Kirk Douglas – A Life In Pictures

Abhishek Srivastava - 33 weeks ago

Kirk had a fondness for disaster – he survived a mid-air collision between his chopper and a small plane, survived a stroke that robbed him of his voice. The life century, he scored, can also be attributed to his pacemaker that kept pumping life in him.

Kirk Douglas was the last surviving Hollywood superstar. Born Issur Danielovitch, Kirk Douglas parents hailed from Russia and left the country to escape the pogrom to finally settle in Amsterdam, New York. It was during a college vacation, Kirk’s friends debated what his name should be while working at a summer stock player. It was during that brainstorming session that the name Kirk Douglas was mooted and everyone agreed to it. 

Kirk made his debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers in 1946 but became a true blue Hollywood star after he appeared as a boxer in Champion in 1949, his eighth film.  The film also fetched him his first Oscar nomination. 50s was also the era when Stanley Kubrick was an unknown name and was trying to make a foothold in Hollywood. It was during Kubrick’s struggling phase that Kirk agreed to appear in two films that were directed by him. Both Paths of Glory and Spartacus turned out to be two major highlights of his career. The artist in him also had a sharp eye on other the things too. While watching the Broadway Play One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, he saw cinematic potential and thus immediately purchased the rights to the film. 

Kirk was also a revolutionary in his own way. As the producer of Spartacus, he ensured that the he gave screen credit to Dalton Trumbo after he was accused of leftist leaning by the House of Un-American Activities Committee. It’s said that it also marked the moment when Hollywood blacklist ended. Kirk’s first audition was for Mae West. “Thank you for coming. You can go now,” were her words when she met her and it was also his first rejection. 

(Kirk Douglas with Peter Ustinov and Stanley Kubrick on the sets of Spartacus)

(On the sets of Spartacus with Tony Curtis and Jean Simons)

(On the sets of Cast a Giant Shadow with Yule Brynner)

(On the sets of 20000 Leagues Under the Sea)

(Sitting idle on the sets of Lust For Life)

(With director Mario Camerini on the sets of Ulysses)


Kirk Douglas / Spartacus / Paths of Glory / Champion / Stanley Kubrick / Mae West / Dalton Trumbo / New York

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