An emotional Michael Douglas said that surviving cancer a few years ago instilled new confidence in him and gave his career a much-needed resurgence in its twilight years.
Douglas, 71, spoke about his health at an AARP luncheon celebrating the Academy Award-winner’s storied career and said: “It’s good to be alive.” Douglas battled stage four throat cancer in 2010.
“Once you come out of that end, you have a resurgence, certainly of energy,” he told the crowd at the renowned restaurant Le Bernardin. Douglas had his own celebrity cheering section as he was given AARP’s “Movies for Adults Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Besides his wife, fellow Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, his Ant-Man co-star Paul Rudd, his Fatal Attraction co-star Glen Close, Blythe Danner, David Hyde Pierce, Zac Posen and Jann Wenner attended. Close joked: “I love Michael so much that I stopped colouring my hair so I can look like him.”
Douglas called One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which he produced, his most profound work, and noted that it was turned down at every Hollywood studio before its eventual release. He also attributed his longevity to picking the best film to work on instead of the best role.
“The greatest compliment I could get is that I see your name, and I don’t know what I’m gonna get but it’s going to be good,” he said.
His voice cracked when he thanked his wife for her support; the couple separated a couple of years ago but reconciled, and Douglas noted the pair were celebrating their 15th anniversary this year.
He also got political, railing against super PACs that give large contributions to political candidate, blaming them for viciousness in the presidential campaign climate. He also cited Wednesday’s deadly mass shooting in San Bernadino, California, in asking for people of different political beliefs to unite on a common gun control solution, so “we cannot be completely embarrassed” before the rest of the world.
Douglas will receive AARP’s award officially at a ceremony in Los Angeles in February.