94 Facts About Kirk Douglas


Kirk Douglas was named by the American Film Institute the 17th-greatest male star of Classic Hollywood cinema.


Kirk Douglas became an international star for his role as an unscrupulous boxing hero in Champion, which brought him his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.


Kirk Douglas received his second Oscar nomination for his dramatic role in The Bad and the Beautiful, opposite Lana Turner, and earned his third for portraying Vincent van Gogh in Lust for Life, a role for which he won the Golden Globe for the Best Actor in a Drama.


Kirk Douglas starred with James Mason in the adventure 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a large box-office hit.


Kirk Douglas has been praised for helping to break the Hollywood blacklist by having Dalton Trumbo write Spartacus with an official on-screen credit.


In 1963, he starred in the Broadway play One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a story that he purchased and later gave to his son Michael Kirk Douglas, who turned it into an Oscar-winning film.


Kirk Douglas continued acting into the 1980s, appearing in such films as Saturn 3, The Man from Snowy River, Tough Guys, a reunion with Lancaster, and in the television version of Inherit the Wind plus in an episode of Touched by an Angel in 2002, for which he received his third nomination for an Emmy Award.


Kirk Douglas lived with his second wife, producer Anne Buydens, until his death in 2020.


Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in Amsterdam, New York, on December 9,1916, the son of Bryna "Bertha" and Herschel "Harry" Danielovitch.


Kirk Douglas's parents were immigrants from Chavusy, Mogilev Governorate, in the Russian Empire, and the family spoke Yiddish at home.


Kirk Douglas was the fourth child of seven children and the only son born to his parents.


Kirk Douglas embraced his Jewish heritage in his later years, after a near-fatal helicopter crash at the age of 74.


Douglas grew up as Izzy Demsky and legally changed his name to Kirk Douglas before entering the United States Navy during World War II.


Kirk Douglas had an unhappy childhood, living with an alcoholic, physically abusive father.


Kirk Douglas first wanted to be an actor after he recited the poem "The Red Robin of Spring" while in kindergarten and received applause.


Kirk Douglas later delivered newspapers, and he had more than forty jobs during his youth before becoming an actor.


Unable to afford the tuition, Kirk Douglas talked his way into the dean's office at St Lawrence University and showed him a list of his high school honors.


Kirk Douglas received a loan which he paid back by working part-time as a gardener and a janitor.


Kirk Douglas was a standout on the wrestling team and wrestled one summer in a carnival to make money.


Kirk Douglas later became good friends with world-champion wrestler Lou Thesz.


Kirk Douglas's acting talents were noticed at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, which gave him a special scholarship.


Kirk Douglas told her his dream was to someday bring his family to New York to see him on stage.


Kirk Douglas joined the United States Navy in 1941, shortly after the United States entered World War II, where he served as a communications officer in anti-submarine warfare aboard USS PC-1139.


Kirk Douglas was medically discharged in 1944 for injuries sustained from the premature explosion of a depth charge.


Kirk Douglas played a young, insecure man stung by jealousy, whose life was dominated by his ruthless wife, and he hid his feelings with alcohol.


Reviewers of the film noted that Kirk Douglas already projected qualities of a "natural film actor", with the similarity of this role with later ones explained by biographer Tony Thomas:.


Kirk Douglas radiates a certain inexplicable quality, and it is this, as much as talent, that accounts for his success in films.


In 1947, Kirk Douglas appeared in Out of the Past, playing a large supporting role in this classic noir thriller starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer.


Kirk Douglas made his Broadway debut in 1949 in Three Sisters, produced by Katharine Cornell.


Kirk Douglas's intense focus on his opponent draws the viewer into the ring.


Kirk Douglas received his first Academy Award nomination, and the film earned six nominations in all.


Early in his Hollywood career, Kirk Douglas demonstrated his independent streak and broke his studio contracts to gain total control over his projects, forming his own movie company, Bryna Productions in September 1949.


Kirk Douglas portrayed a frontier peace officer in his first western, Along the Great Divide.


Kirk Douglas quickly became very comfortable with riding horses and playing gunslingers, and he appeared in many Westerns.


Kirk Douglas considered Lonely Are the Brave, in which he plays a cowboy trying to live by his own code, his personal favorite.


In 1950, Kirk Douglas played Rick Martin in Young Man with a Horn, based on a novel of the same name by Dorothy Baker inspired by the life of jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke.


Douglas, married at the time, called the police and told them he was not the Kirk mentioned in the note.


When interviewed via telephone by the head of the investigating team, Kirk Douglas stated that he had "talked and kidded with her a bit" on set, but that he had never been out with her.


In 1951, Kirk Douglas starred as a newspaper reporter anxiously looking for a big story in Ace in the Hole, director Billy Wilder's first effort as both writer and producer.


Also in 1951, Kirk Douglas starred in Detective Story, nominated for four Academy Awards, including one for Lee Grant in her debut film.


Reviewers recognized Kirk Douglas's acting qualities, with Bosley Crowther describing Kirk Douglas as "forceful and aggressive as the detective".


In 1954 Kirk Douglas starred as the titular character in Ulysses, a film based on Homer's epic poem Odyssey, with Silvana Mangano as Penelope and Circe, and Anthony Quinn as Antinous.


In 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Kirk Douglas showed that in addition to serious, driven characters, he was adept at roles requiring a lighter, comic touch.


Kirk Douglas managed a similar comic turn in the western Man Without a Star and in For Love or Money.


Kirk Douglas showed further diversity in one of his earliest television appearances.


Kirk Douglas was a musical guest on The Jack Benny Program.


In 1955, Kirk Douglas was finally able to get his film production company, Bryna Productions, off the ground.


In 1958, Kirk Douglas formed the music publishing company Peter Vincent Music Corporation, a Bryna Productions subsidiary.


Kirk Douglas's acting style and delivery made him a favorite with television impersonators such as Frank Gorshin, Rich Little, and David Frye.


Kirk Douglas was noted not only for the veracity of van Gogh's appearance but for how he conveyed the painter's internal turmoil.


Kirk Douglas was nominated for an Academy Award for the role, with his co-star Anthony Quinn winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as Paul Gauguin, van Gogh's friend.


In general Kirk Douglas's acting style fit well with Minnelli's preference for "melodrama and neurotic-artist roles", writes film historian James Naremore.


In 1960, Kirk Douglas played the title role in what many consider his career-defining appearance as the Thracian gladiator slave rebel Spartacus with an all-star cast in Spartacus.


Kirk Douglas initially selected Anthony Mann to direct, but replaced him early on with Stanley Kubrick, with whom he had previously collaborated in Paths of Glory.


Kirk Douglas bought the rights to stage a play of the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest from its author, Ken Kesey.


Kirk Douglas mounted a play from the material in 1963 in which he starred and that ran on Broadway for five months.


Kirk Douglas retained the movie rights due to an innovative loophole of basing the rights on the play rather than the novel, despite Kesey's objections, but after a decade of being unable to find a producer he gave the rights to his son, Michael.


Kirk Douglas made seven films over four decades with actor Burt Lancaster: I Walk Alone, Gunfight at the OK.


Kirk Douglas was always billed under Lancaster in these movies, but, with the exception of I Walk Alone and, even more so, The List of Adrian Messenger, their roles were usually of a similar size.


However, Kirk Douglas thought Lancaster would fit the part and "begged me to reconsider," said Frankenheimer, and he then gave Lancaster the most colorful role.


In 1967 Kirk Douglas starred with John Wayne in the western film directed by Burt Kennedy titled The War Wagon.


Kirk Douglas played in a dual role in The Man from Snowy River, an Australian film which received critical acclaim and numerous awards.


In 1988, Kirk Douglas starred in a television adaptation of Inherit the Wind, opposite Jason Robards and Jean Simmons.


Kirk Douglas appeared as the Devil in the video for the Don Henley song "The Garden of Allah".


In 1996, after suffering a severe stroke at age 79 which impaired his ability to speak, Kirk Douglas still wanted to make movies.


Kirk Douglas underwent years of voice therapy and made Diamonds in 1999, in which he played an old prizefighter who was recovering from a stroke.


In 2003, Michael and Joel Douglas produced It Runs in the Family, which along with Kirk starred various family members, including Michael, Michael's son Cameron, and his wife from 50 years earlier, Diana Dill, playing his wife.


Kirk Douglas was described by his guests as being still in good shape, able to walk with confidence into the Sunset Room for the celebration.


Kirk Douglas appeared at the 2018 Golden Globes with his daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones, a rare public appearance in the final decade of his life.


Kirk Douglas has an overpowering physical presence, which is why on a large movie screen he looms over the audience like a tidal wave in full flood.


Kirk Douglas's sudden rise to prominence is explained and compared to that of Jack Nicholson's:.


Kirk Douglas prepared himself privately for each role he played, so that when the cameras were ready to roll he was suitably, and some would say egotistically and even selfishly, inspired to steal every scene in a manner comparable in modern times to Jack Nicholson's modus operandi.


Kirk Douglas had not only read the lines of everyone in the picture, he had read the stage directions.


Kirk Douglas, I was to discover, always read every word, discussed every word, always argued every scene, until he was convinced of its correctness.


Kirk Douglas listened, so it was necessary to fight every minute.


For most of his career, Kirk Douglas enjoyed good health and what seemed like an inexhaustible supply of energy.


Kirk Douglas was reared by his mother and his sisters and as a schoolboy he had to work to help support the family.


Kirk Douglas has credited his mother, Bryna, for instilling in him the importance of "gambling on yourself", and he kept her advice in mind when making films.


Kirk Douglas originally fled from Germany to escape Nazism and survived by putting her multilingual skills to work at a film studio, creating translations for subtitles.


In February 1991, aged 74, Kirk Douglas was in a helicopter and was injured when the aircraft collided with a small plane above Santa Paula Airport.


Kirk Douglas documented this spiritual journey in his book, Climbing the Mountain: My Search for Meaning.


Kirk Douglas decided to visit Jerusalem again and wanted to see the Western Wall Tunnel during a trip where he would dedicate two playgrounds he donated to the state.


Kirk Douglas celebrated a second Bar-Mitzvah ceremony in 1999, aged 83.


Kirk Douglas donated to various schools, medical facilities, and other non-profit organizations in southern California.


In 1980, Kirk Douglas flew to Cairo to talk with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.


At the ceremony, Carter said that Kirk Douglas had "done this in a sacrificial way, almost invariably without fanfare and without claiming any personal credit or acclaim for himself".


In subsequent years, Kirk Douglas testified before Congress about elder abuse.


On January 28,1996, at age 79, Kirk Douglas suffered a severe stroke, which impaired his ability to speak.


Kirk Douglas wrote about this experience in his 2002 book My Stroke of Luck, which he hoped would be an "operating manual" for others on how to handle a stroke victim in their own family.


Kirk Douglas died at his home in Beverly Hills, California, surrounded by his family, on February 5,2020, at the age of 103.


Kirk Douglas's funeral was held at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, on February 7,2020, two days after his death.


Kirk Douglas was buried in the same plot as his son, Eric.


In 1983, Douglas received the S Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.


Kirk Douglas agreed, but had second thoughts when standing in front of the audience.