December 09, 2016

Kirk Douglas Turns 100 After Seven Decades Of Film


Kirk Douglas, the veteran actor behind Paths Of Glory, Lust for Life and Spartacus turns 100 years old on Friday.

He has always been in a league of his own, along with Burt Lancaster, Anthony Quinn, and Charlton Heston and John Wayne: All Hollywood legends.

Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch in 1916 in Amsterdam, New York, to Jewish immigrant parents.

The actor and his six sisters lived in poverty while his father worked as a ragman.
After enlisting in the US Navy in 1941 as a communications officer, Issur changed his name to Kirk Douglas.

Douglas fought in the Second World War until being medically discharged in 1944.

After attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City on a special scholarship, Douglas married Diana Dill in 1943.

It was also at the Academy he met the actress Lauren Bacall, who helped to launch his film career.

Although he started his acting career in radio, theatre and television, his friendship with Bacall led to him landing his first film role in the 1946 film The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers.

After that, Douglas stared in a number of westerns including Along The Great Divide, Lonely Are The Brave and the iconic Gunfight At The OK Corral.

In 1957 he won a Best Actor Golden Globe for Lust For Life, and in 1968 won the Cecil B DeMille Award at the Golden Globes for his outstanding contribution to the world of entertainment.

Douglas received fame as an activist among the Hollywood crowd when he helped to put an end to the Hollywood Blacklist - which denied employment to those accused of having Communist ties.

The actor publicly acknowledged banned screenwriter Dalton Trumbo as the pen that wrote Spartacus.

Kirk Douglas suffered a severe stroke in 1996, which affected his speech.
The then 90-year-old actor went through years of voice therapy to get back into acting.

He recovered and still starred in Diamonds in 1999 alongside his old friend Bacall - he played an old fighter recovering from a stroke.

As an author, he has published 10 novels and memoirs and, as a family man, he has three children and seven grandchildren.


He has been married to his second wife Anne Buydens for 62 years.

With many thanks to Sky News
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