The 19th Annual American Film Institute Life Achievement Award: A Salute to Kirk Douglas 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)
Actor and producer Michael Douglas enjoyed great success by avoiding the heroic leading-man archetype by creating smart, flawed, sympathetically human characters. His popularity grew through several star-making hits, including "Romancing the Stone" (1984), "Fatal Attraction" (1987) and "Basic Instinct" (1992) and held strong as he portrayed midlife professionals at a crossroads in "Wall Street" (1987) and "Wonder Boys" (2000). Douglas rarely dominated a movie like his famous father Kirk Douglas had during his 1950s heyday, and, though his $20-million price tag might have suggested otherwise, the younger Douglas remained more of a complementary player who allowed a collection of strong actors to drive a film. In addition to his movie-star status, Douglas was well known as a film producer, garnering a Best Picture Oscar for his first outing, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975), and maintaining his reputation with films including "The China Syndrome" (1979) and "The Rainmaker" (1997). The respected and well-liked actor raised eyebrows, however, when he married the much-younger screen beauty Catherine Zeta-Jones, with whom he later co-starred in the drug war drama "Traffic" (2000). Douglas' professional output decreased at the start of the new millennium, marked by lesser efforts such as the remake of "The In-Laws" (2003), but it was a succession of tragic events - the fatal overdose of half-brother Eric; the conviction of son Cameron for drug dealing; and Douglas himself being diagnosed with throat cancer - that cast a pall on the venerable star's personal life. Exhibiting the strength of character he had become known for, Douglas resurrected his most famous character, Gordon Gekko, in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" (2010), garnering critical praise and reminding the world that Douglas was still a force to be reckoned with.