Douglas pleads for drug charge son
Michael Douglas has said his family's fame and history of substance abuse helped drive his troubled son into drug addiction and crime, as he asked a judge to show leniency.
"I love my son, but I'm not blind to his actions. ... I don't want to see him break," the actor told the federal judge in a handwritten letter on the eve of Cameron Douglas' sentencing in a drug case.
The five-page letter, penned in an elegant script, joins others written to the court by high-profile supporters, including grandfather Kirk Douglas, stepmother Catherine Zeta-Jones and NBA executive Pat Riley.
Cameron Douglas, arrested in July at a Manhattan hotel, admitted in January that he dealt methamphetamine and cocaine. He pleaded guilty to a drug charge that carries a mandatory 10 years in prison, but his lawyers and supporters are arguing for a shorter sentence.
In his letter, Douglas paints his son's problems as the product, in part, of a privileged but difficult childhood, a family legacy of drug and alcohol problems and the long shadow cast by a family of screen icons.
"I have some idea of the pressure of finding your own identity with a famous father," wrote Douglas, who starred in Wall Street and whose father Kirk starred in Spartacus. "I'm not sure I can comprehend it with two generations to deal with."
As the only child of a "bad marriage" between an often absent Michael Douglas and his first wife, Diandra Douglas, "Cameron found his family in the gang mentality," his father wrote.
He said his son developed a substance abuse problem at 13, skipped school and balked at the idea of rehab unless it was legally required.
Cameron Douglas eventually found some success as a club DJ and got some movie roles, including one in 2003's It Runs In The Family, starring his father and grandfather. But he spiraled into a heroin addiction and, according to his lawyers, began dealing methamphetamines in 2006 to support himself after being cut off from the family fortune because he wouldn't get treatment.
Douglas, who has said he was treated for alcohol abuse in the 1990s and whose half-brother, Eric Douglas, died in 2004 of an accidental overdose, said that in his weekly visits to see Cameron at a Manhattan jail he "gets to witness the wonderful young man he can be".