Sunday 17 April 2011

Michael Douglas Montreal Bound: Wants To Thank McGill Teaching Hospitals

Actor Michael Douglas is no stranger to Montreal. He and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones have a home in the Mont Tremblant area and frequent our fair city often. On Tuesday, May 3 at Le Windsor, Douglas will be the special guest at the annual fundraiser of the McGill Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

When a cancerous tumour was found in Douglas’s throat last summer, he was initially treated at one of the McGill teaching hospitals. Here he talks about it with David Letterman:

Douglas says the cancer is now gone. Obviously, his star presence at the Montreal fundraising dinner is a way for him to say “thank you.”

"The odds are, with the tumour gone and what I know about this particular type of cancer, that I've got it beat," the veteran actor said in an interview with U.S. morning show Today recently.

The 66-year-old Douglas pointed out that his parents have set a good precedent for aging — his mother (actress Diana Dill) is in her late 80s, while his father (iconic actor Kirk Douglas) is 94 — he noted that his cancer treatment has nonetheless changed his perceptions. "I feel good about those genes,” he said. “But it's definitely a third act. And so you're a little more conscious of your time in how you choose to spend it. All of a sudden the affection from my family, from my friends, and from my fans hit me at a much deeper level than I would have ever imagined before. And it gave me a really new appreciation of just how valuable, how precious good friends are and family."

An important mission of the McGill Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and its oncology program is to provide state-of-the art care for patients with cancers and other disorders of the head and neck. These cancers are unpredictable and may affect the thyroid, throat, voice box, mouth and tongue, and the nasal chambers. Their research programs have led to many new treatments and surgical procedures to combat these potentially fatal diseases. These research programs have offered patients hope for the future with an attempt to bring an important cure that much closer.

Mr. Douglas recently waged his own battle with throat cancer,” note Drs. Saul Frenkiel and Sheldon Elman, chairs of the event. “Through personal determination and with the help of modern treatments including chemotherapy and radiotherapy, we hold great optimism for his successful recovery. We are extremely grateful that he has offered his support to our research mission here at McGill University.”

The invitation to the event states that by supporting the research fund that honours Michael Douglas, “you will facilitate our endeavours to provide our community of patients with the most modern care available.”

Those with VIP tickets ($750 each) will be able to attend a special cocktail party with Douglas prior to the dinner. There is a spectacular live auction with some spectacular opportunities: two golf foursomes with Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, a trip by private jet for deep sea fishing off the coast of Florida (sponsored by Vic Betrand of Mega Brands), a trip via private jet to New York City to see the new Broadway production of Spiderman (sponsored by Stephen Bronfman), a package including racing lessons at the Jim Russell Driving School in Tremblant and accommodations at Hotel Quintessence, (sponsored by CSL native and Michael Kors guru Lawrence Stroll), paintings and necklaces. One of the originators of this event was Dr. Melvin Schloss, a prince of a man who has the magic “ear, nose and throat” touch at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Douglas will not be doing many interviews while in Montreal as his voice tires easily, I am told.

Some biographical information about Douglas, via

Douglas is reported to be worth over $200 million. His first real break came on the TV series The Streets of San Francisco (1972) opposite screen veteran Karl Malden. Michael gained quite a following on this show, and left it to produce One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). In the 1980s he tried his hand at comedies, the most successful being Romancing the Stone (1984), its sequel The Jewel of the Nile (1985), and The War of the Roses (1989), in which he co-starred with Danny DeVito and Kathleen Turner. It was in the 1990s, though, in which he gained the most notorious aspects of his reputation. He starred in Basic Instinct (1992), a thriller, heavy on sex and violence, that was a worldwide hit. Having played a similar role in Fatal Attraction (1987), it did indeed appear that he was being typecast in "man against woman" type roles, and pictures like Disclosure (1994) did nothing to dissuade that opinion. He finally tried to break away from this image with The American President (1995) and The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), yet when he started dating Catherine Zeta-Jones, 25 years his junior, this image continued, even after their marriage. He has done the two Wall Street movies, the In-laws, Solitary Man, Traffic and many more. He is now preparing to portray legendary pianist Liberace in his next movie.

Take a look at his recent appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno:

Michael Douglas Trivia Question

Which movie did Douglas film in Montreal early on in his career? It was called Running and he portrayed fictitious American marathon runner Michael Andropolis who sets his heart on representing his country at the 1976 Olympic Summer Games in Montreal. I remember the scenes of him sprinting into Olympic Stadium.

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