A Tribute to Kirk Douglas
Whether it was playing the role of the indomitable Spartacus, or helping to break the power of the despicable Hollywood blacklist, Kirk Douglas, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, has always been the epitome of the tough guy. As he once said, “I’ve made a career of playing sons of bitches.”
Though he began his career playing a “weak” character, to use his word, in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, his strength of character was soon discovered by Hollywood, and he was cast in a series of roles that took advantage of his rugged good looks, raspy voice, and powerful presence. While he was occasionally described as being “one dimensional,” his performances in films such as Lust for Life and Out of the Pastdisproved that notion.
Nominated three times by the Academy for Best Actor, he failed to take home the statue, but later received an Honorary Oscar in 1995, just months after suffering a stroke. He did win a Golden Globe for Lust for Life, however. And he won an AFI Life Achievement Award in 1991.
He also had a stage career, appearing in the world premiere of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in October, 1963 at the Shubert Theater. He has also been a director, producer, author (two novels and two autobiographies), and a humanitarian. Among other awards, he received the Presidential Medal Of Freedom in 1981.
He is, of course, the father of popular actor Michael Douglas and three other sons, two from each of his marriages.
There are many places on the Web where you can learn more about Kirk Douglas and the films he appeared in, and view his photos and movie posters, most of which you will find in the next three parts of this tribute.
Part I: Introduction
Part III: Movie Reviews & Where to Find His Movies