Kirk Douglas celebrated his 100th birthday on 9th of December. He is one of last living legends of Holywood’s “Golden era,” with an incredible career that spans over nearly seven decades.
His remarkable movie career includes three Oscar nominations, as well as an honorary Academy Award in 1996 for being “a creative and moral force in the motion picture community”. In 1981, President Jimmy Carter awarded him with a Presidential Medal of Honor.
St. Lawrence University entitled him with a Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 1958. He received many international awards, among them was his appointment in 1990 as Officier de la Legion d’Honneur for distinguished services to France in arts and letters.
He celebrated his birthday surrounded by several generations of family and Hollywood friends at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Kirk Douglas was always a man with style. “The theme from Rocky was played as he entered the Sunset Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel”- reports said.
His son, Michael Douglas, and daughter-in-law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, were in attendance as well as his wife Anne Douglas, 97, his grandchildren, Dylan, and Carys, his Rabbi, Steven Spielberg, comedian Don Rickles and many of his closest friends. Leaders of numerous charities and institutions in the United States and Israel that have received approximately $118 million over the years from Douglas and his wife, also attended.
His cardiologist, Dr. P.K. Shah, promised the actor that if he made it to 100, he could have a glass of vodka. “But before the vodka was presented in a comically large martini glass, Kirk Douglas sat and listened to the words from his loved ones as images from his classic film credits were played on a screen behind him, including Spartacus, Lust for Life, Paths of Glory and others played on a screen behind him” reported The Telegraph.
Mr. Douglas is best known for his roles in Champion, The Bad and the Beautiful, Lust for Life, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Gunfight at the OK Corral, Seven Days in May, Paths of Glory, Lonely Are the Brave, and of course Spartacus.
He has said his favorite acting roles were in Ace in the Hole, The Bad and the Beautiful, Act of Love, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Spartacus among others.
Douglas was born as Issur Danielovitch in extreme poverty in Amsterdam, New York, on December 9th, 1916. His parents were Russian Jews who immigrated to the USA in 1910 froChavissy, Mogilev Region, in the Russian Empire (today’s Belarus). Douglas went on to become one of the 20th century’s most popular movie actors.
He started his acting career in radio, theater, and television, but his friendship with Bacall helped him landing his first film role in the 1946 film The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers. Since then he has appeared in 90 films.
Douglas is credited with putting an end to the Hollywood Blacklist – which denied employment to those accused of having Communist ties. He publicly acknowledged former Communist Party member Dalton Trumbo as the screenwriter for Spartacus.
Douglas is the author of a well-received autobiography, The Ragman’s Son(1989) and of two best-seller novels, Dance with the Devil (1990) and The Gift (1992).
He survived a helicopter crash in 1991, later had a serious back injury and also suffered a life-threatening stroke in 1996.
He recently told Variety magazine that he feels “lonely” having seen all his friends die before him.
“I am now a hundred years old. I read about Hollywood, and I don’t know the people. Where is Burt? Where is Laurence Olivier? They’re all gone. I miss them. I feel lonely”.
He told Variety that he was doing more interviews than he used to and that is time for him to relax. He concluded by saying: “We’re doing this again when I’m 200”.