The Golden Age of Cinema, which lasted from around 1910 to the sixties, has pretty much seen almost of its illustrious names gone on to the great beyond. This week they are joined by yet one more, a famous name in the film industry even though it was not the one he was born with. The son of Russian immigrants, Issur Danielovitch Demsky went on to become motion picture legend Kirk Douglas. He was Odysseus, he was Van Gogh, he was Doc Holliday, he was Spartacus and the father of Michael Douglas, and he was more. Now he is gone.
Entertainment Weekly tells us that Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas has passed away this past Wednesday, February 5. A centenarian as of December 2016, Douglas was 103 years of age and his death was specified to be natural causes. An official statement on the departure of a movie icon of the 20th Century was given by his son Michael Douglas. “To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years,” said Douglas. “A humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.”
Born in 1916, Izzy Demsky took up his now-legendary name while in college as part of a playhouse troupe, eventually legalizing himself as Kirk Douglas before serving in World War II. He made his first big break alongside Barbara Stanwyck in the 1946 film “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.” He would be at home in both Hollywood and Broadway throughout his career, known in the latter for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1963, adapted into a 1975 movie by his son Michael). For the former he is known for “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1952), “Gunfight at the OK Corral” (1957), and “Spartacus” (1960) among many other classics.
Aside from his cinematic and stage accomplishments, Kirk Douglas also became an author and philanthropist. He was nominated for the Academy Awards three times and finally received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar cited for his being a “creative and moral force in the film community.” Douglas was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from US President Jimmy Carter in 1981. Even old age did not stop him from embracing new tools of communication, taking up blogging in the previous decade and is considered to be the world’s oldest celebrity blogger.
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