On this day in 1987, the thriller Fatal Attraction, about a married man who has a fling with a woman who then becomes obsessed with him and stalks his family, premieres in U.S. theaters. Fatal Attraction, which starred Michael Douglas and Glenn Close, was a box-office hit and garnered six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (Adrian Lyne) and Best Actress (Close). The film featured a now-famous scene in which Alex (Close), a single book editor, boils the pet bunny belonging to the young daughter of Douglas’ character, a New York City attorney named Dan, after Dan ends their affair. Fatal Attraction became a bona fide cultural phenomenon and stirred a debate among audiences about infidelity.
Michael Douglas, born on September 25, 1944, is the son of Kirk Douglas, who became an international film star during the 1950s and 1960s. The younger Douglas rose to fame in the 1970s as a star of the television series The Streets of San Francisco. He scored his first major movie success behind the camera, as the producer of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), which starred Jack Nicholson as an inmate at a mental institution. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director (Milos Forman). Among Douglas’ other movie credits in the 1970s was The China Syndrome, which he produced and co-starred in with Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon. In the 1980s, Douglas was featured in a string of blockbusters, including Romancing the Stone (1984), co-starring Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito (Douglas’ college roommate at the University of California at Santa Barbara) and its 1985 sequel Jewel of the Nile. Shortly after the success of Fatal Attraction, Douglas had another huge hit with 1987’s Wall Street, directed by Oliver Stone. Douglas portrayed the corporate raider Gordon Gekko, whose motto was “Greed is good.” The actor’s other notable film credits include Basic Instinct (1992), The American President (1995) and Traffic (2000).
Before her starring role in Fatal Attraction, Glenn Close–born on March 13, 1957–appeared in such well-received films as The World According to Garp (1982), The Big Chill (1983) and The Natural (1984), earning a Best Supporting Actress nomination for each film, Among Close’s other movie credits are Dangerous Liaisons (1988), for which she received another Best Actress Oscar nod; Reversal of Fortune (1990) and 101 Dalmatians (1996).
Director Adrian Lyne’s pre- and post-Fatal Attraction credits include a number of similarly provocative films, including Flashdance (1983), starring Jennifer Beals; 9 ½ Weeks (1986), with Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke; Indecent Proposal (1993), with Robert Redford, Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson; Lolita (1997), with Jeremy Irons, Melanie Griffith and Dominique Swain; and Unfaithful (2002), with Diane Lane and Richard Gere.