It was a sight for sore eyes for fans of venerable actor Michael Douglas: The 66-year-old, reported to be at death's door by the more salacious celebrity magazines, was pictured out for a Thanksgiving holiday trip to Florida with his family smiling away and looking relatively robust.
And it's far from wishful thinking that his health is rallying. One month removed from radiation and chemotherapy treatments to combat his stage IV throat cancer, the multiple Oscar winner believes he's on the mend.
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"He's very optimistic," Stephen Galloway, a reporter who interviewed Douglas for the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter, told NBC. "He said the odds are 80 percent there will be a complete recovery. He sounds great, he looks great; everyone around him is very, very optimistic."
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That the actor is looking vital again is something of a revelation for his concerned family and legion of fans. Douglas, who revealed his condition three months ago, underwent three intensive chemotherapy sessions and another seven weeks of daily radiation treatment, which he told Galloway felt like he "had been through a hellhole."
While Douglas had shied away from public appearances of late, his father, legendary actor Kirk Douglas, revealed his son's improving health, telling “Entertainment Tonight” that Michael had regained his appetite and was feeling feisty again.
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That certainly was in evidence during Douglas' Florida trip with his actress-wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and their children, 10-year-old son Dylan and 7-year-old daughter Carys. The Douglases visited the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" attraction at Universal Resorts in Orlando, and also hopped over to Disney World to visit the Epcot Center and take a thrill ride on a roller coaster.
Galloway told NBC News that Douglas credited his family for helping carry him through his dark days. "He said that his wife has been wonderful, very caring, [and] the kids have been going to radiation treatments with him," Galloway said.
While Douglas certainly isn't out of the woods yet with his throat cancer, he's continued plowing ahead with his acting career. He's gaining Oscar talk for his roles in this year's films "Solitary Man" and "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," and he's preparing to tackle another role, portraying Liberace in a biopic on the entertainer's life.
Meanwhile, Douglas has a wait-and-see attitude toward his cancer — scan results of how he responded to his treatments will come in January.
But his family outing over Thanksgiving proved that reports of his imminent demise were exaggerated. "It's been an extraordinary year, the highest and lowest for him," Galloway said. "But now he's on his way up."
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