Biography of Kirk Douglas:- American film actor, one of the mythical names of classical Hollywood melodrama. The gangster’s son , as is often presented with pride, made his Broadway debut in 1941, but after playing small roles he enlisted in the military to fight in World War II. In 1945 returned to Broadway with short papers, and worked in the radio, before happening to the cinema the following year, already with the stage name of Kirk Douglas.
Biography of Kirk Douglas
- Born:- 9 December 1916 (age 100), Amsterdam, New York, United States
- Height:- 1.75 m
- Grandchildren:- Cameron Douglas, Carys Zeta Douglas
- Children:- Michael Douglas, Eric Douglas, Joel Douglas, Peter Douglas
- Spouse:- Anne Buydens (m. 1954), Diana Douglas (m. 1943–1951)
In 1949 he was consecrated as a front-line star with the convincing interpretation of an unscrupulous boxer who made his way to the top in The Mud Idol . He was the type of personage that would interpret better in the following films: arrogant, egoistic, passionate, strong and egocentric. He was nominated for an Oscar for The Mud Idol , Cautivos del Mal and El Loco del pelo rojo . In 1955 he founded his production company, with which he produced both his films and those of others, and in the early 70’s, while still playing leading roles, embarked on the film direction.
Born in a humble family of emigrants, Kirk Douglas studied at St. Lawrence University between 1935 and 1939. After graduating in Arts, he entered the Academy of Dramatic Arts, where he studied acting for two years. In 1943 he married for the first time with Diana Hill, of which he divorced in 1951 and with whom he had two children: Joel and also actor and producer Michael. While attending acting classes, he began his career as an amateur actor in New York and Pennsylvania and as a theater teacher at the House Settlement in Greenwich.
In 1941 it made debut in Broadway with the work Spring Again . Among his early works in the theater highlights entitled The Three Sisters , which appears under the pseudonym George Spelvin Jr . During World War II enlisted in the navy and reached to the degree of lieutenant, and was at the end the conflict when it debuted in the cinema, giving life to the bitter husband of Barbara Stanwyck in the melodrama directed by Lewis Milestone The strange love of Martha Ivers (1946).
His second role on the big screen came in Jacques Tourneur’s Return to the Past (1947). That same year he signed a five-year contract with independent producer Hal B. Wallis, but only broke it a year later. In The Idol of Mud (1949), by Mark Robson, had his first starring role, with which he released his vigorous physique and the characteristic dimple of his chin. He played a boxer whose character fit perfectly the characteristics of his cinematic personality: ambitious, fighter and without too many scruples. With this film he got his first Oscar nomination.
After signing an exclusive contract for Warner Brothers, he starred in a series of films that consolidated his position in stardom, such as Young man with a horn (1950), cinematographic biography of jazz trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke directed by Michael Curtiz and in which Douglas shared a poster with Lauren Bacall and Doris Day. One of his first great characters was that of journalist Chuck Tatum in Billy Wilder’s The Great Carnival (1951) , which delayed the rescue of a man buried in a cave to get his great report and regain lost prestige.
In Captives of Evil (1952) by Vincente Minnelli, he added a touch of sophistication to the line of his hard and inflexible characters, in a role for which he obtained his second Oscar nomination; Played film producer Jonathan Shields, who manipulated and nearly destroyed the lives of his closest collaborators – his director, writer and star, played by Lana Turner – to achieve the best artistic results.
Minnelli became one of the fundamental directors of his career: both returned to collaborate in the red hair madman (1956), biography of the painter Vincent Van Gogh by which Douglas, in one of his great interpretations, obtained his third nomination to the Oscar, as well as the New York Critics’ Award. Anthony Quinn accompanied him playing his friend, the painter Paul Gauguin. Two weeks in another city (1962) was the third and last of the collaborations of the director and the star. Set in the world of cinema, Douglas gives extraordinary life to a declining actor desperately struggling for a last chance.
In 1954 Kirk Douglas married Anne Badyens, with whom he had two children, Peter and Eric. During the fifties he played, under the orders of some of the best directors of the moment, a series of roles that forged his legend as an actor and made him a favorite of the public and critics during this period. Brigade 21 (1951), directed by William Wyler , or River of Blood (1952), in which he worked under Howard Hawks, are two of the most famous titles.
His strength and character made him stand out in the western, genre in which deserves special mention his collaborations with the director John Sturges. The first of them was Duel of titans (1957), in which it interpreted to Doc Holliday in a review of the mythical duel in OK Corral; In the second, The Last Train of Gun Hill (1959), gave life to a sheriff who persecutes the murderers of his Indian wife. Also within the genre of the western carried out the prairie without law (1955), of King Vidor, in which it interpreted to a cowboy that fights against the harassment of the civilization and the fenced with wire of the fields.
If the role that Vincente Minnelli gave him was fundamental in his career, no less important was his collaboration with Stanley Kubrick . Trails of Glory (1957) were their first work in film world. Written by Kubrick himself in collaboration with the great detective novel Jim Thompson, his virulent antimilitarism prevented his production until Kirk Douglas became personally interested in the project and decided to produce it through his company, the Bryna Productions, reducing his salary to Nine hundred thousand dollars, almost a third of the usual.
Paths of Glory tells the story of Colonel Dax, sent during World War I to a suicide mission and bombed during the retreat by his own artillery. Three years later he returned to collaborate with Kubrick in Spartacus (1960). Douglas interpreted the slave that revolts against the power of its masters in the imperial Rome; Was one of the great roles of his career. Laurence Olivier and Tony Curtis completed the cast. In both films he played with his usual intensity a hero of iron will, a noble leader who at the end suffered an unjust defeat.
Within the films produced by Douglas highlights another epic show, The Vikings (1962), by Richard Fleischer. Shot in Europe and starring Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine and Janet Leigh, in addition to Douglas himself, he is among the most violent films in his filmography. During the sixties, and thanks to the position of privilege reached in Hollywood, exerted a greater artistic and commercial control on his films, many of them produced by himself. In this period he especially emphasized Seven Days of May (1964), of John Frankenheimer, in which it interpreted to a patriotic official of dark personality that unveils a military plot to overthrow the president. It also began at this time to work occasionally on television.
His strong personality often led him to collide with the directors; In the seventies he decided to take risks and start directing his own films. It debuted in this facet with Pata de palo (1973) that constituted a sonorous failure. Between its production like director it emphasized Los justicieros del Oeste (1975), western convincing and demolishing in which it returned to interpret a selfish and ambitious man.
None of the films starring Douglas since the 1970s had the impact of his previous films; Nevertheless, the actor knew to maintain like one of the interpreters of first rank of his generation. In the last years of race Kirk Douglas dedicated much of its energies to the production, as well as to the writing of its biography, titled The son of the ragpicker and published in 1988.
In 1981 he received the Medal of Freedom, granted by the President of the United States, and in 1985 the Legion of Honor of the Republic of France, in recognition of one of the greatest actors in the recent history of American cinema, capable of interpreting With equal intensity heroes or villains. In 1996, the Hollywood Academy awarded him an Oscar for his film career and in 2001, the Berlin Film Festival awarded him the Golden Bear in recognition of his career as an actor. Two years later, the patriarch of the clan Douglas interpreted next to its son Michael It runs in the family.