Kirk Douglas Biography
Kirk Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch; December 9, 1916 – February 5, 2020) was an American actor, producer, director and author. He grew up as Izzy Demsky and legally changed his name to Kirk Douglas before entering the United States Navy during World War II. During his career, Douglas appeared in more than 90 movies and was known for his explosive acting style.
He became an international star for his leading role as an unscrupulous boxing hero in Champion (1949), which brought him his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Other early films include Young Man with a Horn (1950), Ace in the Hole (1951), and Detective Story (1951), a film for which he received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actor in a Drama.
He received a second Oscar nomination for his role in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), and his third nomination for portraying Vincent van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956), which landed him a second Golden Globe nomination. In 1955, Douglas established Bryna Productions, which produced films as varied as Paths of Glory (1957) and Spartacus (1960). He took the lead roles in both films.
Douglas has been praised for helping to break the Hollywood blacklist by having Dalton Trumbo write Spartacus with an official on-screen credit. In 1963 Douglas starred in the Broadway play One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a story that he purchased and later gave to his son Michael Douglas, who turned it into an Oscar-winning film. As an actor and philanthropist, Douglas received an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
As an author, he wrote ten novels and memoirs. He is No. 17 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest male screen legends of classic Hollywood cinema. Kirk Douglas died at age 103.