The death of John Lennon in December 1980 became one of the most significant celebrity deaths in modern history, attracting considerable interest due to its controversy and shocking nature. Shot dead outside his Manhattan apartment, The Dakota, the death of the iconic Beatles star sent shockwaves around the world, with the widowed Yoko Ono stating on the day of his passing: “There is no funeral for John”, ending it with the words, “John loved and prayed for the human race. Please do the same for him”.
Walking home with Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner on the very same day, Michael Douglas found himself caught up in the fracas of John Lennon’s death, subsequently inspiring the actor to lobby for change. As he reported to Female First: “We were walking home one night along Central Park West on December 8, and we passed the Dakota”.
Douglas later added, “There was all this fracas and it was the night that John Lennon got shot. Right after that, Jann and I were involved with starting an organisation called CeaseFire,” whilst in conversation with New York Daily News. Continuing, the actor elaborated as to why such an event inspired him to encourage change, noting, “It’s just reached such insane proportions that you hope we can find some simple areas of agreement to move on”.
“There’s just no other country that comes close. No other civilised country comes close to gun tragedies that this country has. I pray every time and continue to work with all the organisations, not to take away their guns, just to do simple things,” he added, highlighting just how unique America’s gun laws are.
“I don’t think the public has to have armour-piercing bullets, and I think we can do something about automatic weapons. Have it a little more controlled,” Douglas concluded. In 2006, he even took his campaign to a UN conference on the trade of illicit arms, where he stated, “While owning guns is a legal right in most countries, the illegal trade in guns continues to fuel conflict, crime and violence”.
A passionate advocate of nuclear disarmament, the actor whose credits include Basic Instinct, Wall Street, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Marvel’s Ant-Man, is a supporter of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and also sits on the board of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
Whilst Michael Douglas may be well known for his on-screen Hollywood performances, his work behind the scenes, supporting charities and crucial causes is far more noteworthy.
Take a look at the tribute to John Lennon that Michael Douglas hosted on the Disney Channel in 1992, below.