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Biographies - Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas
Image Source: Kirk Douglas @
Kirk Douglas
Born: December 9, 1916
American actor and film producer who has received three Academy Award nominations for his work in "Champion" (1949), "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952) and "Lust for Life" (1956, as Vincent Van Gogh).


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bill Kirk Douglas: American Screen LegendKirk Douglas: American Screen Legend5/12,10:56PM

Kirk Douglas was born into poverty the son of Jewish Russian immigrants as Issur Danielovitch Demsky on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York. He used his great talent to climb to the highest pinnacle of Hollywood stardom. He is convincing in both sympathetic and unsympathetic parts where his chiseled features, easy smile, distinctive voice, and famous cleft chin can suggest mirth or menace. His multi layered performances are passionate.

He waited tables to put himself through St. Lawrence University where he was a champion wrestler and did theater work. He became a professional wrestler and held numerous jobs to pay his way through the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He had small roles on Broadway before serving in the Navy in World War II. After his return home from service his friend Lauren Bacall suggested him to producer Hal B. Wallis who tested him and gave him the lead role in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers [1946]. Kirk received terrific reviews and remained in Hollywood to make Out of the Past [1947] and I Walk Alone [1947] with friend Burt Lancaster. He had a key part in A Letter to Three Wives [1949] and achieved true stardom portraying a boxer in the classic Champion [1949].

He now was a top performer and appeared in the following roles of note: 1950 - Young Man With a Horn and The Glass Menagerie, 1951 - The Big Carnival and Detective Story, 1952 - The Big Sky and The Bad and the Beautiful, 1954 - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1955 - Ulysses and Man Without a Star, 1956 - Lust for Life as Vincent van Gogh, 1957 - Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and Paths of Glory, 1958s The Vikings, 1959s The Devils Disciple, 1960s Strangers When We Meet and the epic Spartacus [1960]. As the producer of Spartacus he broke the Hollywood blacklist by insisting that screen writer Dalton Trumbo be given proper credit for his work.

He formed Bryna Productions in 1955 and later Joel Productions to produce his own films and films of others.

During the 1960s and 1970s he starred in such notable films as 1961s Town Without Pity and The Last Sunset, 1962s Lonely Are the Brave and Two Weeks in Another Town, 1963s The List of Adrian Messenger, 1964s Seven Days in May, 1965s In Harms Way, 1966s Cast a Giant Shadow, 1967s The War Wagon with John Wayne, 1968s The Brotherhood, 1969s The Arrangement, 1970s There Was a Crooked Man..., 1971s A Gunfight, 1973s Scalawag, 1975s Posse and Once Is Not Enough, 1978s The Fury, and 1979s Home Movies and The Villain.

He has remained active in films in the 1980s and 1990s appearing in The Final Countdown [1980], The Man From Snowy River [1982], Tough Guys [1986], Oscar [1991] and Greedy [1994]. He is the best selling author of his autobiography \\\"The Ragmans Son\\\", \\\"The Gift\\\", \\\"Climbing the Mountain: My Search for Meaning\\\", \\\"The Secret\\\", \\\"The Broken Mirror: A Novella\\\", \\\"Last Tango in Brooklyn\\\", \\\"Dance with the Devil\\\" and \\\"Kirk Douglass Young Heroes\\\". He is also a director, producer, and great humanitarian serving as a Goodwill Ambassador for the State Department and receiving numerous awards for his efforts.

Personally, he has been married twice, first to Diana Dill in 1943, divorced 1951, mother of sons Michael and Joel, and Anne Buydens from 1954 to the present, mother of sons Peter and Eric. Eric passed away July 6, 2004. Michael Douglas brought Kirks dream to reality when he made One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest into a film. Kirk had appeared in the stage production of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest in 1963.

He was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981, the highest U.S. honor a civilian can receive. He has survived a helicopter crash on February 13, 1991 in which two people died and he sustained severe back injuries with debilitating long-term effects. He also has survived a 1995 stroke which has left him with disabilities. He resides in Beverly Hills, California with his wife Anne.

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