As Son Faces Prison, Douglas Says Mistakes Run in The Family

Actor tells Vanity Fair he put himself before his son

By Greg Wilson
|  Monday, Mar 1, 2010  |  Updated 1:15 PM EDT
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As Son Faces Prison, Douglas Says Mistakes Run in The Family

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Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas and Cameron Douglas appeared together in "It Runs in the Family."

When Michael Douglas was 31, he was celebrating an Oscar for producing "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," but Douglas' son Cameron is marking the same point in life by heading to prison.

In a lengthy interview with Vanity Fair, Douglas, 65, opened up about his fight to emerge from father Kirk Douglas' shadow and the mistakes handed down from generation to generation in one of Hollywood's most famous families. Cameron, a sometime actor and deejay, pleaded guilty in January to trafficking cocaine and crystal meth and is serving at least 10 years in prison.

“Anybody who has a relative or child in substance abuse has some idea of what this feels like," Douglas said. "This is one of those worst-case scenarios.

“It will ultimately be a painful lesson and very expensive as far as time is concerned. I don’t wish it on anybody, but then, you know, look, everybody’s got difficult things in life.”

While Kirk Douglas, now 93, wrote in his memoir "The Ragman's Son" of a father whose approval never came, Michael Douglas said he grew up in fear of his father, who left the family to launch his career. Douglas told the magazine he knows he may have repeated the cycle with his own oldest son.

 “My priorities were very similar [to my father’s],” Douglas said about Cameron’s formative years. “Career first.”

As the VF article recounts, Michael Douglas suffered his own battle with booze, going into rehab and splitting with Cameron's mother.  Now, he's married to actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, throwing himself into raising children Dylan, 9, and Carys, 6, at their home in Bermuda.

"I'm sure if he could breast-feed, he would have," Zeta-Jones told the magazine.

Meanwhile, Cameron Douglas, who once starred with his father and grandfather in a 2003 movie called "It Runs in the Family," is being held in a New York jail pending his sentencing April 27. He faces a minimum of 10 years in federal prison.

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