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Kirk Douglas (born December 9, 1916) is an American actor and film producer known for his oft-imitated and parodied gravel ridden voice and his recurring roles as, who Douglas himself once said, "sons of bitches". He is also father to Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas.
Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in Amsterdam, New York to Herschel Danielovitch and Bryna Sanglel, poor Belarusian Jewish parents (who came from Homel, also known as Gomel). He was on the wrestling team at St. Lawrence University. To help make his way through college, he thought getting an acting scholarship might work.
His talents got him noticed at the acclaimed American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, where he soon received a scholarship, along side classmate Betty Joan Perske (better, and soon to be known as Lauren Bacall). He then served in the U.S. Navy from the outbreak of World War II in 1941 until it ended in 1945. After the war he returned to New York City and started doing radio theater and commercials, while trying to break in on Broadway.
Douglas was helped by actress Lauren Bacall in obtaining his first screen role in the Hal B. Wallis movie, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers 1946, starring Barbara Stanwyck. Hal B. Wallis was on his way to New York to look for new talent when Bacall suggested he look up her old drama school classmate, who was working in an off-Broadway play at the time.
Kirk Douglas received four Academy Award nominations for his work in Champion, The Bad and the Beautiful and Lust for Life (as Vincent Van Gogh). Douglas did not win any competitive Oscars, but received a special Oscar in 1996 for "50 years as a moral and creative force in the motion picture community."
He also played an important role in breaking the Hollywood blacklist by publicly opposing Stanley Kubrick's intention to take credit for the screenplay of Spartacus, which had been adapted from Howard Fast's novel by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo.
Which is ironic, considering the fact that he had collaborated closely with Kubrick in Paths of Glory, where Douglas played one of his most memorable roles, as Colonel Dax, the commander of a French regiment during World War I ordered to make a suicidal attack.
For his contributions to the motion picture industry, Kirk Douglas has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6263 Hollywood Blvd. In 1984, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
In October 2004, the avenue "Kirk Douglas Way" in Palm Springs, California was named in his honor by the Palm Springs International Film Society and International Film Festival.
Douglas has been married twice, first to Diana Dill (born 22 January, 1923; married November 2, 1943 — divorced in 1951), with whom he had two sons, actor Michael Douglas and producer Joel Douglas. And then to his second wife, Anne Buydens (married May 29, 1954 to the present) with whom he has two sons, producer Peter Vincent Douglas born November 23, 1955 and actor Eric Douglas born June 1958, died July 6, 2004 of an accidental drug overdose.
Popular at home and around the world, Kirk Douglas received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 and the French Legion of Honor in 1985.
In 1996, Kirk Douglas suffered a stroke, partly impairing his ability to speak.
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)
Out of the Past (1947)
Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)
I Walk Alone (1948)
The Walls of Jericho (1948)
My Dear Secretary (1949)
A Letter to Three Wives (1949)
Young Man with a Horn (1950)
The Glass Menagerie (1950)
Along the Great Divide (1951)
Ace in the Hole (1951)
Detective Story (1951)
The Big Trees (1952)
The Big Sky (1952)
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
The Story of Three Loves (1953)
The Juggler (1953)
Act of Love (1953)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
The Racers (1955)
Man Without a Star (1955)
The Indian Fighter (1955)
Van Gogh: Darkness Into Light (1956) (short subject)
Lust for Life (1956)
Top Secret Affair (1957)
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)
Paths of Glory (1957) (also producer)
The Vikings (1958)
Last Train from Gun Hill (1959)
The Devil's Disciple (1959)
Premier Khrushchev in the USA (1959) (documentary)
Strangers When We Meet (1960)
Spartacus (1960) (also executive producer)
Town Without Pity (1961)
The Last Sunset (1961)
Lonely Are the Brave (1962)
Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)
The Hook (1963)
The List of Adrian Messenger (1963)
For Love or Money (1963)
Seven Days in May (1964)
The Heroes of Telemark (1965)
In Harm's Way (1965)
Cast a Giant Shadow (1966)
Is Paris Burning? (1966)
The Way West (1967)
The War Wagon (1967)
Rowan & Martin at the Movies (1968) (short subject)
Once Upon a Wheel (1968) (documentary)
A Lovely Way to Die (1968)
The Brotherhood (1968) (also producer)
The Arrangement (1969)
There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)
To Catch a Spy (1971)
The Light at the Edge of the World (1971) (also producer)
A Gunfight (1971)
The Master Touch (1972)
Scalawag (1973) (also director)
Jacqueline Susann's Once Is Not Enough (1975)
Posse (1975) (also director and producer)
Holocaust 2000 (1977)
The Fury (1978)
Home Movies (1979)
The Villain (1979)
Saturn 3 (1980)
The Final Countdown (1980)
The Man from Snowy River (1982)
Eddie Macon's Run (1983)
Tough Guys (1986)
Welcome to Veraz (1991)
A Century of Cinema (1994) (documentary)
It Runs in the Family (2003)
Wisdom of the Elders (1986)
The Ragman's Son (1988)
Dance With the Devil (1991)
The Gift (1992)
Last Tango in Brooklyn (1994)
The Broken Mirror (1997)
Young Heroes of the Bible (1999)
Climbing The Mountain: My Search For Meaning (2000)
Rabbis : Observations of 100 Leading and Influential Rabbis of the 21st Century (introduction) (2002)
My Stroke of Luck (2003)
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