Kirk Douglas Biography

Birthday: 1916-12-09
Place of Birth: Amsterdam, New York USA
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Wiki Biography: Cleft-chinned, steely-eyed and virile star of international cinema who rose from being "the ragman's son" (the name give to his best-selling 1988 autobiography) of Russian-Jewish ancestry to become a bona fide superstar, Kirk Douglas, also known as Issur Danielovitch Demsky, was born in Amsterdam, New York, in 1916. Although growing up in a poor ghetto, Douglas was a fine student and a keen athlete and wrestled competitively during his time at St. Lawrence University. However, he soon identified an acting scholarship as a way out of his meager existence, and was sufficiently talented to gain entry into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He only appeared in a handful of minor Broadway productions before joining the US Navy in 1941, and then after the end of hostilities in 1945, returned to the theater and some radio work. On the insistence of ex-classmate Lauren Bacall movie producer Hal B. Wallis screen-tested Douglas and cast him in the lead role in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946). His performance received rave reviews and further work quickly followed, including an appearance in the low-key drama I Walk Alone (1948), the first time he worked alongside fellow future screen legend Burt Lancaster. Such was the strong chemistry between the two that they appeared in seven films together, including the dynamic western Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), the John Frankenheimer political thriller Seven Days in May (1964) and their final pairing in the gangster comedy Tough Guys (1986). Douglas once said about his good friend: "I've finally gotten away from Burt Lancaster. My luck has changed for the better. I've got nice-looking girls in my films now". After appearing in "I Walk Alone", Douglas scored his first Oscar nomination playing the untrustworthy and opportunistic boxer Midge Kelly in the gripping Champion (1949). The quality of his work continued to garner the attention of critics and he was again nominated for Oscars for his role as a film producer in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and as tortured painter Vincent van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956), both directed by Vincente Minnelli. In 1955 Douglas launched his own production company, Bryna Productions, the company behind two pivotal film roles in his career. The first was as French army officer Col. Dax in director Stanley Kubrick's brilliant anti-war epic Paths of Glory (1957). Douglas reunited with Kubrick for yet another epic, the magnificent Spartacus (1960). The film also marked a key turning point in the life of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who had been blacklisted during the McCarthy "Red Scare" hysteria in the 1950s. At Douglas' insistence Trumbo was given on-screen credit for his contributions, which began the dissolution of the infamous blacklisting policies begun almost a decade previously that had destroyed so many careers and lives. Douglas remained busy throughout the 1960s, starring in many films,. He played a rebellious modern-day cowboy in Lonely Are the Brave (1962), acted alongside John Wayne in the World War II story In Harm's Way (1965), again with The Duke in a drama about the Israeli fight for independence, Cast a Giant Shadow (1966), and once more with Wayne in the tongue-in-cheek western The War Wagon (1967). Additionally, in 1963 he starred in an onstage production of Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", but despite his keen interest, no Hollywood studio could be convinced to bring the story to the screen. However, the rights remained with the Douglas clan, and Kirk's talented son Michael Douglas finally filmed the tale in 1975, starring Jack Nicholson. Into the 1970s Douglas wasn't as busy as previous years; however, he starred in some unusual vehicles, including alongside a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in the loopy western comedy The Villain (1979), then with Farrah Fawcett in the sci-fi thriller Saturn 3 (1980) and then he traveled to Australia for the horse opera/drama The Man from Snowy River (1982). Unknown to many, Kirk has long been involved in humanitarian causes and has been a Goodwill Ambassador for the US State Department since 1963. His efforts were rewarded in 1981 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 1983 with the Jefferson Award. Furthermore, the French honored him with the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. More recognition followed for his work with the American Cinema Award (1987), the German Golden Kamera Award (1987), The National Board of Reviews Career Achievement Award (1989), an honorary Academy Award (1995), Recipient of the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award (1999) and the UCLA Medal of Honor (2002). Despite a helicopter crash and a stroke suffered in the 1990s, he remains active and continues to appear in front of the camera.

Kirk DouglasPhotos & Pictures

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Filmography

TV Title Appeared As Year Genre
In Harm's Way Commander Paul Eddington 1965 Drama
The Don Rickles Show 1968 Comedy
Movies Title Appeared As Year Genre
The Champion Midge Kelly 1915
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers 1946 Drama
Out of the Past 1947 0
Mourning Becomes Electra Peter Niles 1947 Drama
I Walk Alone 1948 Crime, Drama
A Letter to Three Wives George Phipps 1949 Drama, Romance
Young Man with a Horn 1950 Drama, Music
Along the Great Divide 1951 Adventure, Romance
Ace in the Hole 1951 Drama
The Big Sky 1952 0
Detective Story 1952 Crime, Drama
The Big Trees 1952 Action, Drama
The Bad and the Beautiful Jonathan Shields 1953 Drama, Romance
The Story of Three Loves 1953 Drama, Music, Romance
The Juggler 1953 Drama
20000 Leagues Under the Sea Ned Land 1954 Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Lust for Life Vincent Van Gogh 1956 Drama
Paths of Glory Col. Dax 1957 0, Romance
Top Secret Affair 1957
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral Dr. John 'Doc' Holliday 1957
General Motors 50th Anniversary Show 1957
The Vikings Einar 1958
Last Train from Gun Hill 1959 Drama, Thriller
Spartacus Spartacus 1960 0, 0
Strangers When We Meet 1960 Drama, Romance
Town Without Pity 1961
The Last Sunset 1961
Lonely are the Brave 1962 Drama
Seven Days in May Col. Martin 'Jiggs' Casey 1964 0, Game Show
In Harm's Way Cmdr. Paul Eddington 1965
The Heroes of Telemark 1966 Action, Drama, History
Cast a Giant Shadow 1966 Adventure, Drama, History
The War Wagon Lomax 1967 Action
The Arrangement 1969 Drama
There Was a Crooked Man... 1970
A Gunfight 1971
The Light at the Edge of the World 1971 Adventure
Victory at Entebbe 1976 Action, Drama, History
The Villain Cactus Jack 1979 Comedy
Saturn 3 1980 Sport, Game Show, 0
The Final Countdown Capt. Matthew Yelland 1980 0, Sport
The Man From Snowy River 1982 Adventure, Drama, Family
Tough Guys Archie Long 1986 Comedy
Veraz Quentin 1991
Greedy 1994 Comedy
Diamonds Harry Agensky 1999 Game Show, 0
It Runs in the Family Mitchell Gromberg 2003 0, 0, 0
Fury Peter Sandza 2014 Romance, 0
The Fury Peter Sandza 2016
Champion Midge Kelly - a go-getting boxer 2018