Born in Los Angeles, California, Douglas was the youngest son of actor Kirk Douglas and German American mother Anne Buydens. He was the younger brother of Peter Douglas, and his older half-brothers were Michael and Joel Douglas. Douglas studied at Pitzer College, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and the London Academy of Dramatic Arts. Douglas made his screen debut in 1971 in A Gunfight, starring his father and Johnny Cash. In 1982, Douglas appeared in the NBC television film Remembrance of Love, also starring his father. Douglas portrayed a younger version of his father’s character in flashback scenes. He appeared in several films in the 1980s including The Flamingo Kid (1985), Tomboy (1985), The Golden Child (1986), and Honor Bound (1988). In the late 1980s, Douglas performed off-Broadway at the Village Gate Theater with the critically acclaimed improvisational comedy troupe Noo Yawk Tawk . He also appeared in a production of Dale Wasserman’s Shakespeare and The Indians at the Music Theatre Conference for the Eugene O’ Neill Theatre Center in 1981. Also in the production was folk performer Bobby Bridger, but the production never made it to Broadway. In 1991, Douglas appeared with his father (in the senior Douglas’ Emmy-nominated performance) in “Yellow”, the Season 3 finale of the television series Tales from the Crypt. The father and son acting duo portrayed father and son characters with Eric a young officer in World War I brought up on charges of cowardice by his commanding general who is also his cold-hearted father.
In the early 1990s, Douglas attempted a career as a stand-up comedian. He performed in New York City comedy clubs with much of his self-deprecating material coming from his status as the black sheep of the Douglas dynasty. Douglas entered British comedy folklore when, during a stand-up performance at The Comedy Store, London, he became angry by the audience’s reaction to his stand-up routine. This led to him shouting out, “You can’t do this to me, I’m Kirk Douglas’s son!” A member of the audience stood up and shouted “No, I’m Kirk Douglas’ son,” referring to the iconic “I’m Spartacus” scene of the 1960 film starring Kirk Douglas. This ended up with the majority of the audience standing up and repeating the line.
Douglas was arrested multiple times throughout the 1990s. One of his first arrests came in 1991 for kicking a Beverly Hills police officer. On October 30, 1994, Douglas was arrested in Los Angeles for cocaine possession. Less than a month later, he was arrested for DUI and for leaving the scene of an accident when he crashed into a parked car while trying to leave The Comedy Store in West Hollywood after a fight. In May 1996, Douglas was arrested for possession of a controlled substance when police found eleven vials of crack cocaine and 1,085 Xanax pills in his Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan apartment. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was placed on probation and was ordered to complete a drug rehab program. In August 1996, he was arrested in Long Beach, California for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Two days later, Douglas was arrested in New Canaan, Connecticut for disorderly conduct after he attempted to kiss a young girl who was a fellow patient at Silver Hill Hospital, a rehab facility he was in at the time. He was cleared of the charges in February 1998. In February 1997, Douglas was arrested for DUI after crashing his rental car into two parked cars. On July 6, 2004, a maid found Douglas’ body in his Manhattan apartment. An autopsy and toxicology report later determined that his death was caused by “acute intoxication” from the combined effects of alcohol, tranquilizers and painkillers. Douglas’ death was ruled accidental. Douglas is interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Westwood, Los Angeles, California.
- June, 21, 1958
- Los Angeles, California
- July, 06, 2004
- New York, New York
Cause of Death
- acute intoxication
- Westwood Memorial Park
- Westwood, Los Angeles, California