Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with Michael Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Lee Grant

Aired August 10, 2005 - 21:00   ET


KIRK DOUGLAS, ACTOR: Was I a good father?

MICHAEL DOUGLAS, ACTOR: You have ultimately been a great father.


KING: Tonight, exclusive: Kirk Douglas, a living legend and his son Michael Douglas, a super star himself, in a rare hour together. Exclusive, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

This Saturday night on HBO, they will premier and extraordinary documentary, "A Father, A Son, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood." I've had the distinct pleasure of seeing an advance screening of this. It is one of the best.

Joining us to discuss it are the participants, Kirk Douglas himself, the Hollywood legend, three-time academy award nominee, recipient of the 1996 honorary Oscar for 50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community.

In Washington, D.C., where he's currently filming, is Michael Douglas, the Academy Award-winning actor and producer and the son of Kirk.

And in New York is the famed Lee Grant, actress and director of this documentary. She is also an Academy Award winner. Lee, how did you come to be involved in this project?

LEE GRANT, DIRECTOR: Michael and I have been friends with my husband Joe Furry, for about 30 years and we've talked about doing a film with Michael and his father, since he wanted to have something that they really did together that was exciting and that was wonderful.

And of course, Kirk, I did my very first film with, "Detective Story," when he was the greatest, greatest star in the world and he was so extraordinary in that movie. And I fell in love with him, had a crush on him then.

And Christmas, about three years ago, since Michael and I had talked about doing a film, he finally said let's do it and it's been a great journey for me.

KING: Kirk, why did you agree, especially this -- for the benefit of the viewer, when you see this Saturday -- is so open? K. DOUGLAS: Well, if we weren't open, I wouldn't like to do it. I was anxious to do something with my son that was honest, that revealed both of us.

KING: So, it was no holds barred?

K. DOUGLAS: No. And I wanted something that maybe my grandchildren can look at and see us, not as stars in a motion picture, but together.

KING: Michael, why did you agree?

M. DOUGLAS: I thought, Larry, that there was an interesting history between my father, as an immigrant, arriving in this country from Belarus, his incredible arc of an immigrant family and all that he's accomplished and then, my generation and picking it up.

KING: Did you realize how open it would be? That there would be disagreements and little confrontations and a lot of humor, as well?

M. DOUGLAS: Well, I think that, that was the security that we felt with Lee being a friend and knowing both of us and having a long history. I think that comes out. If you're doing a documentary, that's the comfort factor, the security that you're with somebody that you can be that open.


M. DOUGLAS: You don't think the director has some control about the casting of the movie?

K. DOUGLAS: No. When you're the producer --

M. DOUGLAS: When I'm 29 years old my first picture as producer --

K. DOUGLAS: Did you ever...

M. DOUGLAS: Life changes.

K. DOUGLAS: Did you ever...

M. DOUGLAS: Don't you... don't raise your voice at me, Dad.


KING: Lee, what was the hardest part for you?

GRANT: There was no hard part, Larry. It was -- it was a very, very thrilling journey for me, because, I mean Kirk is one of the most passionate...

KING: No kidding.

GRANT: ... Livers of life that I've -- well, yes -- That I've ever met and Michael is a fascinating man. And don't forget, I couldn't ask Michael any of these questions if we were just sitting in a living room.

It's only when I guess you makes something for posterity, that you're able to ask all the things that you're curious about.

KING: From your standpoint, Kirk, don't you think it was hard, not just for Michael, to be the children of you?

K. DOUGLAS: Of course. I think that Michael is much sheltered than I did and I always thought that Michael would be a lawyer, not an actor. He said dad, "I'm going to be in a play." I said, "a play?"

Well, he had a bit part in the Shakespeare play "A Midsummer Night's Dream." I went to see him. He had about five lines. At the end he said, "Well, Dad, how was I?" I said, "Michael, you were awful." I said, "I didn't understand the lines of Shakespeare or words." And I thought that was over. In a few months, he said, "I'm going to be in another play."

KING: Why'd you stay with it, Michael?

M. DOUGLAS: I didn't have any other choice.

KING: What do you mean? You loved it?

M. DOUGLAS: I was undeclared. I was in my third year of school. They said you have to decide upon a major and my father was an actor. My mother was an actress. So, I thought theater might be the way to go.

KING: But didn't you think, "I'm going to step in awfully big shoes here?"

M. DOUGLAS: Absolutely. I also had terrible stage fright. We used to talk about getting sick in a waste basket before I'd go on stage, but I didn't know what else to do.

KING: Lee, getting them to draw them out, to talk about Kirk's adventuresome sex life, to say the least, was that hard?

GRANT: Well, I think you had to stop Kirk. I don't think there was any problem in drawing Kirk out about any of his dalliances, his affairs. He loved them all and fortunately he loved Anne most of all.

KING: Yes. He did.

K. DOUGLAS: That's right.

KING: And it stopped with Anne, right?

K. DOUGLAS: Exactly.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with the Douglases and Lee Grant. This extraordinary documentary airs Saturday on HBO. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) K. DOUGLAS: In every man's and woman's relationship, sex dominates the relationship at the beginning, but if you survive lots of obstacles.

ANNE DOUGLAS, WIFE OF KIRK DOUGLAS: And we had ups and downs in 48 years.

K. DOUGLAS: You have a deeper rapport with the another person and it's as if you are seeing the other person for the first time. I love my wife more now than I have ever loved her.




K. DOUGLAS: I fell in love with Ann in Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, I want you to marry me.

K. DOUGLAS: A year later, I married her in Las Vegas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don't think that many men are very faithful anyway. I had a long conversation with him, and I said, let's be honest. If you tell me, I know it's just because it's somebody in the movie. But if you don't tell me, then I will consider that something more serious. And that fact was not kept.


KING: Michael Douglas, was it difficult for you to hear your father openly talk about the fact that during the marriage to your mother, he loved a lot of women?

M. DOUGLAS: Well, it wasn't the first time that I've heard this, Larry. And certainly as I got older, I understood why they got divorced. My mother, Diana and dad met in acting school. So you're asking me before about why I had no choice. And I was a product of two people who were in love with acting. And they met in school.

And then early in my father's career, dad's career, he came out to Hollywood. And like a lot of people, was consumed with his career, and all that goes with it.

So, I understood the separation and the ultimate divorce. But I was blessed with the fact that the two of them resolved it so that the first time when I saw my father, after they were divorced, and I was living in New York, he came to the apartment and kissed my mother on the cheek, hello. And I remember kind of breaking down crying from the pressure that turned out that wasn't there.

So, my answer is that there's a lot of -- a lot of divorces that happen. And for good reasons. And sometimes people hang on too long for the sake of the kids, when they should be moving on with their lives. KING: Was it difficult for you, Kirk? Was there guilt?

K. DOUGLAS: Well, that's so long ago.

KING: Try to remember.

K. DOUGLAS: Try to remember. Well, you know -- by the way I was thinking, the last time we worked together, I said Larry...

KING: Don't work so hard.

K. DOUGLAS: Yeah. Don't work so hard.

KING: I know, you worry about me.

K. DOUGLAS: Since then you work twice as much. I had a stroke.

KING: You had a stroke, helicopter crash, two new knees.


KING: You got two new knees.

K. DOUGLAS: Exactly.

KING: What's that feel like, by the way?

K. DOUGLAS: It's a very interesting experience. This is the first time I have gone out of the house without a walker.

KING: Walker?

K. DOUGLAS: But what were you asking me?

KING: Guilt. We were asking -- we were discussing guilt. You didn't have guilt?

K. DOUGLAS: Listen, I celebrated my 50th wedding anniversary with my wife. And we got remarried. So everything before, that doesn't count.

KING: Doesn't count?


KING: Even while you were doing it?

M. DOUGLAS: He had guilt. He had a lot of guilt, because I think dad, you always talk about the stories about how your father kind of abandoned your family, and that wasn't something that you were going to do. So I think when the divorce happened it was difficult.


M. DOUGLAS: But it was all resolved. K. DOUGLAS: That was very difficult. But fortunately, then my first wife married a great guy who became a surrogate father for Michael and Joe. And he was a wonderful guy. I loved him.

KING: So you had a great stepfather, Michael?

M. DOUGLAS: I had a great stepfather. And I have a fantastic stepmother in Ann. And I think so many times, people never talk about how good stepparents are. That out of the love that they have for their spouse, that they assume the responsibilities of raising these kids. And Ann was fantastic in all the times, the summer holidays when I would come out and visit dad, she always made me feel welcome.

And yes, I was very fortunate to have a great stepfather, William Daird, and I grew up with him and my mother in Connecticut, away from Hollywood. And I think it was a good -- a good impression on my life.

KING: Lee Grant you said you had a crush on him when you did "Detective Story." Did you do anything about it?

GRANT: Well, I -- I don't think -- I don't think I fit the Marilyn Maxwell mode.

KING: Did you know that Lee had a crush on you, Kirk?

K. DOUGLAS: No, I didn't. I remember she was a wonderful actress.

KING: Oh, great actress.

K. DOUGLAS: Played a great part.

But, Larry, I'm surprised that the documentary seemed to focus so much attention on my sex life.

KING: I'm getting one portion. I'm going to other things.

But the documentary did focus on it. It did discuss it. It shows you in scenes with women. It shows Michael when you were kissing Lana Turner, looking -- telling him to get away.

K. DOUGLAS: But that was in the movie.

KING: That was in the documentary, too.

I'm just touching it for awhile. Don't be embarrassed. It's prodigious, right? There's a little pride in that, isn't there, Michael, how big a star he became?

M. DOUGLAS: A big pride. A big pride. And it was certainly a part of his life, but that was one thing I will never forget, that first time visiting the studio. He was doing "The Bad and the Beautiful" with Lana Turner. And I walked in, he was right in the middle of this love scene, and my mouth dropped, and he just looked at me, he said son, get out of my eye line.

KING: How do you like watching Michael do love scenes? Because he's had some great love scenes.

K. DOUGLAS: Yes, he has.




K. DOUGLAS: With Michael, to me, is my favorite actor. I think he is very talented. And I think, after that first encounter when he was awful, he has been very good in everything he has ever done.

KING: And now he's your favorite?

K. DOUGLAS: And I have seen everything Michael has done.

KING: We'll come right back with Michael Douglas, Kirk Douglas and Lee Grant. We'll talk about -- we'll leave sex -- and we'll go to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." A great film, a great play, a great Ken Casey play and novel. And the incredible story behind it. Lee Grant, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas. The special airs on HBO Saturday. Don't go away.


DEMI MOORE, ACTRESS: There, was that so bad?

M. DOUGLAS: No, that's not so bad. But it's just...

K. DOUGLAS: How about a drink?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know how you do it.

D. DOUGLAS: It's Arthur Murray. Six lessons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't just stand there. You give me a kiss.

Oh, I must say you haven't changed a bit.




M. DOUGLAS: You know, when you -- when you reach a certain point of success in your career, and are blessed and fortunate enough to have something that's more nourishing or more -- more important than that, which is love, and a family, and a bond, and just the joy that all you want to do is spend times with your kids.


KING: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" won an Oscar. Certainly one of the great movies ever made. And the original story, Kirk bought the rights to the book, Ken Casey wrote it, starred in a very acclaimed stage version of the story back in 1963. No studio wanted. Michael Douglas got the film made and starred Jack Nicholson in it.

That ticked you off, right?

K. DOUGLAS: That put it mildly. That was the biggest disappointment in my life. And also the biggest triumph. Because I was so glad that my son Michael made the movie. I tried to make it for over ten years. He made the movie. And everybody won an Oscar. And the most important to me was that Jack Nicholson was so good in it. I wanted him to be bad. He was so good.

KING: Michael, Kirk was not cast because what? Too old?

M. DOUGLAS: Yes. I mean, truthfully, at the time...

K. DOUGLAS: I could play the part now.

M. DOUGLAS: You could still play the part now. And all of a sudden a producer now that's got more control than anybody, it's the director. But Larry, it was incredible that dad, at the height of his movie career, went back to Broadway and took the time out to adapt this book into a play. And try to make it happen. The play did not succeed at the level that they'd hoped to. And it was difficult to make it into a feature film.

By the time that I got around to it, and everything else, people's careers had changed. The business had changed. And I do know that my father and I shared equally in the production back ends. And it was a very, very beneficial picture for all of us, and something we're proud of.

K. DOUGLAS: Made a lot of money.

M. DOUGLAS: It made a lot of money. But it was the best part that he never had. That he never had.

KING: How did he do it on Broadway? Was he very good, Michael?

M. DOUGLAS: He was fantastic. He was dynamic. He was perfect for R.P. McMurphy. He had that larger than life quality and character that he had. But the great thing about dad is as you can see, Larry, he doesn't hold a grudge. We're only talking about 30 years ago. And it's still right on the edge of his seat. Right there.

KING: As I remember, it was a successful play in San Francisco, wasn't it, Michael?

M. DOUGLAS: What happened...

KING: Wasn't there a production there that was successful?

M. DOUGLAS: Exactly. What happened is when I was in college, the book now became kind of a contemporary American classic that was read. And the play was revived about, you know eight or ten years later -- eight years later from the Broadway production. And it was a successful in San Francisco, and then it was in New York.

K. DOUGLAS: Very well done.

M. DOUGLAS: Very well done in off Broadway productions. And actually Danny DeVito, who is a dear friend of mine, played one of the roles in the production in New York. And that's how he was cast in the movie to play Martin.

KING: Lee Grant, were you surprised that this existed for so many years over this one show?

GRANT: You know, Larry, that's one of the things that you'll see when you watch the HBO documentary, because, this is something that they freely interact about in the documentary. So I don't want to say too much about it. But what goes on between a father and a son, which is usually such a private matter, that these two men are so secure in themselves, that they are able to be honest, be honest with each other, and be honest with me, as a director, is -- is just remarkable.

K. DOUGLAS: Lee would very often let the camera roll, and Michael and I ignored the camera and started talking, arguing.

KING: It comes through.

K. DOUGLAS: And I was telling him the injustices that he made against me.

KING: That you've forgotten. It's over, right? It is a great part of the documentary.

And by the way, throughout this program tonight we are showing you clips from that film and others in both of these extraordinary careers.

When we come back, we'll talk about "Spartacus." We'll talk about it, because it was the bravery of Kirk, and what Michael thought and Lee Grant thought of him doing a movie written by a man accused of being a communist, Howard Fast, directed by a man listed in red channels, Dalton Trumbo, Kirk put his name on the screen. And independently made an incredible film that had Olivier, Peter Ustinov, Tony Curtis and of course Kirk himself.

We'll be right back.


K. DOUGLAS: What are you doing? Do you realize how long it takes to die on a cross?

TONY CURTIS, ACTOR: I don't care.

K. DOUGLAS: Forgive me, Antoninus.










CROWD: I'm Spartacus.


KING: The documentary is "A Father, a Son: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." The director with us from New York is Lee Grant.

The two stars of the documentary are Michael Douglas. He's in Washington, D.C. And Kirk Douglas, here in Los Angeles.

All right, tell me the story of "Spartacus." The novel by Howard Fast. How you came to get it. What happened?

K. DOUGLAS: Well, it's a long story. But to me, it was like having the story of Jesus Christ. Spartacus was a slave who sacrificed his life for other people. And we were lucky to have such a good cast.

KING: But it took guts to make it with a book that people thought was written by a communist. In fact, some people thought "Spartacus" was a communist epic in a sense.

K. DOUGLAS: Yes. Yes.

KING: And then to take a...

K. DOUGLAS: Well at that time, Larry, the claim that was terrible.

KING: '60s.

K. DOUGLAS: The McCarthy era. People were frightened and then, McCarthy was blackballing all of these writers with the liberal views and soon, they all fell in line. And they wouldn't hire these writers.

KING: They took assumed names, some of them, right?

K. DOUGLAS: Of course. And when Dalton Trumbo was working with us at the beginning, he had an assumed name and it bothered me. I said, "Why do they do that?" They wouldn't allow to go in the movie, but the hypocrisy was that the studio would look the other way if the blacklisted writer a script and that made me mad one day and we were discussing who should...

KING: Whose names should go on it?

K. DOUGLAS: Yes and my director was...

KING: Stanley Kubrick.

K. DOUGLAS: And he said, "use my name." I said, "Stanley, wouldn't you feel awful if they degraded (INAUDIBLE)?" He said, "Well, I will help you out.: And that made me mad and the next day I said, "Dalton Trumbo will be on the screen."

KING: Lee, weren't you proud of that?

GRANT: I am proud of Kirk. I think he drums to his own drummer in every way and it's -- of course, I mean, to take a chance like that, could have blacklisted Kirk very easily.

A lot of very, very big stars were going down and not being seen or heard from again. So, Kirk took a huge chance in putting a blacklisted writer's name on the screen and somehow or other, he survived it, like he survives everything.

KING: And now Michael, people watch it and they wonder, "what political overtones? -- what?" Right? I mean, it was a heck of a grand film.

M. DOUGLAS: It was -- yes and the fact to make a risk with a picture that turned out to be as great as that movie was, was a milestone. But I agree with Lee, I'm a big fan of dad's.

K. DOUGLAS: Now you say it.

KING: Just not in casting, that's all.

M. DOUGLAS: Now. Yes. Sure. But I am. He's accomplished so much, and has had so many chapters in his life and that certainly was one of the highlights.

KING: Michael, I'll ask you to do this to each other: Kirk Douglas is a great actor, why? Because he faces a difficult thing. His face is so imposing. His chin is so imposing. Isn't it hard for him to be someone else?

M. DOUGLAS: Well, I also think at a certain time in the industry, one created a persona and dad has always had a dynamic persona and it was difficult to get out and try different parts. They would really try to typecast you.

It's one of the things I've learned and tried to make an effort to try to do different types of roles, but there is no way to beat that dynamic presence that he had. He certainly did a lot of other roles and I think both dad and my favorite part that he's done, is a picture called "Lonely Are the Brave," which is a contrary cowboy story where he played a different type of character.

K. DOUGLAS: I was nice guy.

M. DOUGLAS: But I think a lot of it had to do -- he was a nice guy.


M. DOUGLAS: But a lot of it has to do with, I think, with the industry at that particular time and how they wanted to see you.

KING: Why is Michael a great actor?

K. DOUGLAS: I tell you why: I know he's a great actor, because when I watch him in the movie, I forget that he's my son.

KING: The ultimate compliment.


KING: So, when you saw "Wall Street" you hated him, too, right?

K. DOUGLAS: I think Michael was is guilty of all the corruption with the CEOs, because he was so believable with his "greed is good." Well I think that was terrible.

KING: Greed is good. That will be remembered forever. Did you like that line when you read it, Michael?

M. DOUGLAS: I did. I had no idea that it was going to take on this life of its own, but it was a well-written and a great part. It was a really good part.

KING: Let's talk, when we come back, about the other brothers. We're with Michael Douglas, Kirk Douglas and Lee Grant. Don't go away.


M. DOUGLAS: Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms, greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save the Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.




I can remember sitting in the bathtub, crying my eyes out. Mike's pounding at the door, saying, "Dad had a baby." You know -- "he had, you know, Peter." And I just remember crying and crying and crying.

A. DOUGLAS: Joel said, "he's not going to want us anymore." And I said, "Of course he is. You're always his children. He's always going to want you." He said, "No, not if he has other children," and I said, "Yes he will, even if he has other children, he'll still want you."


KING: The documentary will air Saturday night. It will air many times. HBO repeats documentaries often, but its premiere will be Saturday. "A Father, A Son, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood".

How difficult, Michael, was it for your brothers to grow up under the Douglas manor.

M. DOUGLAS: Well, it's hard to be in their skins. I think they've been wonderfully generous with my success and supported that. I think, you know, dad was very immersed in the career at a time when he used to do three, sometimes four movies a year. I think, dad, last count, what have you done, 88 films -- 88 films? I think I've gotten maybe 30. So, it was a different time, Larry.

K. DOUGLAS: You're just starting.

M. DOUGLAS: I'm just starting.

K. DOUGLAS: So, I...

KING: But of the other boys, it had to be tough. I mean, you were an actor. It was tough on you, but they were also Kirk Douglas' kids.

M. DOUGLAS: Yes, I think it was. I mean we were separated, my brother Joel and I, in terms of growing up back east, Peter and Eric, who lived -- who were Ann and dad's two sons, were in California. And they were much more immersed at the height of a lot of dad's success in his career.

I do remember one moment talking about different films, and lust for life, when dad played Vincent Van Gogh, the painter. And Joel and I saw the picture, and we talked about what a good actor, performances, and literally forgot that it was dad. And when he cut his ear off in his picture, Joel literally went running out of the theater, convinced that he'd actually had cut his ear off.

So, I think it was, you know, tough for the kids. But it's also this is your life. You know, it's not as if you have a lot of choices. People got a lot more difficult situations than all of us had.

K. DOUGLAS: Right.

M. DOUGLAS: I mean dad has an immigrant story you know that goes from rags to riches. Our arc, which is more about kids with a silver spoon in their mouth, is a different type of story. And how do you kind of create your own identity in that environment.

K. DOUGLAS: You know, Michael, once I said to my son Peter, Peter, you are sick with two (ph). I wanted to by sick with two (ph). He had the curly hair. I wanted to have the curly hair. You are very good looking. Why didn't you want to be an actor? And he said, and compete with you and Michael? Not a chance. And he became a producer.

KING: How did you deal with the tragedy of Eric?

K. DOUGLAS: Well, Eric was such a tragedy because he wanted to be an actor. And so he was in a sense always competing with his brother Michael, and his father. You know, when something like that happens, your son dies from an overdose, you try to say, what could I have done differently?

KING: Sure.

K. DOUGLAS: You know? And it's tragic. It's tragic. It happened. And you have to deal with it.

KING: How did you deal with it, Michael?

M. DOUGLAS: Well, I really felt for Eric. I understand the difficulty is that, you know, half of your genes are your father's. So there's going to be a lot of character, you know, behavioral characteristics and everything that are going to remind people of your dad.

Well, when you're an actor and you try to create your own identity, that's very difficult to do. And you know, I knew Eric had been struggling for a long time, and hopefully he's found some peace.

I know the efforts that Ann and my father had gone through as other parents have struggling with this disease. And it's a rough one. But, I think there was unfortunately a sense that it was a precursor, that it was going to happen.

KING: Foreboding?

M. DOUGLAS: It was foreboding. And it was concerned. And sort of prepared myself for the fact that it might happen some day.

KING: Lee, was it hard to deal with in the documentary?

GRANT: You know something, Larry, I don't think that I'm in a position to even comment on it. This is something that happened. Eric overdosed while we were doing the documentary. And that was a total immersion in tragedy for Ann and for Kirk. And they commented on it to the extent that they wanted to. And I think that's all that I could really say.

KING: Did you think of stopping it, Kirk?

K. DOUGLAS: You know, for the time Eric tried to be a stand-up comic, and in one of his acts he had three pictures of Michael, me, and him, Eric. So he was -- you see pictures, and pointed to me, Oscar winner, pointed to Michael, Oscar winner. Pointed to himself, Oscar winner. You know, people laugh, but I thought it was so sad.

KING: Oh, boy was it sad.

Let me get a break. And we'll be back with more. This extraordinary documentary airs Saturday. Don't go away.


K. DOUGLAS: My youngest son, Eric. Eric has had lots of problems: with alcohol, with dope. And it's too bad, because he's so smart. And he can be so charming. But I learned a lot from him. Maybe I learned more than he learned. Because I learned that eventually everybody has to solve their problems. And he has my love and support. What else can I say?




KENNY SOLMES, TELEVISION WRITER: Michael was such an adventurer. He said you want to go to Catalina? One day. And we said well yes, but it's such a long schlepp. He said, no we'll fly there. I said fly? He said, yes I just got my pilot's license. I said what?

Next thing we know we're in this tiny little plane. We're all scared to death. Michael takes his hands off the steering wheel. He's doing bits, look mom, no hands. The next thing we know we're in Catalina.

He had a little devilish quality about him. He was always fun. He was the first to have the new car. He was the first to have a pilot's license. Who knew you could get a pilot's license? He was the Howard Hughes of our day.


KING: We're back with Kirk Douglas and Michael Douglas and Lee Grant.

What are you filming in Washington, Michael?

M. DOUGLAS: I'm producing and acting in a movie called "The Sentinel" with Kiefer Sutherland, Kim Basinger and Eva Longoria.

KING: Was that a book?

M. DOUGLAS: A thriller. It was a book originally. A political thriller about Secret Service.

KING: You like doing those kind of movies?

M. DOUGLAS: Seems to be what I do most of yes. You know, all the pictures I do are contemporary. I've sort of discovered I haven't really been into science fiction or period pictures. And so, in that vein, psychological thrillers play a big part.

KING: You do comedy pretty good, too. Your bar mitzvah. You got bar mitzvahed again. I had the honor of attending. Your daughter-in-law, Catherine Zeta-Jones who I played in a movie with. We had a Hollywood -- that was a great -- I had a great time in that movie. She's a great --she's in this, right Micheal?

M. DOUGLAS: Yes. And she's in nine months pregnant. She asked -- she asked Lee if she could put a little bar underneath saying "Nine months pregnant."

KING: What is she like as a daughter-in-law?

K. DOUGLAS: Listen, she is marvelous. When I had my knee, both knees done, people said, "why did they do that?" I said, "you know when you get older you want to change your goals and I want to audition for Dance With the Stars, because when I was in college, I was a very good dancer."


K. DOUGLAS: Of course that was 75 years ago. When I said -- and I asked Michael to help me. I said, "Michael, how about Catherine being my partner and we would do the dance she did in "Zorro.""

KING: Oh, yes, "Zorro." Yes, you could be "Zorro."

K. DOUGLAS: Yes, I think so.

KING: You could have played Zorro.

K. DOUGLAS: I could have played it.

KING: You could have been a contender.

K. DOUGLAS: Exactly.

M. DOUGLAS: I have to say, when Catherine comes over to visit dad, he becomes a rascal again.

KING: You're kidding?

M. DOUGLAS: Watch that libido go right up. He pulls out every move he's got. He does. He is something.

KING: Lee Grant, did you sense that?

GRANT: Well, yes. I mean, Kirk is -- he's a man and he loves it. And he loves women and it's a very good feeling to be around a man who thinks women are juicy.

K. DOUGLAS: Lee, I didn't come here to become a dirty old man.

KING: You're not. He also a minch (ph). We've got one segment left. When we come back, we'll touch on a big event coming, honoring them.

And we'll ask how Michael and Lee feel -- and certainly how Kirk feels about aging. What is that like for someone, as you approach the later years of your life? Do you think about that a lot?

We'll come right back with more of LARRY KING LIVE. The documentary airs Saturday. Don't go away.



K. DOUGLAS: I am 13 years old again and I promise -- I promise to be a good boy.

M. DOUGLAS: You don't think of a stroke as being something that -- it's a blessing, but it was a blessing in disguise for him. It has brought him to peace and it's just a joy to see somebody kind of finish his last act in such a graceful way.




K. DOUGLAS: To me, it seemed like yesterday we met in gay Paris. Now, Paris is sad, but I am glad you chose to marry me and if you ever leave me, I will follow you and cry. Please darling stay with me until the day I die. Please, please, stay with me.


KING: By the way, I want to mention this, Anne and Kirk Douglas will be honored by the Heart Foundation at a gala event October 11th in Los Angeles. They will both receive the Steven S. Cohen Humanitarian Award. Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones are co-chairing the event.

I'll be there. The proceeds go to support the research of my cardiologist, the cardiologist of so many, Dr. P.k. Shaw, director of the division of cardiology at Cedar-Sinai. That will be a major event. Michael and Catherine co-chairing and you're going to be honored.


KING: Nice. You deserve it.

K. DOUGLAS: I am very proud of my wife, because she really is so proud to become an American citizen, that she still has to always pay back and do something for other people.

KING: Yes. I know. She's a great lady. Michael, do you think about your father's aging? M. DOUGLAS: Sure. I do, but, I look in awe at his continued growth. A lot of people get to retirement age and you kind of watch them, the arc turn like the withering leaves off a tree. Dad has continued to grow.

Besides his 88 films, he's done -- written ten novels, he has rediscovered his Judeo roots, studied with the rabbi, has had his bar mitzvah, has found a spiritual peace that is quite extraordinary.

So for me, he has been inspirational and part of doing this documentary was to get a sense of immortality where you see a continuity of generations from one to the other.

And my son Cameron, who's also beginning as an actor in this third generation, I know how proud it makes my father to see the continuation of us in a career and the fact that we still all get along pretty well, too.

KING: You have such knockas (ph), don't you?

K. DOUGLAS: Yes. I wanted to tell you, my grandson Cameron, Michael's son, once said to his father, "Dad, what are you?" And he said "Well I'm half Jewish." What am i? Well, then he said, "What am I?" Michael said, "You're a quarter Jewish." Cameron thought, he said, "Dad I want to be half Jewish."

KING: Do you think about aging, Kirk? I mean you were in a helicopter crash. You've had a stroke. You've got two new knees. You face facts. You're a realist.

K. DOUGLAS: But I think God is playing jokes with me. You know, ten years ago when I had my stroke, I had to learn to talk again. Now, I have a new knee and I learn to walk again.

You know, but I think Michael hit it, as long as you're alive, you must be growing. You must be getting better and I think it ends up, you must think more of others than yourself.

KING: And Lee I want to salute you on a great job. You're a very talented, extraordinary lady. You outdid yourself with this one.

GRANT: Thank you.

KING: Lee Grant, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas. You're going to see a great documentary on HBO. That's one of sister channels. "A Father, A Son, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood." It will air Saturday night and be repeated on HBO. Don't forget that big dinner in October, as well.

We thank the Douglases and we thank Lee Grant. And we turn it over now, to "NEWSNIGHT," with Aaron Brown.

Good night.


© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines