Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas


12/9/1916, Amsterdam, New York

Birth Name

Issur Danielovitch Demsky



Also Known As

Kirk Douglass
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User Rating
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KIRK was born of Russian immigrants. He put himself through St. Lawrence University by working as a waiter. While in college he studied some school dramatics and was also a good wrestler. He also put himself through the American Academy of Dramatic Arts by working as a bellhop,…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • In November 2007, Kirk was to award John Travolta an award for excellence and versatility. John ignored Kirk's outstretched hand and instead gave him a kiss on the lips, surprising him greatly.

    • Kirk is 5'9" tall.

    • Kirk can speak German, French, and English.

    • Kirk Douglas often wore lifts in his shoes to make himself appear to be about 5' 11" or 6 feet on screen.

    • In October of 2005, Palm Springs, California honored Kirk Douglas by naming a street after him. It is called "Kirk Douglas Way".

    • Up until 1953, Kirk Douglas used to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day.

    • Kirk Douglas made $25,000 in 1947 for his role as Whit Sterling in the movie Out of the Past. In 1949, he made $15,000 for his role as Michael Kelly in the movie Champion. In 1957, he made $350,000 for his role as Cornell Dax in the movie Paths of Glory. In 1965, he made $400,000 for his role as Paul Eddington in the movie In Harm's Way.

    • Kirk Douglas has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6263 Hollywood Boulevard, California.

    • Not long after Kirk Douglas' stroke, he was depressed and had thoughts of committing suicide. He even went as far as to put the barrel of a loaded gun into his mouth.

    • In the late 1990's, Kirk Douglas' star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was stolen. It was later discovered that it was stolen along with Jimmy Stewart's star, by a construction worker.

    • Kirk Douglas helped put an end to the Hollywood Blacklist in 1960.

    • Kirk Douglas attended the memorial service of former President Ronald Reagan in 2004.

    • Kirk Douglas' son Eric died of an accidental drug overdose in 2004.

    • Kirk Douglas has appeared in over 100 movies such as It Runs in the Family, Diamonds, The Lies Boys Told, The Fury, Catch Me A Spy, The Chosen, The Man From Snowy River, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, A Gunfight, Spartacus, In Harm's Way, and Is Paris Burning?

    • In 2003, Kirk Douglas appeared with his son Michael, and grandson, Cameron, in the movie It Runs in the Family.

    • Kirk Douglas was nominated for three Oscars for Best Actor.

    • In Paris in 1985, Kirk Douglas was honored to be named a Knight by the Legion of Honor.

    • In 1984, Kirk Douglas was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame.

    • Because of his contribution to humanity, Kirk Douglas was named "Man of the Year" by the Friar's Club.

    • In 1956, the American Heart Association honored Kirk Douglas with the Heart and Torch Award.

    • In 1996, Kirk Douglas was the recipient of the honorary lifetime achievement Oscar.

    • In 1990, Kirk Douglas published first novel called Dance with the Devil.

    • In 1962, Kirk Douglas founded Joel Productions.

    • In 1973, Kirk Douglas directed his first film called Scalawag.

    • In 1941, Kirk Douglas made his Broadway debut in the play Spring Again.

    • Kirk Douglas has been a bellhop, wrestler, usher, waiter, janitor, director, novelist, producer, and an actor.

    • Kirk Douglas has four sons named Eric, Michael, Joel, and Peter.

    • Kirk Douglas was married to Diana Dill from 1943 until 1951. He then married Anne Buydens in 1954 and they are still married as of 2006.

    • Kirk Douglas is best known for his gravelly voice.

    • In 1981, Kirk Douglas was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    • Kirk Douglas was first nominated for an Oscar in 1949 for his role in Champion.

    • Kirk Douglas' first big break was in 1946, when he landed the lead role in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.

    • Kirk Douglas went to St. Lawrence University in New York.

    • In 1941, Kirk Douglas joined the US Navy.

    • Kirk Douglas grew up in the ghettos of New York.

    • Kirk Douglas has a cleft chin.

    • Kirk wrestled competitively during his time at St. Lawrence University.

    • Kirk's greatest dreamwas to make Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest into a film. It was later made into a film, by his son Michael who won an Academy Award for his producing of the movie.

    • In 1988, Kirk released his autobiography The Ragman's Son which quickly became a best-seller.

    • Kirk has been a Goodwill Ambassador for the US State Department since 1963.

    • Kirk starred in 7 movies with fellow actor Burt Lancaster. The movies were I Walk Alone in 1948, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1957, The Devil's Disciple in 1959, The List of Adrian Messenger in 1963, Seven Days in May in 1964, Victory at Entebbe in 1976, and Tough Guys in 1986.

    • Kirk had a fully Jewish upbringing, but did not practice extensively as an adult.

    • In 1994, Kirk was the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor.

    • In 1999, Kirk was the recipient of American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement award and the Institute screened 16 of his films.

    • In January 1996, Kirk suffered a stroke, which affected his ability to speak clearly.

    • In 2005, Kirk had both knees replaced against the advice of his doctors.

    • Kirk was named #17 greatest actor on The 50 Greatest Screen Legends list complied by the American Film Institute.

    • In 1989, Kirk had to have a pacemaker fitted following a heart attack in a restaurant.

    • In 1980, Kirk was the president of jury at the Cannes Film Festival.

    • Kirk was voted the 36th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

    • Kirk has actually celebrated his Bar Mitzvah twice. Once when he was 13 years old and the other time when he was 83 years old.

    • Kirk once earned $50,000 for saying the only English word at the end of a 1980s Japanese TV commercial: "coffee".

    • In 1984, Kirk was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

    • Kirk survived a helicopter crash on February 23, 1991 in which two people were killed. He was however left with a debilitating back injury. The accident occured when they were about fifty feet off the ground and a small plane, flown by a student pilot, collided with them.

  • Quotes

    • Kirk Douglas: My stroke changed me into a better person — a person whom I like. We all want happiness. I've learned we achieve happiness when we seek the happiness and well-being of others.

    • Kirk Douglas: I was a little boy in the kitchen with my mother and I asked, 'How was I born?' She told me this beautiful story about a gold box that came down from heaven on silver strands.

    • Kirk Douglas: I'm anxious how other people will react to it, when I hear that it showed the other night and people seemed to enjoy it very much, that's wonderful. But if they didn't enjoy it that wouldn't destroy me. You see, with maturity you can accept things and look at them more realistically.

    • Kirk Douglas: As you get older, there's a wonderful thing that happens. You don't have that feeling, 'Oh, God, will it succeed?' I've done this movie 'Greedy'. I haven't seen it. Maybe I'll see it in six months or so.

    • Kirk Douglas: I wrote 'Ragman' with my gut, my instincts--nothing formal. Writing is meditative and I like the solitude...I still don't feel very secure as a writer. One robin doesn't make a spring. But after you've made almost 80 movies, you think: 'Gee, maybe the people have seen enough of me.' I've seen enough of me! So I've learned that writing is an extension of acting. Now I play all the roles: I decide who has sex, who doesn't; who gets murdered, who doesn't. I'm expressing myself and take all the credit or the blame."

    • Kirk Douglas: If you want to know about a man you can find out an awful lot by looking at who he married.

    • Kirk Douglas: When you become a star, you don't change - everyone else does.