Michael Douglas has a knack for unforgettable roles — here are 7 of the best – Daily Democrat

He’s been the object of desire, played Liberace, portrayed an acting coach (Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method”) and even starred as an American president who was falling in love (1995’s “The American President,” opposite Annette Bening).

Michael Douglas has a knack for playing famous people, or people who become famous (at least in Hollywood lore) after he has played them. Here are some of his most memorable characters.

Inspector Steve Keller (“The Streets of San Francisco”): The long-running TV series (1972-1977) paired up a hot-shot investigator (Douglas) with a police veteran (Karl Malden) and the result was one of the better odd-couple cop series out there. Where to see it: Available to stream on Pluto TV.

Adventurer Jack T. Colton (“Romancing the Stone,” “The Jewel of the Nile”): The romantic sparks do fly on screen in this 1984 comedy/drama and its 1985 sequel about a romance novelist (Kathleen Turner) trying to save a kidnapped relative with the help of an exotic bird smuggler (Douglas). The studio had zero confidence in “Stone’s” box-office chances prior to its release, and then it turned into a big hit. Where to see them: Available on YouTube and several other streaming/rental platforms.

Dan Gallagher (“Fatal Attraction,” 1987): In Adrian Lyne’s hot and steamy thriller, a one-night stand between a married man (Douglas) and an unbalanced book editor (Glenn Close) turns into a lethal obsession that even claims the life of a bunny! It was a talker, and fueled numerous imitators. Where to see it: Available to stream or rent on numerous platforms.

Gordon Gekko (“Wall Street,” 1987; “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” 2010): With his slicked back hair, chic and expensive suits and wicked words of get-rich-at-any-cost wisdom, the king of greed ruled over both of Oliver Stone’s over-the-top portrayals of nefarious Wall Street/corporate raiders. Douglas’ Oscar-winning performance in the original is legendary, and his presence props up the so-so sequel. Where to see them: Both are available for streaming and rental on numerous platforms.

Liberace (“Behind the Candelabra,” 2013): Douglas channeled the piano-playing gay icon so well that he took home an Emmy and other awards for his performance in Steven Soderbergh’s highly praised HBO film. Matt Damon co-starred as Liberace’s younger lover Scott Thorson. Where to see it: Available on Max and several other streaming/rental platforms.

Detective Nick Curran (“Basic Instinct,” 1992): Douglas rarely shies away from tricky or risky material (see: 1994’s controversial sexual harassment thriller “Disclosure” and 1993’s angry-white-man “Falling Down”), but Paul Verhoeven’s tawdry erotic mystery thriller set in the Bay Area finds Douglas playing a not-so-virtuous cop who becomes the toy of a best-selling novelist (Sharon Stone) with ice pick issues. Where to see it: Available to stream or rent on numerous platforms.

Richard Adams (“The China Syndrome,” 1979): After seeing James Bridges’ advocacy disaster/thriller about a near-cataclysmic nuclear plant mishap, many experienced an emotional meltdown themselves. The film prompted viewers to  advocate decommissioning nuclear power plants or ensure they would be safe. Douglas plays a TV cameraman, and he all but acquiesced the screen to Jane Fonda’s intrepid TV reporter and Jack Lemmon’s desperate whistleblower. It came out less than two weeks before the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania. Where to see it: Available to rent on YouTube and several other streaming platforms.

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