Michael Douglas, 66, has a reason to look forward to the new year.

After undergoing intense treatment for Stage IV throat cancer last year, the Oscar-winner feels hopeful that he's conquered the disease. "The odds are, with the tumor gone and what I know about this particular type of cancer, that I've got it beat," he told Matt Lauer on Tuesday's Today Show in Part One of a two-part interview.

Douglas is mostly grateful for the new appreciation his illness and treatment, which involved both chemotherapy and radiation, has given him for his family. "There's a new depth," he said. "You know, maybe it has to do because of everything life threatening. So all of a sudden the affection from my family, my friends, and from my fans hit me at a much deeper level than I would have ever imagined before."

The star was up-front with his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, 41, and young children, Dillon, 10, and Carys, 7, about his illness. "I told them about the cancer, you know, right from the beginning because I was going to be in- and out-patient. "But I told them it was hopeful." He also had a chance to spend some time with his father, actor Kirk Douglas, 94. "He came back [to New York] for 10 days and came up to the apartment every day to see me," said Douglas of his dad. "I was gaunt, you know? So I think he was even concerned."


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Now that Douglas has had time to process the good news, he's already looking forward to his next project – playing pianist Liberace opposite Matt Damon. The soon-to-be costars are already busy getting into character, sending flirtatious text messages back and forth, like "What kind of chapstick are you using this week sweetie?" Douglas told Access Hollywood.

Douglas is nominated for a Golden Globe award for his role in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, and plans to attend the awards ceremony this Sunday, January 16. "It will be nice to get out. I haven't been out for awhile," he said. —KIMBERLY STEELE

Watch the interview here:

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