Book Review: Michael Douglas by Mark Eliot

September 20, 2012
Article first published as Book Review: Michael Douglas: A Biography by Marc Eliot on Blogcritics

Michael Douglas by Marc Eliot is a biography of the famous actor/producer. Mr. Douglas is an award winning actor and producer who had his share of ups and downs yet always managed to capture attention.

  • 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307952363

Book Review Michael Douglas by Marc Eliot

My rating for Michael Douglas: A Biography – 4

Buy this book in paper or electronic format*

More Books by Mark Eliot

Michael Douglas by Marc Eliot (website) highlights the accomplishments in Mr. Douglas’ professional and personal career as well as what influenced and drove the man to achieve such levels of height and fame. Mr. Eliot concentrates on Douglas’ competitive nature as well as his relationship with his parents, especially his famous father.

The relationship between Michael and Kirk Douglas is the cornerstone of this book. The author even encompasses a mini-biography of Kirk Douglas, from his defining childhood as a son to Jewish Russian immigrants and his success as a movie star to his recent stroke. Once the reader understands Kirk, we can understand Michael and the love/hate relationship which defined much of young Mr. Douglas’ life.

As a film buff I appreciated the insight about the film industry, what it took to produce One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and securing movie rights. but also thought that some of the author’s comments were disparaging and inappropriate (about Sharon Stone: “One quick flash of her pubic hair would make her a star—if not at the morning-after water coolers, like Fatal Attraction, then in the night-before wet dreams of the film’s vast male viewers.”). These comments distracted from the book. It’s OK on inject the author’s opinion in a biography but comments like this do not help us understand anything about the subject and, while trying to inject a bit of humor, distract from the reading.

The book provides no new information or anecdotes that one cannot get on the Internet with a bit of research, although it is all referenced in an attractive package. Mr. Douglas’ frank and open past interviews offer a colorful glimpse into what otherwise would have been a very detailed resume.

What made the book worthwhile for me was the turbulent relationship and reconciling the past between father and son. Michael Douglas’ struggle to overcome his father’s immense shadow is a worthwhile and interesting story which can, and should, be told in a solid biography instead of highlights as it is here.

One of the few second-generation kids to grow up and become a movie star, Michael Douglas has managed to emerge from the long shadow of his father. The struggle to become his own man in an unforgiving environment is only a part of this biography.

With success in his professional life, Michael Douglas’ personal life became a mass. Douglas’ unhappy first marriage, infidelity and drug use as well as a series of tragedies which would unbalance anyone especially when in the public eye.

Buy this book in paper or electronic format*

More Books by Mark Eliot

Zohar – Man of la Book
Disclaimer:I got this book for free
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  • AlyceSeptember 20, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Those sorts of humorous asides I think work best with the author is writing their own memoir; in a biography it seems unprofessional – like not keeping a sort of journalistic objectivity.

  • Freda MansSeptember 26, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I haven’t read this one, but would love to. I really enjoy celebrity biographies. They take you further into people than we normally see.

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