With a well-decorated career which spans over 6 decades, Kirk Douglas has indeed attained the status of a Hollywood legend. The three-time Oscar nominee has several accomplishments as a film and stage actor, producer, movie director and author. He is also well-known as the patriarch of the Douglas dynasty of talented movie makers as several of his descendants have equally distinguished themselves in various aspects of Hollywood.
Bio – How Old Is Kirk Douglas?
A centenarian, Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916. His parents Bryna and Herschel Danielovitch were Jewish emigrants from the Russian Empire. Growing up, he adopted the name “Izzy Demsky” which he ultimately changed to “Kirk Douglas” before joining the United States Navy during the Second World War.
As a young teenager, Douglas was able to stand out for his acting talent despite enduring a childhood of poverty and lack. He had his college education at St. Lawrence University, New York and for his impeccable acting talents, he was accepted to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts on a scholarship. He served in the United States Navy during WWII and was discharged in 1944, owing to war injuries.
Upon his return to New York, Douglas gained employment at a radio station while simultaneously working as a stage actor. He originally planned to remain a stage actor, however, he marked his screen debut in the film The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) alongside Barbara Stanwyck. His performance in the film gained him the attention of Hollywood as well as several other movie roles. Douglas cemented his leading-man status with his performance in the highly-acclaimed film Champion (1949) which earned him his first Academy Award nomination.
All through the 1950s and 1960s, Kirk Douglas retained his spot as a serial box-office star, featuring in many war and western movies, not excluding dramas. He received his second Academy Award nomination for his lead role in the melodrama film The Bad and the Beautiful (1952). He received a third Oscar nomination and also won a Golden Globe Award for his role in the 1956 biopic Lust for Life. While his acting career flourished, the Hollywood star delved into movie production with the establishment of his own film company Bryna Productions. The company produced about 19 films from 1955 and 1986 – some of which Douglas starred in.
Douglas starred in over 90 films all through his acting career and he was mainly known to play tough, cruel and leading characters which he portrayed in the most flamboyant acting style. He had a career-defining role as the lead star in the highly-acclaimed epic historical film Spartacus (1960) in which he also doubled as the executive producer. He marked his directorial debut in the 1973 film Scalawag followed by the Western film Posse (1975), doubling as the lead actor in both films.
Among several other accolades, Kirk Douglas received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-US president Jimmy Carter in 1981. He is also a recipient of the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award (1968), the American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award (1991), the Academy Honorary Award (1996) and the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award (1999).
Is He Dead?
Kirk Douglas survived a stroke back in January 1996 which temporarily impaired his speaking ability. Other than this major health scare, the Hollywood icon has enjoyed a sound condition for the greater part of his long life. He has fallen victim to a number of death hoaxes, the most notorious of which occurred in January 2017, a few weeks after his 101st birthday. The false claims were quickly rebuffed following a statement released by Douglas’ family. The centenarian is still very much alive and well at the time of compiling this publication.
Just like his Hollywood career, Kirk Douglas has equally had it good in terms of relationships. He is currently married to his wife of over 6 decades Anne Buydens (née Hannelore Marx). The duo met in Paris while Douglas was filming Lust for Life and they tied the knot on May 29, 1954. Prior to his present union, he was married for 8 years to Bermudian actress Diana Dill.
Kirk Douglas has 2 children from his first marital union; Academy Award-winning actor and producer Michael Douglas and film producer Joel Douglas. He also has 2 sons from his present union; TV and film producer Peter Douglas and actor-comedian Eric Douglas. His youngest son Eric died tragically in 2004 at age 46.
Douglas has at least 7 grandchildren. He has 3 from his first son Michael; Cameron Morrell Douglas (born 1978), Dylan Michael Douglas (born 2000) and Carys Zeta Douglas (born 2003) and 4 from his third son Peter; Kelsey Douglas (born 1992), Tyler Douglas (born 1996), Ryan Douglas (born 2000) and Jason Douglas (born 2003).
His Net Worth
Kirk Douglas amassed quite a decent fortune for himself throughout his 6-decade long showbiz career. A huge chunk of his wealth came from his long-running career as an actor, producer and director. He equally has a number of other bankable ventures and is known to be a big-time philanthropist alongside his wife Anne. His net worth is valued at a conservative estimate of $60 million.