Kirk Douglas
American actor and film producer
Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas is an American stage and film actor, film producer and author. His popular films include Out of the Past, Champion (1949), Ace in the Hole (1951), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Lust for Life (1956), Paths of Glory (1957), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Vikings (1958), Spartacus (1960), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), The Heroes of Telemark (1965) and Tough Guys (1986).
Biography
Kirk Douglas's personal information overview.
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Photo Albums
Popular photos of Kirk Douglas
News
News abour Kirk Douglas from around the web
Kirk Douglas on Trumbo
NYTimes - about 5 years
The actor-producer <a class="fplink fp-165510" href="/kirk+douglas">Kirk Douglas</a> writes about his blacklisted friend Dalton Trumbo.
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NYTimes article
John Farr: Kirk Douglas Turns 95!
The Huffington Post - about 5 years
Should we call him "Spartacus"? Or "Champion"? Both names certainly fit the man. <a class="fplink fp-165510" href="/kirk+douglas">Kirk Douglas</a> turns 95 tomorrow, and he is still very much with...
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The Huffington Post article
Theater review: 'The Night Watcher' at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
LATimes - over 5 years
Charlayne Woodard’s manner is so disarmingly anecdotal in her effervescent solo show, “The Night Watcher,” that it takes a moment to realize that this isn’t our best girlfriend sharing confidences from the stage of the <a class="fplink fp-165510" href="/kirk+douglas">Kirk Douglas</a> Theatre but a performer whose luminous talent exceeds her limited stardom. She begins with a tale involving another gifted African American actress, the more famous Alfre Woodard (no relation), who called her up out of the blue to get Woodard and her husband to consider adopting a mixed-race baby that was about to be delivered at a Los Angeles hospital. This would seem to be an unusual thing to urge on a colleague, but it seems that many people have had a similar desire to put Woodard’s nurturing skills to good use. “The Night Watcher” can be seen as one woman’s defense of remaining childless. But it’s really about the many ways in which maternal love can be shown in a world badly in need of more guid ...
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LATimes article
'20000 Leagues Under the Sea' Story Details & Production Update - Screen Rant
Google News - over 5 years
While there will naturally be major differences between Fincher&#39;s take on the tale of Captain Nemo and the Mouse House&#39;s previous 1954 film version (no singing Kirk Douglas, this time around), there&#39;s been some question as to how much the new 20000
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Google News article
"This," at the Kirk Douglas Theatre this weekend, has potential but doesn't ... - Daily Bruin (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Daily Bruin arts and entertainment blog that brings you news, profiles, reviews and event coverage from around the UCLA community. Check back daily for all the latest in arts and entertainment. “This” – a simple title for a simple play
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Google News article
The (Nearly Legendary) Kirk Douglas - In & Out of Anthem
Google News - over 5 years
For many, the name “Kirk Douglas” conjures the image of the iconic actor, a legend in the world of film. For choir students at Boulder Creek High School, that Kirk Douglas probably isn&#39;t (and never has been) on their radar. But another Kirk Douglas,
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Google News article
STAGE TUBE: THIS Opens at the Kirk Douglas Theatre - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
THIS by Melissa James Gibson and directed by Daniel Aukin will play the Kirk Douglas Theatre through August 28, 2011. Click below to watch video footage from opening night! At the heart of &quot;This&quot; is Jane, a single mom in her late 30s who has shut down
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Google News article
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival: From Simone Weil to Kirk Douglas - Indie Wire (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Said on-the-lam friend is Kirk Douglas, earlier in the week the winner of the 2011 SFJFF Freedom of Expression Award. My dad allows as how he&#39;d like to have seen Kirk accept the award, given out at the Castro in SF the week before (along with a
Article Link:
Google News article
'This' opens in Culver City with Kirk Douglas watching - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
Kirk and Anne Douglas sat front row, center, at Sunday&#39;s opening night performance of &quot;This,&quot; Melissa James Gibson&#39;s play about changing relationships, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. &quot;I come to everything,&quot; said Douglas. &quot;Of course I do
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Google News article
Kirk Douglas: 'Romance and appreciation for my wife's beauty began at 80' - Daily Mail
Google News - over 5 years
But for Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas, it seems he had to wait until 80 to properly open his heart to the romance of the world. The legendary actor has revealed that it wasn&#39;t until his ninth decade that he gained a full
Article Link:
Google News article
Theater review: 'Sleeping Beauty Wakes' at La Jolla Playhouse - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
The show, which is playing at the La Jolla Playhouse in a co-production with New Jersey&#39;s McCarter Theatre Center, is a retooled version of a musical that had its world premiere in 2007 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. That earlier staging, a collaboration
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Google News article
Kirk Douglas Visits The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (PHOTOS) - Huffington Post
Google News - over 5 years
That was the sentiment amongst the &quot;Spartacus&quot;-fans who lined up at the Castro Theatre when 94-year-old Kirk Douglas took to the stage at the Jewish Film Festival. (Yes, the Kirk Douglas--the silver screen idol with the dimpled chin and chiseled
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Google News article
Kirk Douglas: in 'pretty good shape' at 94 - Telegraph.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
Kirk Douglas has had to fight all his life for his blacklisted friends, for his family, even for his dimple. And now, aged 94? He&#39;s a lover, not a fighter Kirk Douglas and Anne Douglas Buydens Circa 1965. Photo: ALAMY By Nigel Farndale No sooner does
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Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Kirk Douglas
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2015
    Age 98
    To celebrate his 99th birthday in December 2015, they donated another $15 million to help expand the facility with a new two-story Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion.
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    In March 2015, Kirk and his wife donated $2.3 million to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details Since the early 1990s Douglas and his wife have donated up to $40 million to Harry's Haven, an Alzheimer's treatment facility in Woodland Hills, to care for patients at the Motion Picture Home.
  • 2014
    Age 97
    In a 2014 article, Douglas cited The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Champion, Ace in the Hole, The Bad and the Beautiful, Act of Love, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Indian Fighter, Lust for Life, Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Lonely Are the Brave, and Seven Days in May as the films he was most proud of throughout his acting career.
    More Details Hide Details AFI Life Achievement Award Kennedy Center Honors Academy Awards Golden Globes Emmy Awards Screen Actors Guild Awards BAFTA Awards BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards Berlin International Film Festival Cesar Awards Hollywood Film Festival National Board of Review New York Film Critics Circle Award In 1983, Douglas received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards. In 1996, Douglas received an Honorary Academy Award for "50 years as a moral and creative force in the motion picture community." The award was presented by producer/director Steven Spielberg. As a result of Douglas's stroke the previous summer, however, in which he lost most of his speaking ability, his close friends and family were concerned about whether he should try to speak, or what he should say. Both his son, Michael, and his long-time friend, Jack Valenti, urged him to only say "Thank you," and leave the stage. Douglas agreed. But when standing in front of the audience, he had second thoughts: "I intended to just say 'thank you,' but I saw 1,000 people, and felt I had to say something more, and I did." Valenti remembers that after Douglas held up the Oscar, addressed his sons, and told his wife how much he loved her, everyone was astonished at his voice's improvement:
  • 2006
    Age 89
    He notes in his memoir, Let's Face It (2007), that he felt compelled to write to former president Jimmy Carter in 2006 in order to stress that "Israel is the only successful democracy in the Middle East... and has had to endure many wars against overwhelming odds.
    More Details Hide Details If Israel loses one war, they lose Israel." On January 28, 1996, he suffered a severe stroke, impairing his ability to speak. Doctors told his wife that unless there was rapid improvement, the loss of the ability to speak was likely permanent. After a regime of daily voice therapy that lasted several months, his ability to speak returned, although it was still limited. He was able to accept an honorary Academy Award two months later in March and thank the audience. He wrote about this experience in a book, My Stroke of Luck, which he hoped would be an "operating manual" for others on how to handle a stroke victim in their own family. Douglas blogs semi-regularly; originally hosted on Myspace, his posts have been hosted by the Huffington Post since 2012. He is believed to be the oldest celebrity blogger in the world.
  • 2004
    Age 87
    In Culver City, they opened the Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2004.
    More Details Hide Details They have also supported the Anne Douglas Childhood Center at the Sinai Temple of Westwood.
    Although his children had a non-Jewish mother, Douglas states that they were "aware culturally" of his "deep convictions," and he never tried to influence their own religious decisions. Douglas' wife, Anne, converted to Judaism before they renewed their wedding vows in 2004.
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    Eric Douglas died on July 6, 2004, of a drug overdose.
    More Details Hide Details In February 1991, Douglas was injured in a collision between the helicopter he was in and a small plane above Santa Paula Airport. Two other people were also injured; two people on the plane were killed. This near-death experience sparked a search for meaning by Douglas, which led him, after much study, to embrace the Judaism in which he had been raised. He documented this spiritual journey in his book Climbing the Mountain: My Search for Meaning (2001). In his earlier autobiography, The Ragman's Son (1988), he recalled, "years back, I tried to forget that I was a Jew," but later in his career he began "coming to grips with what it means to be a Jew," which became a theme in his life. In an interview in 2000, he explained this transition: Douglas notes that the underlying theme of some of his films, including The Juggler (1953), Cast a Giant Shadow (1966), and Remembrance of Love (1982), was about "a Jew who doesn't think of himself as one, and eventually finds his Jewishness." The Juggler was the first Hollywood feature to be filmed in the newly established state of Israel. Douglas recalls that while there, he saw "extreme poverty and food being rationed." But he found it "wonderful, finally, to be in the majority." Its producer, Stanley Kramer, tried to portray "Israel as the Jews' heroic response to Hitler's destruction."
  • 2003
    Age 86
    In 2003, his sons Michael Douglas and Joel Douglas produced It Runs in the Family, which along with Kirk starred various family members, including Michael, Michael's son, and his wife from 50 years earlier, Diana Dill, playing his wife.
    More Details Hide Details In March 2009, Douglas did an autobiographical one-man show, Before I Forget, at the Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, California. The four performances were filmed and turned into a documentary that was first screened in January 2010. Douglas stated that the keys to acting success are determination and application: "You must know how to function and how to maintain yourself, and you must have a love of what you do. But an actor also needs great good luck. I have had that luck." Douglas had great vitality and explained that "it takes a lot out of you to work in this business. Many people fall by the wayside because they don't have the energy to sustain their talent." That attitude toward acting became evident with Champion (1949). From that one role, writes biographer John Parker, he went from stardom and entered the "superleague," where his style was in "marked contrast to Hollywood's other leading men at the time." His sudden rise to prominence is explained and compared to that of Jack Nicholson's:
  • 1999
    Age 82
    Douglas celebrated a second Bar-Mitzvah ceremony in 1999, aged 83.
    More Details Hide Details Douglas and his wife have donated to various non-profit causes during his career, and were planning on donating most of their $80 million net worth. Among the donations have been those to his former high school and college. In September 2001, he helped fund his high school's musical, Amsterdam Oratorio, composed by Maria Riccio Bryce, who won the school Thespian Society's Kirk Douglas Award in 1968. In 2012 he donated $5 million to St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. The college used the donation for the scholarship fund he began in 1999. He has donated to various schools, medical facilities and other non-profit organizations in southern California. These have included the rebuilding of over 400 Los Angeles Unified School District playgrounds that were aged and in need of restoration. They established the Anne Douglas Center for Homeless Women at the Los Angeles Mission, which has helped hundreds of women turn their lives around.
    He underwent years of voice therapy and made Diamonds in 1999, in which he played an old prizefighter who was recovering from a stroke.
    More Details Hide Details It costarred his longtime friend from his early years, Lauren Bacall.
  • 1996
    Age 79
    In 1996, after suffering a severe stroke which impaired his ability to speak, Douglas still wanted to make movies.
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  • 1992
    Age 75
    Among them was The Secret in 1992, a television movie about a grandfather and his grandson who both struggle with dyslexia.
    More Details Hide Details That same year, he played the uncle of Michael J. Fox in a comedy, Greedy.
  • 1988
    Age 71
    In 1988, Douglas starred in a television adaptation of Inherit the Wind, opposite Jason Robards and Jean Simmons.
    More Details Hide Details The film won two Emmy Awards. In the 1990s, Douglas continued starring in various features.
  • 1986
    Age 69
    In 1986, he co-hosted (with Angela Lansbury) the New York Philharmonic's tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.
    More Details Hide Details The symphony was conducted by Zubin Mehta.
    In 1986, he reunited with his longtime costar, Burt Lancaster, in a crime comedy, Tough Guys, which included Charles Durning and Eli Wallach.
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  • 1982
    Age 65
    In 1982, he starred in The Man from Snowy River, an Australian film which received critical acclaim and numerous awards.
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  • 1981
    Age 64
    For all his goodwill efforts, Douglas received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Jimmy Carter in 1981.
    More Details Hide Details Upon giving the award, Carter said that Douglas has "done this in a sacrificial way, almost invariably without fanfare and without claiming any personal credit or acclaim for himself." In subsequent years, he testified before Congress about abuse of the elderly. Douglas has been a lifelong supporter of the Democratic Party. He has on occasion written letters to politicians who were friends.
  • 1980
    Age 63
    In 1980, he flew to Cairo to talk with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
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    In 1980, he starred in The Final Countdown, playing the commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, which travels through time to the day before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
    More Details Hide Details It was produced by his son Peter Douglas.
  • 1978
    Age 61
    In 1978, he costarred with John Cassavetes and Amy Irving in a horror film, The Fury, directed by Brian De Palma.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1973
    Age 56
    Also in 1973, Douglas appeared in a made-for-TV musical version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
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    In 1973, he directed his first film, Scalawag.
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  • 1970
    Age 53
    In 1970, he starred in a western, There Was a Crooked Man, alongside Henry Fonda.
    More Details Hide Details The film was produced and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
    Between 1970 and 2008, Douglas made nearly 40 movies and appeared on various television shows.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1963
    Age 46
    Douglas bought the rights to the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest from its author, Ken Kesey. He turned it into a play in 1963 in which he starred, and it ran on Broadway for five months.
    More Details Hide Details Reviews were mixed. Douglas retained the movie rights, but after a decade of being unable to find a producer, gave the rights to his son, Michael. In 1975, the film version was produced by Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz, and starred Jack Nicholson, as Douglas was then considered too old to play the character as written. It won five Academy Awards, including one for Nicholson. Douglas made seven films over the decades with Burt Lancaster: I Walk Alone (1948), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Devil's Disciple (1959), The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), Seven Days in May (1964), Victory at Entebbe (1976) and Tough Guys (1986), which fixed the notion of the pair as something of a team in the public imagination. Douglas was always second-billed under Lancaster in these movies but, with the exception of I Walk Alone, in which Douglas played a villain, their roles were more or less the same size. Both actors arrived in Hollywood at the same time, and first appeared together in the fourth film for each, albeit with Douglas in a supporting role. They both became actor-producers who sought out independent Hollywood careers.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1955
    Age 38
    In 1955, Douglas formed his own movie company, Bryna Productions, named after his mother.
    More Details Hide Details To do so, he had to break contracts with Hal Wallis and Warner Brothers, but then began producing his own films, as varied as Paths of Glory (1957) "The Vikings" (1958) Spartacus (1960), Lonely are the Brave (1962) and Seven Days in May (1964); he starred in all of these. While Paths of Glory did not do well at the box office, it has since become one of the great anti-war films, and one of early films by director Stanley Kubrick. Douglas plays a sympathetic French officer during World War I who tries to save three soldiers from the firing squad. Biographer Vincent LoBrutto describes Douglas's "seething but controlled portrayal exploding with the passion of his convictions at the injustice leveled at his men." The film was banned in France until 1976. Before production of the film began, however, Douglas and Kubrick had to work out some major issues, one of which was Kubrick's rewriting the screenplay without informing Douglas first. It led to their first major argument: "I called Stanley to my room... I hit the ceiling. I called him every four-letter word I could think of... 'I got the money, based on that original script. Not this shit!' I threw the script across the room. 'We're going back to the original script, or we're not making the picture.' Stanley never blinked an eye. We shot the original script.
  • 1954
    Age 37
    They married on May 29, 1954, and in 2014 they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.
    More Details Hide Details They had two sons, producer Peter Douglas and actor Eric Douglas.
  • 1951
    Age 34
    Also in 1951, Douglas starred in Detective Story, nominated for four Academy Awards, including one for Lee Grant in her debut film.
    More Details Hide Details Grant said Douglas was "dazzling, both personally and in the part.... He was a big, big star. Gorgeous. Intense. Amazing." To prepare for the role, he spent days with the New York police department and sat in on interrogations. Reviewers recognized Douglas's acting qualities, with Bosley Crowther describing Douglas as "forceful and aggressive as the detective." In The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), another of his three Oscar-nominated roles, Douglas plays a hard-nosed film producer who manipulates and uses his actors, writers, and directors. "It's difficult to make a movie about making movies, and to make it believable," Douglas says. The film won five Academy Awards out of six nominations. In Young Man with a Horn (1950), Douglas portrays the rise and fall of a driven jazz musician, based on real-life horn player Bix Beiderbecke. Composer-pianist Hoagy Carmichael, playing the sidekick role, added realism to the film and gave Douglas insight into the role, being a friend of the real Beiderbecke.
    In 1951, Douglas starred as a newspaper reporter anxiously looking for a big story in Ace in the Hole, director Billy Wilder's first effort as both writer and producer.
    More Details Hide Details The subject and story was controversial at the time, and U.S. audiences stayed away. Some reviews saw it as "ruthless and cynical a distorted study of corruption, mob psychology and the free press." Possibly it "hit too close to home," says Douglas. It won a best foreign film award at the Venice Film Festival. The film's stature has increased in recent years, with some surveys placing it in their top 500 films list. Woody Allen considers it one of his favorite films. As the film's star and protagonist, Douglas is credited for the intensity of his acting. Roger Ebert described "Douglas's focus and energy … as almost scary. There is nothing dated about his performance. It's as right now as a sharpened knife." Biographer Gene Philips notes that Wilder's story was "galvanized" by Douglas's "astounding performance," and no doubt was a factor when George Stevens, who presented Douglas with the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1991, said of him: "No other leading actor was ever more ready to tap the dark, desperate side of the soul and thus to reveal the complexity of human nature."
  • 1949
    Age 32
    Douglas made his Broadway debut in 1949 in Three Sisters, produced by Katharine Cornell.
    More Details Hide Details Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Douglas was a major box-office star, playing opposite some of the leading actresses of that era. He played a frontier peace officer in his first western Along the Great Divide (1951). He quickly became very comfortable with riding horses and playing gunslingers, and appeared in many westerns. He considers Lonely Are the Brave (1962), in which he plays a cowboy trying to live by his own code, as his personal favorite. The film, written by Dalton Trumbo, was respected by critics, but did not do well at the box office due to poor marketing and distribution.
    In 1949, after a lead role as an unscrupulous boxing hero in Champion, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actor, Douglas became a star.
    More Details Hide Details Among his early films were Young Man with a Horn (1950), playing opposite Lauren Bacall, Billy Wilder's controversial Ace in the Hole (1951), and Detective Story (1951). He received a second Oscar nomination for his dramatic role in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), opposite Lana Turner. He is among the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood. In 1955, he established Bryna Productions, which began producing films as varied as Paths of Glory (1957) and Spartacus (1960). In those two films, he starred and collaborated with then relatively unknown director, Stanley Kubrick. Douglas helped break the Hollywood blacklist by having Dalton Trumbo write Spartacus with an official on-screen credit, although Trumbo's family claims he overstated his role. He produced and starred in Lonely Are the Brave (1962), considered a cult classic, and Seven Days in May (1964), opposite Burt Lancaster, with whom he made seven films. In 1963, he starred in the Broadway play One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a story he purchased, which he later gave to his son Michael Douglas, who turned it into an Oscar-winning film.
  • 1947
    Age 30
    In 1947 Douglas made Out of the Past (UK: Build My Gallows High).
    More Details Hide Details He starred in this film with Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1943
    Age 26
    Douglas married twice, first to Diana Dill, on November 2, 1943; they divorced in 1951.
    More Details Hide Details The couple had two sons, actor Michael Douglas and producer Joel Douglas. Afterwards, in Paris, he met Belgium-born producer Anne Buydens (born Hannelore Marx; April 23, 1919, Hanover, Germany) while acting on location in Lust for Life. She originally fled from Germany to escape Nazism and survived by putting her multilingual skills to work at a film studio, doing translations for subtitles.
    He married Diana Dill on November 2, 1943. They had two sons, Michael in 1944 and Joel in 1947, before they divorced in 1951.
    More Details Hide Details After the war, Douglas returned to New York City and found work in radio, theater and commercials. In his radio work, he acted in a number of network soap operas, and sees those experiences as being especially valuable, as skill in using one's voice is important for aspiring actors, and regrets that the same avenues are no longer open to them. His stage break occurred in Kiss and Tell, which led to other roles. Douglas had planned to remain a stage actor, until his friend, Lauren Bacall, helped him get his first film role by recommending him to director Hal Wallis, who was looking for a new male talent. Wallis's film, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), with Barbara Stanwyck, became Douglas's debut screen appearance. He played a young, insecure man, stung with jealousy, whose life was dominated by a ruthless older woman, and he hid his feelings with alcohol. It would be the last time that Douglas portrayed a weakling in a film role. Reviewers of the film noted that Douglas already projected qualities of a "natural film actor," with the similarity of this role with later ones explained by biographer Tony Thomas:
  • 1941
    Age 24
    Douglas first wanted to be an actor after he recited the poem The Red Robin of Spring while in kindergarten and received applause. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1941, shortly after the United States entered World War II, and was medically discharged for war injuries in 1944.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1916
    Born
    Born on December 9, 1916.
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