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Kirk Douglas

One of the last living people of the Golden Age of film, cited The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, and The Bad and the Beautiful among his favorites.

Kirk Douglas

Filmography

1946      

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

 

1947      

Out of the Past

Mourning Becomes Electra

 

1948      

I Walk Alone

The Walls of Jericho

 

1948      

My Dear Secretary

 

1949      

A Letter to Three Wives

Champion

 

1950      

Young Man with a Horn

The Glass Menagerie

 

1951      

Along the Great Divide

Ace in the Hole

Detective Story

 

1952      

The Big Trees

The Big Sky

The Bad and the Beautiful

 

1953      

The Story of Three Loves

The Juggler

Act of Love

 

1954      

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

 

1955      

The Racers

Ulysses

Man Without a Star

The Indian Fighter

 

1956      

Lust for Life

 

1957      

Top Secret Affair

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Paths of Glory

 

1958      

The Vikings

 

1959      

Last Train from Gun Hill

The Devil’s Disciple

 

1960      

Strangers When We Meet

Spartacus

 

1961      

Town Without Pity

The Last Sunset

 

1962      

Lonely Are the Brave

Two Weeks in Another Town

 

1963      

The Hook

The List of Adrian Messenger

For Love or Money

 

1964      

Seven Days in May

 

1965      

In Harm’s Way

The Heroes of Telemark

 

 

1966      

Cast a Giant Shadow

Is Paris Burning?

 

1967      

The Way West

The War Wagon

 

1968      

A Lovely Way to Die

The Brotherhood

 

1969      

The Arrangement

 

1970      

There Was a Crooked Man…

 

1971      

To Catch a Spy

The Light at the Edge of the World

A Gunfight

 

1972      

The Master Touch

 

1973      

Scalawag

 

1975      

Posse

Once Is Not Enough

 

1977      

Holocaust 2000

 

1978      

The Fury

 

1979      

The Villain

 

1980      

Saturn 3

Home Movies

The Final Countdown

 

1982      

The Man from Snowy River

Remembrance of Love

 

1983      

Eddie Macon’s Run

 

1984      

Draw!

 

1985      

Amos

 

1986      

Tough Guys

 

1988      

Inherit the Wind

 

1991      

Oscar

Veraz/Welcome to Veraz

 

1994      

Greedy

 

1999      

Diamonds

 

2003      

It Runs in the Family

 

2004      

Illusion

Awards

Kirk Douglas was nominated for three competitive Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role:

In 1996, he received an honorary Academy Award for 50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community.

If the good guy gets the girl, it’s rated PG; If the bad guy gets the girl, it’s rated R; and if everybody gets the girl, it’s rated X. ~ Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch in Amsterdam, New York, the son of Bryna “Bertha” (née Sanglel; 1884–1958) and Herschel “Harry” Danielovitch (c. 1884–1950). His parents were Jewish immigrants from Chavusy, Mogilev Region, in the Russian Empire (present-day Belarus).

His father’s brother, who emigrated earlier, used the surname Demsky, which Douglas’s family adopted in the United States. Douglas grew up as Izzy Demsky and legally changed his name to Kirk Douglas before entering the United States Navy during World War II.

Growing up, Douglas sold snacks to mill workers to earn enough to buy milk and bread to help his family. Later, he delivered newspapers and during his youth worked at more than forty different jobs before getting a job acting.

In high school, after acting in plays, he then knew he wanted to become a professional actor. Unable to afford the tuition, Douglas talked his way into the dean’s office at St. Lawrence University and showed him a list of his high school honors. He received a loan which he paid back by working part-time as a gardener and a janitor. He was a standout on the wrestling team and wrestled one summer in a carnival to make money.

Douglas’s acting talents were noticed at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, which gave him a special scholarship. One of his classmates was Betty Joan Perske (later to become better known as Lauren Bacall), who would play an important role in launching his film career. Another classmate, and a friend of Bacall’s, was aspiring actress Diana Dill, who would later become Douglas’s first wife.

He enlisted in 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. He was medically discharged for war injuries in 1944.

He married Diana Dill on November 2, 1943. They had two sons, Michael in 1944 and Joel in 1947, before they divorced in 1951.

After the war, Douglas returned to New York City and found work in radio, theater and commercials. In his radio work, he acted in a number of network soap operas, and sees those experiences as being especially valuable, as skill in using one’s voice is important for aspiring actors, and regrets that the same avenues are no longer open to them. His stage break occurred when he took over the role played by Richard Widmark in Kiss and Tell (1943), which then led to other offers.

Strange Love of Martha Ivers, The

Douglas had planned to remain a stage actor, until his friend, Lauren Bacall, helped him get his first film role by recommending him to director Hal Wallis, who was looking for a new male talent. Wallis’s film, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), with Barbara Stanwyck, became Douglas’s debut screen appearance. He played a young, insecure man, stung with jealousy, whose life was dominated by a ruthless older woman, and he hid his feelings with alcohol. It would be the last time that Douglas portrayed a weakling in a film role.

Douglas’s