Kirk Douglas Mini Bio
Born the only son among six girls to immigrant Russian-Jewish parents in Amsterdam New York, Kirk Douglas was 103 years old on December 9th this past year (2019). Sadly, he died just a few weeks later on February 5, 2020 of what were described as natural causes. In other words, old age.
Named Issur Danielovitch at birth, Douglas changed his name first to Izzy Demsky as a young boy (or his parents did), and then later he changed it legally to Kirk Douglas just before enlisting in the U.S. Navy (1941) where he served as a communications officer. America had just entered World War II.
Kirk Douglas is number 17 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest male American screen legends of all time.
Douglas has many credits to his name. A Broadway actor originally who went to Hollywood and became a major box office screen star, Douglas also eventually directed and produced films. Early on in his movie career he formed his own production company named after his mother – Bryna Productions.
Kirk Douglas was presented with an Honorary Academy Award in 1996 for having been in the movie business for 50 years. He has now been in 90 films and is still very active in the movie business, though not so much in front of the camera.
Douglas has been married twice and had 4 sons, two from each marriage. One of his sons, Eric, died of a drug overdose in 2004.
In February 1991 Kirk Douglas survived a helicopter crash in which 2 people died.
In January 1996 Kirk Douglas suffered a severe stroke that impaired his ability to speak.
A Complete List of Kirk Douglas Books
If all that is not enough, Douglas is a successful writer as well. Here is a list of the books Kirk Douglas has written and published along with their main themes.
1990 Dance With the Devil (Fiction)
1992 The Gift (Fiction and romance)
1994 Last Tango In Brooklyn (Fiction and romance)
1997 Broken Mirror (Children’s book, religion and spirituality)
1999 Young Heroes of the Bible (Children’s book, religion and spirituality)
1999 The Ragman’s Son (autobiography)
2000 Climbing the mountain My Search For Meaning (Religion and spirituality)
2003 My Stroke of Luck (Religion, fitness and health, and spirituality)
2008 Let’s Face It 90 Years of Living Loving and Learning (Memoirs)
2012 I Am Spartacus Making a Film Breaking the Blacklist (Memoirs)
Kirk Douglas Modern Day Hero
Hollywood’s Golden Age (HGA) reports that Douglas started the 1960s as both the producer and star of the classic movie 'Spartacus,' the story of a gladiator revolt during the Roman Empire. The movie was a box office hit with the public.
HGA says that behind the scenes Douglas made a successful stand for principle by insisting that the screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, who had been blacklisted during the McCarthy 'Reds under the Beds' hysteria, be fully credited for his work.
For people who may not remember, the ‘Reds under the Beds’ hysteria refers to a modern day witch hunt (1950s) where Senator Joseph McCarthy accused everyone who did not agree with him of being a communist. Senate hearings were held and televised to interrogate and basically persecute the accused and many of their lives were ruined.
It was a courageous stand for Douglas to take and he played a significant part in the final ending of the notorious Hollywood blacklisting policy. Things could have gone differently with Douglas being accused of being a communist sympathizer and blacklisted himself.
I Am Spartacus Making A Film Breaking the Blacklist
The last book on the list above was recently released and it is likely to be well received like all of Douglas’s books. In it Douglas talks about his experiences in Hollywood as well as what he believes is today’s modern day oppression and tyranny, and how religious fanaticism has played such a big part in all the wars over history, and still continues to do that today.
Said Kirk Douglas on Huff Post Books (review): “After 95 years on this planet, I have come to the conclusion that the human spirit can never be crushed, no matter how cruel the oppressor or fanatic the belief. If we remember that simple truth--and act on it every day in small ways and sometimes in large movements--then freedom will ultimately win.”
Here is an interview with Kirk Douglas from 1988
A recent interview with Kirk Douglas
© 2012 C E Clark
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 01, 2019:
Diogenes, thank you for stopping by. Glad you approve! :)
diogenes from UK and Mexico on April 27, 2019:
One of the last of the"real men" male leads in Hollywood. His son is not fit to tie his bootlaces. But he was a larger than life physical specimen who also had a brain. A good article about this unforgettable gentleman.
Robert Sacchi on April 26, 2019:
I'm glad I stopped by.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on April 26, 2019:
Robert Sacchih: Yup, Kirk has written a lot of books. Glad you got something useful out of this article!
Robert Sacchi on April 16, 2019:
Thank you for posting. I didn't realize Kirk Douglas was an author.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 30, 2015:
Huntgoddess, PA is a beautiful state. I loved coming through -- I think it was the Allegheny Mountains, several years ago now.
Don't worry about forgetting where I'm from. You'll drive yourself crazy if you try to remember all the details about people on here. I think not actually seeing a person in person makes it harder to remember details about them. I think it's easy to get details mixed up too, because there are so many hubbers to remember with all their details and you never get to actually see any of us.
I'll try to check out A Stop At Willoughby one of these afternoons after I get my sleep caught up. I have no a/c most of the time and it's been near and above 100 for several weeks now. I just can't sleep in that awful heat.
Hope you are well and enjoying a great weekend . . .
Huntgoddess from Midwest U.S.A. on August 28, 2015:
Dear Au fait,
No, I definitely did NOT remember your telling me you are from Wisconsin originally. I'm so sorry, dear, for forgetting a crucial fact like that. Oy!!
Unfortunately, however, I myself am NOT a Wisconsin native, although I've been here in Madison for over thirty years. I was born in Philadelphia, and grew up in Pittsburgh. So, I guess we're both far from home, right?
Well, as far as Willoughby goes: ---- Of course, we can't post links here on a comment, but I just did a little I'net search for the title: A Stop at Willoughby. There seemed to be several places on the 'Net where you can watch it. Idk if they are for $$ or not, though.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 27, 2015:
Huntgoddess, I've never been good with names of books, songs, or episodes. I watched Twilight Zone just about every week, and I only remember a few episodes it's been so long ago. If I were to see the one you mention again (expect I did see it because I saw most of them), it might job my memory.
Think I told you I was born and grew up in Central Wisconsin. There's still a lot I don't know about it, especially the history. My sister was the history major at university.
Hope all is well with you . . .
Huntgoddess from Midwest U.S.A. on August 25, 2015:
Well, too bad for anyone who doesn't remember or know them.
Yes, I agree about the past.
There is a column in the local paper entitled, "Odd Wisconsin." I don't see why it can't just be called "historical Wisconsin."
What's so "odd" about it?
They just write crap like, "Did you know that there used to prisoners of war at Camp Randall --- which is where Camp Randall Stadium is now?
(Actually I'm at the historical society library right now reading about such "oddities!" ---- as well as many others.)
BTW, since you don't live around here I would not expect you to know anything about what I refer to. Local Yankee families actually helped these prisoners of war by smuggling in necessities, but it's not difficult to discover, since there's a plaque right on the entrance to what is now a park. You know why I say, DOH," right?? lol
Speaking of the past --- and of Twilight Zone at the same time --- have you seen the episode called, "A Stop at Willoughby?"
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 22, 2015:
Huntgoddess, appreciate your enjoyment of this article and it's subject. I remember the Twilight Zone. It was on every Friday night.
What is the point of making fun of history? That's like making fun of the child one used to be before becoming grown up and enlightened. The one is necessary in order to accomplish the other.
I expect a lot of people will be laughing at all of us a hundred or two hundred years from now and thinking how quaint we were.
I find it hard to believe that both father and son are stepping into the past because time is moving that fast. Most young people today don't know who either of the Douglases are.
Huntgoddess from Midwest U.S.A. on August 21, 2015:
Just stating my personal opinion, dear.
A few months go, my daughter and her hubby were watching an old b/w show on non-cable TV. It was an episode of Twilight Zone. I remembered it well, and I was so glad to see it again. They were ridiculing it because of its dated "look".
I said, "Ok, you people from the future. You're not even born yet. Why am I listening to your voices?"
Tee, hee! LOL
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 21, 2015:
Huntgoddess, your devotion to Kirk Douglas is strong, no doubt about it, but I think who is the 'bigger' star depends on what generation you're talking to. An awful lot of people don't know who Kirk Douglas is anymore -- and a lot of people don't know who Michael is either! They've both been out of the limelight for so long. Time flies. ;) So glad you enjoyed this article!
Huntgoddess from Midwest U.S.A. on August 16, 2015:
Michael Douglas is good, of course, but dad is the bigger star. Thanks.
Yes, I think you will like that movie.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 16, 2015:
Huntgoddess, thank you for adding that information. I don't think I saw that movie, but I bet it's a good one. I always liked Michael Douglas, too.
Huntgoddess from Midwest U.S.A. on August 14, 2015:
Dad and son did make a movie together, and it was pretty good, I think.
There was a little homage to Kirk's old friend, Burt Lancaster, also.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 11, 2015:
Huntgoddess, so glad you enjoy this article. I think he was pretty awesome too, but more because he stood up for what was right and placed himself in danger to do it. Not many people would do that and so to me he is a hero.
Huntgoddess from Midwest U.S.A. on August 09, 2015:
So good to hear from you also dear.
Yes let's hope we you will have much updating ahead of you.
He's just awesome. My stepdad took me to see him at the little neighborhood (second showing -- after the big downtown theaters) to watch Lust for Life. I'll never forget that.
Take care and God bless.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 01, 2015:
Huntgoddess, so good to see you again! Thank you for stopping by. Yes, I point out in the first paragraph that Mr. Douglas is 98 and will be 99 this coming December. I try to remember to update this article regularly so as to keep up with his age.
Huntgoddess from Midwest U.S.A. on July 30, 2015:
He's still alive. He's 98 now.
I guess he could have died this morning, or something, but there is no dod listed, and all the sites I found write of him in the present tense.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on April 12, 2015:
Peggy W, thank you for pinning and sharing this article!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 12, 2015:
I never realized that Kirk Douglas had authored that many books. His film career is legendary and most people, I am sure, would recognize him for that. Sharing this once again and pinning to Awesome Hubpages.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 25, 2015:
Shyron, thank you for the votes and share and for taking time from your busy schedule to comment. I know with things getting closer to the line it must be hard to think about anything else but the outcome of that zoning issue. Yes, Kirk is a hero in my mind for standing up for what was right and chancing that he would lose everything too.
Blessings and hugs to you and John, too. Thank you for being my friend.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 24, 2015:
Paula (fpherj48), thank you for reading and commenting on this article. I've updated it a little. In fact Mr. Douglas is currently 98 years old and will be 99 if he makes it 'till December 9th. Good luck to him in reaching that great age! Thanks for the votes and the Tweet!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 23, 2015:
Tillsontitan, thank you for finding this article at last! For the votes and your wonderful tribute to Kirk. I still maintain that as great as his career has been, it is the man's courage for standing up for others who were being harassed by the communist witch hunters that impresses me most. He might have been black listed himself for standing up for these people and had to know that, yet he did the right thing anyway.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on March 21, 2015:
Au fair, I love this, I see what you mean what we were talking about, I am glad Kirk was not blacklisted. The movie industry would have lost out if he had been.
Voted up, UABI and shared
Blessings and hugs
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 21, 2015:
Pstraubie48, thank you for stopping by and reading/commenting on this article and always for the angels. Kirk Douglas is a hero from my perspective because he stood up to Senator McCarthy, who was accusing everyone he didn't like and who didn't do his bidding of being a Communist and ruining their careers and their lives. Kirk Douglas stood up to the man regarding other people despite the danger to himself in so doing. I've written about it here. It takes a courageous person to stand up and possibly lose everything for doing what's right.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 20, 2015:
Paul Kuehn, thank you for your kind words, and for the votes and shares. The reason I personally admire the man is not for his acting and writing, but for standing up for what was right at a time when it was dangerous to do that. We might never have heard of him if things had gone differently. Yes, I'm speaking of the McCarthy communist witch hunts.
Suzie from Carson City on March 19, 2015:
Au fait.....I thoroughly enjoyed this piece on the Hollywood legend we know as Kirk Douglas. Thank you for some interesting facts on the wonderful man, of which I hadn't been aware. The "97" part gave me quite a start even though I'm aware his age certainly had to be up there!
I appreciated the videos and am also pleased you listed his books. No doubt Kirk is a true Star and kind human being as well.....UP++Tweeted
Mary Craig from New York on March 19, 2015:
I must've been under my rock again to miss this great hub. What better subject than the marvelous Kirk Douglas! Talk of superstars and his name will surely come up. If his marvelous acting and writing talents don't get you that dimpled chin will! Great hub on a great man....the list of books is almost as impressive as his films.
Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 19, 2015:
An actor I never tire of watching perform and I had NO idea he was an author.
I am going to locate his books at the library and give them a read.
Thanks, AuFait for the heads up.
Angels are on the way to you this wee early morning hour ps
Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on March 19, 2015:
Au Fait, How could I have not commented and read this awesome review of Kirk Douglas' contributions and accomplishments until now. I never realized until now that Douglas wrote so many books which I must start reading. Spartacus was a great movie which I still remember. Voted up as awesome, interesting, and useful. Sharing with HP followers and on Facebook.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 13, 2013:
Thank you for pinning this article moonlake! One of the advantages of not having a TV is that I don't have to hear all that drama. :)
moonlake from America on December 10, 2013:
Came back to pin this on my Hub Board...Seems his son is having his share of problems.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 28, 2013:
Thank you Shyron. So glad you enjoyed.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 28, 2013:
Thank you Peggy W tweeting this hub!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 25, 2013:
Thank you rajan jolly, for reading, commenting, voting on and sharing this article. My article is the only one online with a comprehensive list of Kirk Douglas's books. The thing that most impresses me is that he stood up to the witch hunters risking harm to himself and his own career.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 25, 2013:
Came back to share this interesting hub about Kirk Douglas again by tweeting. Thanks for writing this. :)
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 23, 2013:
Kirk Douglas has always been one of my favorite actors. I like his son also. I have seen some of his books in the book stores, but never read any of them. It is amazing that actors have time to write.
Voted up, amazing, interesting, shared and pinned.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 23, 2013:
Au fait, I'd no idea Kirk Douglas is a writer as well. I have always thought of him as only a Hollywood actor. I'd have loved to watch the video of his interview but in China where I am right now you tube is blocked as are some other websites.
Voted up, interesting and shared.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 16, 2013:
Thank you Deborah-Diane for reading and voting on this article and especially for sharing your thoughts. Now you can read Kirk Douglas for your next book club meeting! :)
Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on May 08, 2013:
Reading your article about Kirk Douglas was amazing! I didn't know most of this information, even though I saw many Kirk Douglas movies when I was young. I had no idea that he had written books, too! Voted up!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on April 28, 2013:
Thank for reading and commenting on this hub, Careermommy!
Kirk Douglas was not blacklisted during the famous communist witch hunts. He was the first to stand up for a man who was picked on and whom they tried to black list, and could well have been black listed himself for his bravery, but he prevailed and helped the ludicrous communist hunt come to an end. :)
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on April 28, 2013:
Thank you moonlake for reading and commenting and sharing this hub! I hope you found the books you wanted and enjoyed reading them!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on April 26, 2013:
Thank you JayeWisdom for reading, voting on, and especially for sharing your knowledge and perspective on Kirk Douglas. He is to my thinking an unsung hero and I want people to know that he stood up for what was right even at his own peril.
I know what you mean about Elia Kazan. When artists (actors, singers, producers, etc.) go too far in a way that I find offensive it's hard to think of them the same way anymore.
Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on April 21, 2013:
What a great tribute to Kirk Douglas. He had a very long career. I had know idea he was one of the Hollywood stars that was blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Very nice bio.
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on April 21, 2013:
I returned to mention that the exact opposite of the courageous and morally right Kirk Douglas during the McCarthy era was Elia Kazan, a snake-in-the-grass who named names of colleagues who weren't really Communists, but made them scapegoats and ruined their livelihoods in an effort to save his own neck. Elia Kazan was the exact opposite of Kirk Douglas--weak and cowardly rather than strong and courageous. I avoided all of Kazan's work because of his actions. Whether or not he had talent no longer mattered, and a lot of people felt that way.
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on April 21, 2013:
Hi, Au fait...I've always been a major fan of Kirk Douglas as an actor, then later as an author. His autobiography, THE RAGMAN'S SON, was very moving, and I've read his other books, both fiction and non-fiction (except for the newer one) as well. I plan to read his latest. Although his stroke robbed him of much of his speaking voice, it did not silence Kirk Douglas.
One of his most important and courageous actions was to stand up to Joe McCarthy's blacklist.
Thanks for this tribute to a deserving actor/writer/humanitarian.
moonlake from America on April 21, 2013:
I came back your right that is the movie I liked with Kirk Douglas and Kim Novak. I need to use up some gift cards at Barns & Noble I will have to check out his books and maybe get one of them for my nook. Voted up and shared.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 06, 2013:
sgbrown, thank you for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub! Glad you enjoyed.
Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on January 05, 2013:
I have always like Kirk Douglas. I agree, Michael is ok, but just doesn't have the aura his dad did. I learned several things about Kirk that I did not know. Thanks for the information! Voted up and interesting! :)
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 16, 2012:
Kirk did make a lot of good movies, and yes, 96 years old is pretty amazing. Thank you for stopping by Shyron. You're always appreciated!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 15, 2012:
DDE, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub! Glad you enjoyed!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 15, 2012:
Thank you Peggy W, for reading and commenting on, and sharing this hub! Glad you enjoyed. Kirk Douglas turned 96 years old just 6 days ago.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on December 11, 2012:
12-9-12 Kirk Douglas turned 96, how awesome is that? I saw all of Kirk's movies.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 11, 2012:
Truly unbelievable, 96 he was a great actor with many titles. I have watched a few of his movies. Thanks for the insightful Hub.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 09, 2012:
Kirk Douglas certainly has had a great effect on the movie industry. His iconic Spartacus film will long outlast most of us alive today. That black listing during the McCarthy era was terrible and as you said, many careers and lives were forever changed. Good for Kirk Douglas that he stood up to that...and won! I did not know his part in that.
This is a terrific hub and I enjoyed reading it immensely, including watching both videos. Many up votes and sharing!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 04, 2012:
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views on some of his movies, Shyron!
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on December 02, 2012:
Awesome hub, hard to stay away from this one.
Can't think of one of his movies I did not like. I especially like if "Lust for Life" in which he played Van Gogh and "A Letter to Three Wives."
Kirk Douglas is a very special man.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on November 28, 2012:
Thank you moonlake for reading and commenting on this hub. Glad you enjoyed.
Could the movie you're thinking of have been "Strangers When We Meet" made in 1960 also including Walter Matthau, Ernie Kovacs, and Barbara Rush?
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on November 27, 2012:
Thank you for reading and commenting on this hub, Shyron. I thought everyone should know the part Kirk Douglas played in helping to end the communist witch hunt.
moonlake from America on November 25, 2012:
Have always liked Kirk Douglas. My favorite movie was one he did with Kim Novak. I just can't remember the name. Voted up on your interesting hub.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on November 24, 2012:
Kirk was a special person, much more than I imagined. Thank you for letting everyone know the person he was inside.
The witch hunt could very well be happening in today's politics.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on November 24, 2012:
rebeccamealey, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub! So glad you enjoyed it. When I read about what Kirk did, standing up for someone else and putting his own career at risk in doing so, and I think helping to end the witch hunt, I had to write about him.
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on November 21, 2012:
What an excellent Hub. I have long been a Kirk and Michael fan. They are so handsome. Your info and photos do them great justice.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on October 22, 2012:
Thank you for stopping by and leaving comments, Jen!
Jen on October 21, 2012:
I never knew this about Kirk Douglas. Interesting article. I always learn something when I read your articles. Thanks for this.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on June 19, 2012:
I didn't really take him that seriously until I understood the part he played in the Black List time period. Of the people who were alive at the time, most have forgotten what that was like. Truly a modern day witch hunt, and I am impressed that Kirk Douglas stood up to the hunters. Thank you Shyron for reading and commenting.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on June 18, 2012:
Thank you Bobby, for reading and commenting. Always appreciate your taking the time.
Actually, I wasn't all that impressed with Kirk until I learned about his part in the Black List Issue. I've never been all that crazy about the unattainable. I always admire people who have the guts to do the right thing when it needs doing and when it can be hazardous to their health.
Kirk was good in the parts he played, but frankly, James Garner and Michael Caine are more my type. Caine, too, is a good actor, but it is his pulling himself up out of poverty and making millions outside of acting that impresses me the most.
All of these people are 'real' people. Not sure if you know what I mean by that, but so many of the new stars just don't have it in quite the same way. Agree with you regarding Michael Douglas. I appreciate people who have faced adversity, lived to tell about it, and know what that's like.
Hope you're well Bobby . . . xx
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on June 17, 2012:
Au fait, very interesting hub, I have to do some research on this man. I thought of him as something different.
Glad you brought it to my attention. I will check it out.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on June 17, 2012:
Thank you R2-D2-2, for reading and commenting on my hub. Douglas was a legend in his own time for sure, but what most impressed me about him, and the reason I wrote about him here, is that he stood up to the witch hunters of his day. I like a person with chutzpah who uses it to do the right thing even at their own peril. It seems to me that they are never truly appreciated.
diogenes from UK and Mexico on June 17, 2012:
That rareity today, Kirk Douglas was a "man's
man," as well as a heart throb for many women. His son, Michael, although I enjoy his movies, will never have that "star quality" to me of Kirk.
Because dad came up the hard way, whereas Michael was born to great wealth and influence. You can see the humility in the father and the arrogance in the son.
Good portrayal Misty, was he your type?
R2-D2-2 from USA on June 16, 2012:
My mother always had a thing for Kirk Douglas. This article makes a person think. Time isn't kind to anybody no matter how much money they have. Didn't now about his part in the black list and don't really know much about it. Hard to believe anybody can still stay so busy at his age.