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Michael Douglas in Post-Cancer Outing

Michael Douglas made his first public appearance last night since his surprising announcement that the tumor that threatened to kill him is now gone.

Just seven months after being diagnosed with stage four throat cancer, Douglas is stepping back into the spotlight -- this time, seemingly cancer free.

On "The Early Show," CBS News correspondent Betty Nguyen reported Douglas and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, made their first public appearance since the good news broke just days ago, attending the Palm Springs Film Festival, where he was presented with its Icon Award.

Photos: Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas Opens Up

At the festival he said, "It's about time."

Douglas first spoke about his cancer last August on the "Late Show with David Letterman."

Thursday night, his voice was strained and scratchy after months of intense treatment. The 66-year-old Academy Award winner acknowledged his good fortune.

He said, "It's been a cycle of only about seven months since the discovery, and it was handled pretty intensely. Other people obviously have had a lot longer periods to deal with it."

Douglas says he's gained back 12 of the 40 pounds he lost during an aggressive eight-week regimen of chemotherapy and radiation.

During the past few months, infrequent sightings of the actor fueled rumors that Douglas was dying.

But now, he says the tumor is gone and life is better than ever.

Douglas said, "It's made us closer.. There's a depth of emotion and an appreciation of your daily life that you didn't have before."

Nguyen added doctors caution that Douglas needs at least two more monthly check-ups before they're convinced he's completely out of the woods.

Douglas is set to begin shooting Steven Soderbergh's "Liberace" in May or June in the title part. He's also nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.