In Candid Interview, David Letterman and Cancer-Stricken Michael Douglas Hug It Out

Movie Talk
Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas is battling stage-four throat cancer with a rigorous prescription of chemotherapy and radiation. Yet, there he was on television Tuesday night, talking to David Letterman about his disease in a very candid interview on "Late Night."

Appearing gaunt, but remarkably healthy under the circumstances (his silver, tousled hair added a lively element of style to his appearance), the 65-year-old movie star was upbeat, honest, and good-spirited during his "Late Show" appearance. Letterman told Douglas he'd "never looked better."

Douglas, who announced his diagnosis on August 16 (which, he added, was also when he found out he'd be on Letterman's show), said he's just completed his first week of chemo and radiation. The odds are in his favor with an 80 percent or better chance of recovery. More positive news: His cancer remains above the neck.

Though he admitted the treatment "knocks you out real hard," Douglas said "nothing's gone down and the expectations are good." He added, half-jokingly, "It is gonna cut into the foreign promotional tour for ["Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"] to say the least."

Meanwhile, his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones is fuming at doctors for not diagnosing it months ago.

"It makes me furious they didn't detect it earlier," she told People magazine in its latest issue. "He sought every option and nothing was found."

Photos: Michael Douglas through the years

Zeta-Jones, who has two children with Douglas, said: "The hardest part is seeing his fatigue, because Michael is never tired."

Douglas, who will soon be seen in the hotly anticipated sequel to "Wall Street," told Letterman that warning signs began in early summer when his throat became sore. "I actually went through a litany of doctors and tests. They didn't really find anything," he said.

He went on summer vacation to Spain and Russia with Zeta-Jones and their son Dylan, 10, and daughter Carys, 7. When he returned, doctors biopsied a tumor at the base of his throat and, indeed, found stage-four cancer. Now, "they gotta go at it," Douglas said.

At the end of the interview, Letterman said, "I feel like I wanna do something for ya. Can I do something for ya?" And Douglas said: "You can give me a hug."

The two celebrities embraced in a long, warm hug.

Watch Michael Douglas in the trailer for "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps":