Michael Douglas Recalls Moment He Was 'Finally' Able to 'Step Out of the Shadow of My Dad' Kirk Douglas

Michael Douglas's father, the acclaimed actor Kirk Douglas, died in 2020 at age 103

Michael Douglas is pinpointing the moment he felt he was able to step out of his movie-star father Kirk Douglas's shadow.

As the actor, 79, appeared on Sirius XM's The Jess Cagle Show with Julia Cunningham to promote his new Apple TV+ series Franklin, he said he did not feel he'd found success on his own terms until 1987, nearly two decades into his acting career.

"You're sort of feeling like, 'Well, who am I?' So I think it takes you longer to get your own identity, and it took me longer to sort of step out of the shadow of my dad," he said, after noting that people often complimented him early in his career for sounding and looking like his father, who died in 2020 at age 103.

"I didn't really feel it until the year of Fatal Attraction and Wall Street together," he added. "The commercial success of Fatal Attraction and winning the Oscar for Wall Street sort of finally got me free of that shadow, and I think that's was a big moment."

Michael won the Academy Award for Best Actor for playing stockbroker Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. Fatal Attraction, his other movie released in 1987, proved to be that year's third highest-grossing movie at the domestic box office.

Related: Michael Douglas Jokes He and Catherine Zeta-Jones 'Seduce' Their Kids with Lavish Trips: 'Just a Treat'

Hulton Archive/Getty Images Michael Douglas and Kirk Douglas circa 1965
Hulton Archive/Getty Images Michael Douglas and Kirk Douglas circa 1965

During Michael's acceptance speech at that Oscars ceremony, he thanked Kirk "for his continued support and for helping a son step out of a shadow."

"I'll be eternally grateful to you, Dad, for that," Michael said during that 1988 awards ceremony.

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Host Cagle also asked Michael to identify the advantages and disadvantages he found from growing up as the son of a movie star.

"I think the advantage is that you were able to see your father as a movie star, his friends, Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck, others, Tony Curtis, all of them coming, Frank Sinatra, and you see them with their own foibles," he said.

"You see them as regular people who had issues just like everybody else, and it took a lot of that pizzazz out of the thing, and I think helped you conduct your own life in a more practiced easier way," he explained. "You weren't affected by all the stuff like a lot of people who never come in before, so that was a big advantage."

Related: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones' Daughter Carys Attends Wedding in 'Peachy' Dress: See the Photo!

Kevin Winter/Getty Kirk Douglas and Michael Douglas
Kevin Winter/Getty Kirk Douglas and Michael Douglas

Michael also appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show April 17 to promote his new series, where he admitted that his father did not approve of his performance the first time he saw Michael act onstage in college.

"Dad came back after the show and he said 'Michael, you were terrible.' Honest parenting. So that was the start — I just worked at it and grinded away, but by the time I graduated and everything, [he] thought I did okay," he said.

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