Honoring: Mr. Kirk Douglas
Emerging into this world under the sign of Sagittarius, this star has proven that to be a force in life and full of energy. His powerful performances and his long life, facing death and making a come back from a stroke is just a small list of his things that make this man a marvel to his viewers.
Born to Jewish Russian immigrants in Amsterdam New York, Issur Danielovitch Demsky was born on December 9, 1916. Years later, after arriving at Hollywood, he changed his name to Kirk Douglas. Although he was born to a poor immigrant family, he climbed to the top early in life and earned the respect of his fans and fellow performers.
Humor and imagination is one of the things that make Kirk Douglas's younger years so interesting. As a fourteen year old boy, he was frightened away from Judaism after reading the story of Abraham and Isaac from his hebrew school book. The picture from the book showed Abraham, with his arm stretched and a knife about to sacrifice his son Isaac. That picture made an impression on Kirk Douglas, which caused him to put some distance between himself and Judaism. As years passed, Kirk did find his way back to religion but it took a few years before he was able to dismiss the impact of the story.
As a young man, Kirk started his journey through life, as well as setting goals for himself. Financially struggling as a student at the St. Lawrence University, he managed to join the wrestling team and eventually became a professional wrestler. While working many jobs, he then studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. From studying Dramatic Arts to the U.S. Navy, Kirk served in World War II for a few years (1941 - 1945).
Not long after returning to civilian life, just barely starting radio theater and commercials, Kirk Douglas got his first screen role. With the aid of Lauren Bacall (Kirk's former school mate), Hal. B., Wallis looked into casting Kirk Douglas for lead role in his movie, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946). The success of his first role, led him into more parts and in 1947, he starred with Robert Michum and Jane Greer in, Out Of The Past. Also in the same year (1947), he played Noll 'Dink' Turner in, I Walk Alone and Peter Niles in Mourning Become Electra.
Defying Hollywood's practices, Kirk Douglas challenged the accepted Hollywood blacklist policy and publicly opposed Stanly Kubrick whom was intending to take credit for the screenplay, Spartacus. This may have been considered to be a very bold action but true to Kirk Douglas's personality, he publicly challenged it. Kirk Douglas is an honest man, willing to stand up for what he feels is right, regardless of the possible outcome. Kirk Douglas was very instrumental in the ending of the Hollywood blacklist practice without it affecting his career.
As time passed, Kirk Douglas became the idol of many movie go'ers. He had been married twice and a father of four children, two with his first wife Diana Dill (1943 - 1951) and two more with his second wife, Anne Buydens (1954 - present). Life wasn't all roses for Kirk, as his personal life had challenges and tribulation. His first big challenge was in 1991, when he almost lost his life in a helicopter crash. Not long after, he suffered a stroke in 1996 which left him with some permanent affects. On July 6, 2004, Eric Anthony Douglas, youngest son of Kirk and Anne Douglas, passed away at age 46, from an accidental drug overdose.
Although Kirk Douglas has slowed down in the movie industry, he continues to share his life with us through books and interviews. Smart, talented and full of advice, Kirk Douglas will always be an inspiration to his fans.
It has been an honor and a privilege for me to do this tribute. I look forward to doing a tribute to Kirk's son Michael Douglas, later on this year.
Kirk Douglas Movies
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