Kirk Douglas’ photos were always proudly displayed on Michael Douglas social media pages. The snapshots of Kirk were absolutely amazing. Always posing with his birthday cake, Kirk was celebrating his 100th birthday at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2016. Surrounded by his family, Kirk Douglas’ photos showed his youthful look and zest for life. Proving that age was just a number, Kirk lived 103 youthful years. When he passed away on February 5, 2020, Hollywood would never be the same again.
Coming from a financially struggling family, Kirk Douglas (December 9 1916 – February 5 2020) worked really hard to become an actor. Kirk’s parents were Jewish emigrants from Russia who spoke Yiddish. Growing up in a big family, Kirk had six sisters. In order to help support his family, he worked more than 40 jobs before he became an actor .
When he attended Amsterdam High School, he knew that he wanted to be an actor. He worked on various high school productions. Since they saw how talented he was, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City gave Kirk a special scholarship, so he could pursue his dream of becoming an actor. One of his classmates at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts was Lauren Bacall who was also destined to become famous. As a good friend, Bacall helped Kirk land his first role by reconnecting Kirk to Hal B Wallis a producer who was looking for a frese talent.
Kirk’s first movie The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946,) produced by Hal B Wallis, was Kirk’s debut appearance on the big screen. He starred with Barbara Stanych and the rest was history. He landed any other roles proving that he was a versatile actor who could take on any role from comedy to tragedy.
My favorite Kirk Douglas film is, Lust for Life, which was directed by Vincente Minelly. Kirk’s performance as Vincent was so realistic that he should have won an Oscar for his role. Not only did Kirk make his role as Van Gogh viable, he actually became Van Gogh portraying the artist’s inner turmoil. Kirk’s performance as Van Gogh did earn him an Academy Award nomination. Even though Kirk won a Golden Globe for his role as Van Gogh, many fans were disappointed that he did not get an Oscar.
Through his acting Kirk proved that he always had a youthful spirit. He played the role of a sailor in Disney’s film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1959) causing children to smile. In fact, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea became one of Disney’s most successful lie-action movies. Since those effects of animation were not yet available when this film debuted, actors had to be even better than they are today.
Proving that the talent of acting runs in the family, Michael Douglas, Kirk’s son, created the Academy Award winning film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. This film, which truly complements the original book, won five Academy Awards including the best actor award for Jack Nicholson.
Proving once again that acting runs deep in the Douglas family, Kirk Douglas, Marcy Drogin and Jesee Wigutow produced the film, It Runs In The Family. Michael Douglas, his son Cameroon and Kirk made an appearance in this powerful film about how the family handles their problems and how important family support truly is.
Off the silver screen, Kirk proved how tough he truly was after suffering a stroke on January 28 1996. The prognosis from doctors was that he could lose the ability to speak; however, Kirk worked really hard and regained his speech. He even wrote a book about his ordeal, Stroke of Luck, to help others overcome the obstacles of a stroke.
As a humanitarian, Kirk gave to any charitable causes. Kirk left his $61 million fortune to charity. Among any other awards, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Jimmy Carter in 1981. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
At the 2020 Academy Awards Kirk Douglas was honored by several actors. There is no doubt that he conquered the world of Hollywood by storm with his fine performances. However, Kirk Douglas’ photos also show that he mastered one of the hardest roles that any of us can ever have, the art of living.