Eric Douglas, youngest son of actor Kirk Douglas and half-brother of actor-producer Michael Douglas, was found dead Tuesday July 6 in a Manhattan apartment building. He was 46.
Police said there was no sign of foul play and the cause of death will be determined by autopsy, but Douglas had struggled with drug and alcohol problems for years.
Eric Anthony Douglas studied at the Royal Acad of Dramatic Arts, then had a short career as a thesp and standup comic. Most of his film roles, including parts in “The Golden Child” and “The Flamingo Kid,” came in the 1980s. He appeared opposite his father in an episode of HBO skein “Tales From the Crypt”; the elder Douglas earned an Emmy nom for the perf. The son’s last film role was in “Delta Force 3: The Killing Game” in 1991.
Thereafter he tried his hand at standup comedy but was often waylaid by his addictions, which put him in jail and in rehab. He spent a month in jail after an incident on a 1996 cross-country flight in which he became abusive to the flight crew. He pled guilty in 1997 to cocaine possession.
Last year, Daily Variety‘s Army Archerd reported the younger Douglas coped with “severe disabilities” and was unable to work as the result of an apparent prescription-drug-induced cardiac arrest in 1999. He spent four days in a coma and the episode permanently affected his speech and gait. He later sued his physician, whom he accused of prescribing hundreds of tranquilizer tablets in the weeks leading up to the overdose.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Douglas admitted that he’d had problems with the pressures of being from a famous family. “I used to feel I had to compare myself to them,” he said.
Besides his father and half-brother Michael, he is survived by his mother, Anne Buydens Douglas; brother Peter and half-brother Joel, both producers; half-nephew Cameron, a thesp; and his half sister-in-law, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.