Michael Douglas was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey and grew up in New York City and Wallingford, Connecticut.
Douglas is unaffiliated religiously. His father, famous actor Kirk Douglas, was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, and his mother was a member of the Church of England, so Douglas is a bit of a monotheistic mutt.
He seems relatively non-religious, (though he has financially supported the Jewish National Fund ) except for when the story broke that he had throat cancer and the worldwide support started rolling in, he said:
For somebody who has no formal religious education—my father’s Jewish, my mother’s the Church of England—the amount of prayers and support that I received worldwide, I think, truly did have an influence and help in what happened. I was overwhelmed by the love.
So at least some part of him believes–to some degree–that supernatural things like prayers might have a positive effect in the real world.
First off, Douglas is a Democrat–for the most part. His political contributions put even the most politicized celebrities to shame–totaling over $635,000. And only a little over $3,000 went to Republicans, one of which was John McCain in 2000. McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, had an unsuccessful bid in 2000 as well.
But that’s all the usual, boring presidential candidate stuff. Really, Douglas’ political passion revolves around weapons. It all started in 1980, when John Lennon was shot dead on a New York City street. Douglas said:
I was there the night John Lennon was shot, three blocks away. It left a lasting impression on me. It motivated me to do whatever I could to lobby for small-arms control.
And lobby Douglas has–even as far up as the UN, where he has served as a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 1998 and lobbies not only for awareness and regulation of small arms but also against the big guns–nuclear warheads. Douglas is active in non-proliferation efforts there as well.
Douglas revels in his dual role as celebrity and Messenger of Peace. He said:
I’m in an enviable position . . . When I talk about movies I can talk about messages of peace, and infuse them into the entertainment pages.
Gun control is a sticky issue in the U.S. and generally relegated to the liberal side of the aisle. So, in terms of putting Douglas in a box, it would have to be labeled liberal Democrat. Something tells me he wouldn’t mind the label.