Michael Douglas opens up about his health battles and aging

I’ve always loved watching Michael Douglas act – Wall Street and The Game are my favorite movies with that legendary performer.

But today, the aging 78-year-old has changed noticeably, with his latest public appearances turning some heads.

I grew up during Michael Douglas’ heyday, and it felt like it was universally acknowledged that he was one of the most handsome and charismatic actors.

At the time of his Hollywood breakthrough, he was kind of the ideal American male. During his five decades in the industry, the veteran actor has shown that he can master many different roles and characters.


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But the Academy Award winner is perhaps best known for starring as the sleazy Gordon Gekko (Wall Street) and depressed millionaire Nicholas Van Orton (The Game).

“For some people, there’s security and safety in having an image and nurturing it and cultivating it,” Douglas told Today. “But…I’ve never had to worry about the dark, slick character aspect of some of my parts.”

“The best compliment I get is, ‘when I see your name, I don’t know what the movie’s going to be about, but I know it’s going to be good.’”

Michael got a feel for the acting business at an early age. He used to spend summers together with his father, Kirk Douglas, who was more often than not shooting films. He hung out with his father on movie sets, and in his teens, he knew he wanted to be an actor, asking his father to find him some roles of his own.

Michael Douglas made his debut in Cast a Giant Shadow – in which his father also starred – where he played the role of an uncredited driver. Before his first role in a film, Michael Douglas had a brief part in the television show The F.B.I. Producer Quinn Martin was impressed, and Douglas then got a part in the new police series The Streets of San Francisco. The show premiered in 1972, and would turn out to be Douglas’s big breakthrough role.


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In 1975, Michael produced the classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a movie that put him among some of the greatest. The film earned several Academy Awards – Douglas himself won an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Michael would go on to become a major Hollywood star following his performances as Gordon Gecko in Wall Street (1987), Falling Down (1993), and The Game (1997). When asked if he could pick his favorite movie, the Hollywood star couldn’t decide.

”To use a baseball term: I have a pretty good batting average. I can’t say they are all grand-slam home runs, but I have a lot of hits, singles, maybe doubles, a couple of triples,” he told The Guardian in 2023.


Michael Douglas attends the men’s final on day 15 of the French Open 2022 held at Stade Roland Garros on June 5, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Michael Douglas health update
Recently, several people have pointed out that Michael Douglas’ appearance has changed. As we grow older, it’s hardly strange that our physical attributes change. Aging is a natural process; one that we all experience

Even so, according to the Spanish newspaper Marca, it’s remarkable just how quickly his physical appearance has undergone change. Marca wrote an article in 2022 after Michael Douglas’ visit to France.

The actor was in Paris for a few days of work and was spotted strolling around on cobblestone streets in a picturesque neighborhood. But reporters noted that he looked thin and that his face appeared ”much more deteriorated.”

Say what you want about the actor’s startling physical transformation, but the fact is that Michael Douglas had a couple of tough years. Some might say it started back in 2010, when the veteran actor was diagnosed with tongue cancer.


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Douglas had been struggling for a long time and was experiencing oral discomfort – but several doctors missed the root of the problem. When Douglas finally consulted a friend’s doctor in Canada, he got an answer he’d rather not hear.

”I will always remember the look on his face,” Douglas has shared.

”He said: ‘We need a biopsy.’ There was a walnut-size tumour at the base of my tongue that no other doctor had seen.”

The actor soon learned that his undetected cancer was at an advanced stage, so he had to begin the brutal treatment immediately.

After eight weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, Michael was at rock bottom. He was on a liquid-only diet and dropped 45 lbs – there wasn’t much left of him when the treatment finished.

Luckily for Michael and his loved ones, the therapy worked and the actor was declared cancer free in 2011. According to Michael, his tongue cancer resulted from stress, heavy drinking, and smoking.


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But in a rather surprising interview in 2013, Michael Douglas opened up with another explanation. Incredibly, Douglas indicated that it was oral sex that caused his cancer.

He talked about HPV (human papillomavirus], which is the most common sexually transmitted infection – and how it was responsible for his cancer.

”I did worry if the stress caused by my son’s incarceration didn’t help trigger it. But yeah, it’s a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer. And if you have it, cunnilingus is also the best cure for it,” Michael Douglas said.

After the attention-grabbing interview, Michaels’s spokesman claimed that the actor was walking about HPV in general and wasn’t referring to his diagnosis.

After the harrowing journey with cancer treatment, it seems Douglas enjoyed life and stayed fit. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it negatively affected his health in more than one way.

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A post shared by Michael Douglas (@michaelkirkdouglas)

A post shared by Michael Douglas (@michaelkirkdouglas)

“I was quite surprised to realize how much energy I had lost throughout the pandemic,” he said.

During the pandemic, Michael did ”much more couch potato–ing” and started getting trouble with his short-time memory and recalling details in the near term.

”My long-term memory is fine, but short-term… not so much. I’m looking into it,” explained Douglas in an interview with ARRP Magazine in 2021.

His forgetfulness, which perhaps was considered a bit charming before, is ”not fine” anymore. Since Douglas has been very open about his weed-smoking habits, many thought that was the explanation for his failing memory.

But according to the actor, his love for the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant isn’t to blame in this case.

”I used to blame it on pot. But I’ve got some friends who’ve been smoking as long as I have and have fabulous memories, so I don’t think that’s the issue. I’m researching it,” he said.


Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas attend the “Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania” UK Gala Screening at BFI IMAX Waterloo on February 16, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)


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