Kirk Douglas passed away on February 5th, 2020 at the age of 103. This legendary actor and son of immigrant Russian Jewish parents from Ukraine. He has left us with a long body of film work that will never be forgotten. He was born Issur Danielovitch in Amsterdam, New York.
Douglas was a graduate of St. Lawrence University and served in the U.S. Navy during WW11. It was in the service when he legally changed his name to Kirk Douglas.
He starred in "Lust for Life" in 1956 as Vincent van Gogh and played alongside of Anthony Quinn who played Paul Gauguin. Both were nominated for an Academy Award. Quinn won for best-supporting actor and Douglas didn't get the trophy for best actor.
Many others remember Douglas for playing the rebel slave Spartacus in 1960. He was the ideal choice with his chiseled physique. Douglas had a long movie career that accounted for appearing in over 50 films. He was not just intense, he could be funny as well as he demonstrated in "Tough Guys" in 1986 when he played alongside another Hollywood legend Burt Lancaster.
As far as toughness, Douglas was strong-willed and determined on the screen as well as off it. In 1991 he survived a helicopter crash in which two other passengers died. Five years later he overcame a stroke that left him unable to speak. After many months of therapy, he regained his speech though it was distorted.
One of his four sons Michael Douglas enjoyed similar success as his father. Michael won two Academy Awards and his movie career is nearly as legendary as his father's.
To think this Hollywood legend lived to be 103 proves his strong will, determination and toughness. Which were often the traits he portrayed on screen. At some point, make it a point to read a few of his books "The Ragman's Son", "I Am Spartacus" and "My Stroke of Luck.".
Douglas unfortunately never earned an Academy award outright despite being nominated three times for best actor. He did though receive an honorary AFI Lifetime Achievement award in 1991 as well as the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush in 2002.
His life should be celebrated. For sure, he earned his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as he was a true Hollywood legend.