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Zeta-Jones family 'devastated' by death

Jul 8 2004

Robin Turner, The Western Mail


INVESTIGATIONS will continue today into the death of Catherine Zeta-Jones's troubled brother-in-law Eric Douglas.

The 42-year-old former actor and stand-up comedian was the youngest son of screen legend Kirk Douglas.

Michael Douglas, 59, and his wife Zeta-Jones were yesterday said to be "devastated" by the news.

Eric Douglas was found lying face down in the living room of his apartment at Kip's Bay in Manhattan, New York, early on Tuesday.

A New York Police Department spokesman said yesterday an autopsy was being carried out but it was suspected Mr Douglas may have suffered cardiac arrest.

He had a history of drug abuse and

had been arrested several times for possessing a variety of illegal drugs including crack cocaine.

In 1996 he let his dog out of its cage on a Continental flight from Los Angeles to Newark in New Jersey. When a stewardess tried to intervene he pelted her with blankets from an overhead compartment.

The following year in 1997 he smashed his vehicle into parked cars and tried to flee the scene but was restrained by witnesses.

He spent most of his career in the entertainment industry in small roles in television movies and box office flops.

The most significant role he had in a big screen film was in Delta Force 111: The Killing Game but it was panned by critics.

The fact his father was one of the world's most famous actors and elder brother Michael was one of America's highest-paid stars highlighted his lack of success.

In an interview he admitted he was envious of Michael when the Fatal Attraction star married Swansea-born Zeta-Jones.

He praised her as "sweet, charming and considerate" and added, "what I envy most is that Michael just let it happen. He did not rush into it".

While the spotlight turned on Michael, whose career blossomed after he won an Oscar for his role as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street in 1987, and on Zeta-Jones who picked up an Oscar for her work in Chicago, Eric Douglas's career appeared to be going nowhere.

In an interview in an American magazine in 2000, he admitted that the previous year he had spent eight days in a coma owing to drug problems.

The following year he accidentally overdosed on anti-anxiety pills.

Police in New York said yesterday that anti-depressant pills were found in Eric Douglas's apartment but it was not know yet if these contributed to his death.

Family spokesman Allen Burry said yesterday the Douglases were all "very shocked and saddened" by Eric's death.

In addition to his father and Michael, Eric Douglas is survived by his mother Anne Douglas and brothers Peter and Joel Douglas.


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