There's no denying that Kirk Douglas was a screen legend. He starred in the iconic role of Spartacus and received multiple Academy Award nominations throughout his legendary career. As for that talent, apparently, it runs in the family. His son Michael Douglas turned into an A-list actor with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (just like his father) and earned an Oscar for his starring role in Wall Street. Though you might have thought that the father and son were always really close, bonding over Golden Globes and hit films, they actually had a strained relationship stemming from Kirk's absence during his son's childhood.
When Michael was just a toddler, Kirk set off for Hollywood to try to make it in film after finding success on the Broadway stage. But unfortunately, his career always came first as Michael explained to the Guardian.
"Joel (Michael's brother) and I would go off to Hollywood to see Dad during the holidays, and we had some great times. We would visit him on set...Or we would go to Kirk's house in Palm Springs where Joel and I became the Desert Rats, riding horses out into the countryside. People such as Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis would drop by. All of that left a lasting impression although, looking back, I can see that Dad was film star first, father second. We were much more emotionally attached to our stepfather."
But despite the distance, Michael actually got some valuable advice and leadership from his father in the entertainment industry. The actor shared with ET some of the most important advice he ever received from his late father.
"Whatever you do in life, whatever you gotta do, just do it to your utmost ability," he conveyed. "Do it with full commitment and then, screw it if it doesn't work out. Move on. But, you know, you left it with the idea that there is nothing more you could have done."
Michael Douglas' son Cameron Douglas, his only child with first wife Diandra Luker, growing up as the son and grandson, has had to overcome struggles of his own. He suffered from drug addiction and landed himself in federal prison for seven years after convictions of heroin possession and dealing crystal meth. After his release, he ended up in a Manhattan halfway house, but he pulled himself back up. He found a happy relationship with his girlfriend Viviane Thibes, with whom he has his own children. He's also repaired his damaged relationships with his family members.
The experience was tough on his relationship with his father, but these days they are doing great, and Cameron even joined his father for an interview with Good Morning America in 2019. He wrote a new memoir about all of his experiences, Long Way Home, that chronicles his privileged upbringing as Hollywood royalty to his drug charges and prison sentence.
"Seeing my family, my father and I doing that segment, was actually really healing for us," Cameron explained to GMA. "We were talking about things that we would never talk about, just him and I together. And so that was a beautiful thing that came out of that.
"But what I'm really happiest about is the way this book is being received and my hope is that it's really going to be able to connect with people [who are] struggling with addiction and families dealing with loved ones struggling with addiction."
According to Michael, he was absent during his first marriage and vowed to do things differently after marrying actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. The couple has two children together after over 20 years of marriage and regularly share sweet family pics on social media.
"Like Kirk before me, I was too absent from my first marriage. Second time round, I'm so much more hands-on. By the time Dylan and then Carys were born, I was well ensconced in my career. They both want to be actors and Catherine [Zeta-Jones] and I have seen enough of them on stage to know they have got it. You'll be hearing from another generation of Douglases. I've no doubt about it."