Happy 100th Birthday, Kirk Douglas!
Today is the 100th birthday of actor, Kirk Douglas, a major movie star in the 1950s and 1960s who was nominated for Best Actor for his work in 3 films (“Lust for Life” (1956), “The Bad and The Beautiful” (1952), and “Champion” (1949). It has always seemed rather strange that he was never nominated for the role he is perhaps most famous for as the Roman slave, Spartacus, in the 1960 film of the same name.
We were just recently watching Dean O’Gorman portray Kirk Douglas in “Trumbo” (2015) and, coincidentally, Variety just published their interview with the Hollywood veteran that says Douglas considers his role in breaking the blacklist in Hollywood his proudest achievement– when he thumbed his nose at the powers that be and gave onscreen writing credit for the “Spartacus” script.
Kirk Douglas suffered a stroke in 1994 that left him with a speech impairment not long before he was scheduled to accept an honorary Oscar. That did not stop him from attending the ceremony, where Steven Spielberg gave an incredible tribute to Douglas.
When presented with the statuette, Douglas’ first words were to acknowledge his four sons (Michael, Joel, Peter and Eric) sitting in the audience and say: “They are proud of the old man!” He decided to attend the ceremony to make a statement that life goes on even after a stroke, and he later wrote “My Stroke of Luck,” a book to inspire other stroke victims, pulling no punches about the depression he had to overcome. In 2011, he attended the Academy Awards as the presenter of the Best Supporting Actress award.
Happy birthday, Mr. Douglas, you are an inspiration.