Douglas, Kirk

Douglas, Kirk
orig. Issur Danielovitch later Isadore Demskey

born Dec. 9, 1916, Amsterdam, N.Y., U.S.

U.S. film actor and producer.

He had minor Broadway roles before making his film debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) and emerged as a major star in Champion (1949). Despite giving sensitive performances in The Glass Menagerie (1950) and Paths of Glory (1957), he became identified with the intense, forceful roles he played in films such as The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), Lust for Life (1956), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), and Seven Days in May (1964). He produced and starred in Spartacus (1960). He continued to appear in films into the 21st century.

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▪ American actor and producer
original name  Issur Danielovitch  also called  Isadore Demsky 
born December 9, 1916, Amsterdam, New York, U.S.
 American film actor and producer best known for his portrayals of resolute, emotionally charged heroes and antiheroes.

 The son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Douglas worked as an usher, a bellhop, a waiter, and a professional wrestler while attending St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York (B.A., 1939) and the American Academy of Dramatic Art (1939–41) in New York City. He played mostly minor roles on Broadway before and soon after service in the U.S. Navy (1943–44) and then was drawn to Hollywood. After his first film, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) with Barbara Stanwyck (Stanwyck, Barbara), Douglas played supporting roles in several notable films, including Out of the Past (1947), Mourning Becomes Electra (1947), and I Walk Alone (1948). He emerged as a star with an Oscar-nominated performance as a ruthless boxer in Champion (1949). In this film, Douglas established a screen persona of a cocky, intense, self-absorbed individual. His on-screen charisma made him an audience favourite despite numerous such roles in which he portrayed men with an abundance of tragic flaws. “I've made a career of playing sons-of-bitches,” he once said.

 A robust, athletic man with a distinctive, much-imitated voice and a deeply cleft chin, Douglas worked with several renowned directors on some of the most highly regarded films of the 1950s. He portrayed a self-destructive jazz musician, loosely based on cornetist Bix Beiderbecke (Beiderbecke, Bix), in Michael Curtiz (Curtiz, Michael)'s Young Man with a Horn (1950); an unscrupulous reporter who attempts to capitalize on real-life tragedy in Billy Wilder (Wilder, Billy)'s Ace in the Hole (1951, also released as The Big Carnival); a western marshal consumed with guilt over his father's death in Raoul Walsh (Walsh, Raoul)'s Along the Great Divide (1951); a volatile and vengeful cop in William Wyler (Wyler, William)'s Detective Story (1951); and a corrupt motion-picture executive in Vincente Minnelli (Minnelli, Vincente)'s The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), for which Douglas received his second Oscar nomination. One of Douglas's most memorable performances was also one of his most atypical: his intense portrayal of tormented genius Vincent van Gogh (Gogh, Vincent van) in Minnelli's Lust for Life (1956) earned another Oscar nomination.

 Douglas maintained his status as a top box-office draw for the next decade with such quality films as Stanley Kubrick (Kubrick, Stanley)'s Paths of Glory (1957) and Spartacus (1960), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Devil's Disciple (1959), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), Seven Days in May (1964), and In Harm's Way (1965). Thereafter, the quality of Douglas's films declined, although he remained highly active, averaging at least one film per year until the late 1980s. The better films of his later career include The Brotherhood (1968), There Was a Crooked Man (1970), The Fury (1978), The Man from Snowy River (1982), and Tough Guys (1986), Douglas's seventh and last film with his close friend Burt Lancaster (Lancaster, Burt). Douglas also directed two films, the ill-conceived pirate comedy Scalawag (1973), and the cynical western adventure Posse (1975), which has become a cult favourite.

      Douglas is the author of a well-received autobiography, The Ragman's Son (1989), and of two best-selling novels, Dance with the Devil (1990) and The Gift (1992). He suffered a life-threatening stroke in 1995, but, befitting his scrappy image, he was back on screen four years later to portray the leading role in the comedy Diamonds (1999). Douglas received a Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1991 and an honorary Academy Award in 1996.

Additional Reading
Tony Thomas, The Films of Kirk Douglas (1972, reissued 1991); Diana Douglas Darrid, In the Wings: A Memoir (1999).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • DOUGLAS, KIRK — (originally Issur Danielovich Demsky; 1916– ), U.S. actor. Douglas was born in Amsterdam, N.Y. A good student and a keen athlete, he wrestled competitively during his time at St. Lawrence University. In 1939 he enrolled at the American Academy of …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Douglas,Kirk — Douglas, Kirk. Originally Issur Danielovitch. Born 1916. American actor noted for his portrayal of tough characters in films such as Champion (1949) and The Bad and the Beautiful (1953). He won an honorary Academy Award in 1996. * * * …   Universalium

  • Douglas, Kirk — (December 9, 1916– )    Few film actors have garnered the sort of international stardom that Kirk Douglas has enjoyed during his remarkable career of more than 53 years, encompassing some 80 motion pictures. Douglas has commanded the screen in a… …   The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick

  • DOUGLAS, Kirk — (1916– )    Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in New York, the cleft chinned, intensely masculine actor has been a significant force in Hollywood film since he began his career in 1946. The Westerns of Kirk Douglas span the classic Western era and… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • Douglas, Kirk — • ДУ ГЛАС (Douglas) Кёрк (наст. имя и . фам. Иссур Демски, Demsky) (p. 9.12. 1916, по др. данным, 1918)    амер. актёр, режиссёр, продюсер. Учился в Ун те святого Лаврентия, в Амер. академии драм, иск ва в Нью Йорке. С 1941 в т ре, с 1946 в кино… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Douglas, Kirk — ► (n. 1916) Nombre artístico de Issur Daniélovich Demsky, actor cinematográfico estadounidense. Películas: El ídolo de barro y Espartaco, entre otras. En 1973 se inició como realizador. En 1996 recibió un Oscar honorífico por el conjunto de su… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Douglas, Kirk — pseud. di Demsky, Issur Danielovič …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Kirk Douglas — Nombre real Issur Danielovitch Demsky Nacimiento 9 de diciembre de 1916 94 años …   Wikipedia Español

  • Douglas — Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Michael Kirk ► C. cap. de la isla británica de Man, en su costa SE, en el mar de Irlanda; 20 368 h. * * * (as used in expressions) Adrian, Edgar Douglas Bradbury, Ray (Douglas) Douglas, Aaron Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Michael …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Kirk Douglas — [Kirk Douglas] (1916–2005) a US film actor well known for playing tough characters. His films included Lust for Life (1956), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) and Spartacus (1960). In 1990 Douglas received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the …   Useful english dictionary

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