 cigarettes a day. What is medically important for him now is whether the cancer has spread into his lymph nodes or other tissue around his throat. Even if there has been some spread, or metastasis, the treatment may still be entirely curative.
While the actor undergoes treatment his family and many fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that he can be completely cured. Douglas left his ‘hell-raising’ years behind him when he married Zeta-Jones and became, for want of a better phrase, one of the good guys. Where many other Hollywood stars, male and female, have struggled and failed to cope with aging – what in the world is going on in crazy Mel Gibson’s head? – Michael Douglas eschewed the film star destruct button and matured into a likeable character with a measured approach to life and apparently sound, unselfish values.
If he was vain as a young man, that seems behind him now. He’s come to terms with aging in an honest way, letting his previously coloured hair go a distinguished silver-grey. He’s acknoweldged that he has trouble keeping up with his kids, Carys, 7 and Dylan, 10, even though he’s had his knee joints replaced. He’s even revealed that he uses Viagra these days to maintain a sex life with Zeta-Jones. Though some people commented that that was too much information, he was nevertheless being honest about aging in a way many older film stars avoid.
On the family front, Douglas has recently done all he can to support his immature and feckless son Cameron, now in jail for drug dealing. He seems to be a good husband to lucky Zeta-Jones and a great father to his children Carys, 7 and Dylan, 10.
Like his father Kirk, he’s a great actor too. Douglas has starred in pretty consistently good films and given many unforgettable performances. As early as 1975, he deservedly won an Oscar for Best Picture with One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest which remains a classic. In 1988 he won the Oscar for Best Actor with Wall Street, a film that brutally captured the spirit of its time. Falling Down had less success than Wall Street but was an interesting attempt to nail a social phenomenon – that of the contemporary middle-aged white American male frustrated and feeling overlooked and marginalised in society.
Douglas has always been an actor who generates strong sexual chemistry with his female co-stars. With Fatal Attraction he generated heated debate about unfaithful husbands, betrayed wives, wicked mistresses and family breakup. The sexual chemistry he generated on screen with Glenn Close was in agonising contrast to the sweet ‘domestic chemistry’ he portrayed with Anne Archer. War of the Roses, a highly entertaining film for people who haven’t been through divorce, has an added ouch factor for those who have. And Basic Instinct of course created a bit of Hollywood film history with that scene. It may have been Sharon Stone’s underwear that was missing, but it was the effect on Douglas’s character that gave the scene its power.
Michael Douglas’s new film, Oliver Stone’s sequel to Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps will be released in September 2010. The star will probably still be undergoing cancer treatment when the film is premiered and hits cinemas. Hopefully this interesting and talented actor will make a rapid recovery from the disease and its treatment and enjoy the almost guaranteed success the sequel is likely to have.