Name at birth: Issur Danielovich DemskyKirk Douglas was one of the great Hollywood stars of the 1950s and 1960s, when he played manly and upright heroes in films like the slave epic Spartacus and the sci-fi classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Kirk Douglas began working in the movies after World War II, making his mark as troubled boxer Midge Kelly in 1949's The Champion. During the 1950s and '60s Douglas was a savvy and bankable star, shifting from hard-hitting roles in the World War I drama Paths of Glory (1957) and the political potboiler Seven Days in May (1964), to playful entertainments such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). Whatever the role, Douglas was preceded by his famous dimpled chin, and his on-camera intensity was popular with fans and impressionists alike. Kirk Douglas also formed his own production company (he transferred the rights to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to his son, Michael Douglas, who made it a hit movie in 1975) and tried his hand at directing movies in the 1970s, including Posse (1975). Although his position as a box office draw diminished in that decade, he continued to turn in fine performances on television and in films such as The Man From Snowy River (1982) and Tough Guys (1986, co-starring Burt Lancaster). Slowed by a 1996 stroke, Kirk Douglas nevertheless appeared in the 1999 movie Diamonds. He also starred in 2003's It Runs in the Family, appearing with his ex-wife Diana, his son Michael and his grandson Cameron Douglas. Kirk Douglas was nominated three times for Oscars, but never won until 1996, when he was given an honorary Oscar for his 50 years in the business.
Kirk Douglas married the former Diana Dill on November 2, 1943, and they were divorced in 1951. They had two sons: actor Michael (born 1944) and Joel (b. 1947)… Kirk Douglas married his second wife, the Belgium-born Anne Buydens, in 1954, and they were still married when he celebrated his 100th birthday in 2016. They also had two sons: Peter (b. 1955) and Eric (b. 1958). Eric died of an overdose of drugs and alcohol in 2004.
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