Entertainment News

  • 15 January 2014, 13:25

Michael Douglas Collects Unicef Peace Award

Michael Douglas has picked up another shiny award - but not one for an acting role this time.

The Oscar-winner was recognised by Unicef for his nuclear disarmament campaign work, a cause he said was not "touchy-feely" with celebrities and their fans.

The actor has been a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 1998 and started looking at the nuclear issue in the 1979 film The China Syndrome.

Speaking before he picked up the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Peace Award, Douglas said: "I did a movie many, many years ago called The China Syndrome about a nuclear power plant having a meltdown, which gave me some sense of what was going on.

"I also went to visit, my father comes from Belarus, which is downwind from Chernobyl, and that's some of the earlier ways I became involved. I got involved with the United Nations as a Messenger of Peace."

It was the 69-year-old actor's second honour this week after winning a Golden Globe on Sunday for his acclaimed portrayal of the exuberant pianist Liberace in Behind The Candelabra.

His co-star in the film, Matt Damon, presented him with the award.

Douglas won an Oscar in 1988 for his role as ruthless corporate raider Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.

The recognition for his work both on and off screen comes in the wake of his successful treatment for stage IV cancer that made him so weak, as he said in his acceptance speech on Sunday that the Liberace biopic had to be put on hold.

He decided long ago that to deal with the overwhelming demand for him to show up for charity, that he would principally work with the elimination of nuclear weapons and small arms at the UN.

British actor Michael Sheen was also at the event in Beverly Hills and spoke about his experiences during a recent trip to Chad in West Africa with Unicef.

"I saw tiny little children scrambling around for tiny little bits, one grain of rice on the ground, and I said to someone 'When do they get food? How regularly does the food come around?' And they said 'There is no food, there's no food. These people aren't eating, they have no food'.

"And so, eventually someone came up to me and said 'Well we're going for lunch now, it's time to go for lunch'.

"That's a strange situation to be in where you're watching people who may well be dead for lack of food and off you go to have lunch. And so it made me want to see how quickly I could get money from my bank account into the place."

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