Kirk Douglas Celebrates 100th Birthday

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( — December 12, 2016) —Hollywood legend, Kirk Douglas, the star of movies such as “Spartacus” and “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral”, was born 100 years ago, as Issur Danielovitch, to a family of Russian immigrants from Chavusy, present-day Belarus. He has six sisters and came from a very poor family.

He legally changed his name to Kirk Douglas before entering the United States Navy during World War II. He joined the US Navy in 1941 where he was a communications officer in charge of detecting and destroying enemy submarines. He only spent only three years in the navy before he was honorably discharged due to an injury.

The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City noticed Douglas’s acting talents and gave him a special scholarship.

During an interview, he said that the first time he wished to be an actor was in kindergarten after he received a round of applause for reciting the poem ‘’The Red Robin of Spring”.

After the war, Douglas found work in theater, radio and commercials. Actress Lauren Bacall, one of his classmates, helped him get his first film role by recommending him to director Hal Wallis. Douglas’s debut appearance was in the film “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers” (1946), with Barbara Stanwyck.

The film reviews were good, and a prosperous career was ahead of him. He became one of the biggest movie stars in the 1950’s and 1960’s and appeared in more than 90 motion pictures.

According to Kirk, his favorite role was Vincent Van Gogh in “Lust for Life” from 1956, but his favorite film is “Spartacus” from 1960, as he was both the producer and actor in the film. He made a key step towards breaking the Hollywood blacklist by hiring a list of actors, directors and screenwriter whose careers suffered because of alleged connections to the communist movement.

Kirk Douglas has been honored by governments and organizations of various countries, won many film awards in the U.S., and was nominated several times for an Academy Award, and finally received an Honorary Oscar in 1966. This is the only Oscar that he won, although he was nominated for Best Actor for the movies “Champion”, “Bad and beautiful” and “Lust for Life.”

He was not only a great actor, but also a great seducer. Douglas was married twice – first to Diana Dill, in 1943. The couple had two sons, actor Michael Douglas and producer Joel Douglas. They divorced in 1951. His second wife was producer Anne Buydens. They married in 1954 and had two sons, producer Peter Douglas, and actor Eric Douglas who died in 2004 due to an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription drugs.

Kirk Douglas, now a hundred years old, is in good condition. He suffered a stroke in 1966 which impaired his speech, but the actor went on to appear in smaller roles up until 2008.

He celebrated his milestone birthday in Beverly Hills with friends, family, his Rabbi and doctor, who promised him years ago, that if he lived to 100, he could have a glass of vodka.