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Kirk Douglas

Discussion in 'WWII Obituaries' started by GRW, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    "He was born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York, the fourth child and only son for his mother, Bryna, and his father, Herschel 'Harry' Danielovitch. Douglas' father had immigrated to America in 1910 from Russia to escape the pogroms as well as military service. Under the czar, Jewish men were drafted to serve in the army for 25 years and 'pressured to convert to Christianity,' Douglas explained in his 2007 book, Let's Face It: 90 years of Living, Loving, and Learning.
    Since the local factories refused to hire Jews, his father collected rags, scrap metal and junk. (This was why Douglas titled his 1988 autobiography, The Ragman's Son.) While his mother, who took care of seven children and was always working, Douglas wrote that his Pa 'was no help. Almost all his daily take was spent at his favorite bar, Bogie's. He rarely came home for dinner. He never seemed to care whether we had food on the table or went to bed hungry.
    'We lived in abject poverty.'
    When he was enrolled in school, his name was Isadore 'Izzy' Demsky, a name he wrote that he always hated. Before he entered kindergarten, he only spoke Yiddish but quickly learned English – and the perks of performing.
    'When I recited a poem about the red robin of spring, everyone clapped. I took my first bow before an audience. I loved it,' he recalled. 'By second grade I was a seasoned pro, milking my title role of the shoemaker in The Shoemaker and the Elves.'
    By the time he had his bar mitzvah, he was already delivering papers and saving money for college, which one of his teachers encouraged him to attend. He wrote that his first sexual experience was with this high school teacher when he was 15-years-old.
    'She was an important influence in my life and I am eternally grateful. By today's standards she would have gone to jail. I had no idea we were doing something wrong. Did she?'
    Douglas had been saving money for college, but handed it over to his father when he asked for it. After he graduated from high school in 1934, he worked for a year in a department store to rebuild his savings. With $164, he hitchhiked to St Lawrence University, and somehow convinced the dean to let him attend. At St Lawrence, Douglas described himself as the 'big man on campus' who was the 'undefeated star of the varsity wrestling team.'
    Douglas recalled in his book how he became 'fixated' with becoming an actor. He spent his summers during college at a small playhouse in the Adirondacks, working as a stagehand and acting in a few small parts. His fellow actor, Karl Malden, who was born Mladen Sekulovich, convinced him to change his name.
    In 1939, as World War II began, Issur Danielovitch who became Isadore Demsky became Kirk Douglas. It was also the year that Douglas graduated from St Lawrence, which is northern New York, and he then went to the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
    At the academy, Douglas wrote that he 'made some lasting friendships there. One was Betty Bacall, a stunning seventeen-year-old who had a crush on me. Another was Diana Dill, who was always telling Betty to forget about me.'
    Diana Dill and Douglas married on November 2, 1943 after he joined the US Navy, and he was a communications officer.
    'We become swept up in the romance of wartime and the fear that I might die in combat,' he wrote. 'I looked great in my dress uniform, but nothing else about my service was distinguished.'
    Together the couple had two sons: Michael, who was born on September 25, 1944, and Joel, who was born on January 23, 1947.
    Douglas was honorably discharged from the navy in 1944, but before he headed back to New York City, he met with Betty – now known as Lauren Bacall – for dinner in Los Angeles."
    www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-7971679/Kirk-Douglas-dead-103-Spartacus-stars-son-Michael-Douglas-shares-heartbreaking-news.html
     
  2. wooley12

    wooley12 Active Member

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    He broke the HUAC blacklist when he used the real name of the screenwriter in the credits in the movie Spartacus that he produced and starred in. He was threatened that his career would end if he did. Or worse. A "Spartacus" in real life.
     
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  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    They had to kill him. Here he is at 70 flippin' years old.

     
  4. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..I liked him best in The War Wagon....his father ''got him''' a good life by coming over here....Russia wasn't a nice place to be in the 30s and 40s
     
  5. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    why are our centenarians all of a sudden dying
    mr peanut and now Spartacus
     
  6. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    The questions should perhaps be why so many Centenarians?
    Cultural Evolution my dear Watson...
     
  7. wooley12

    wooley12 Active Member

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    Must be a conspiracy there somewhere.
     
  8. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    excuse me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
  9. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    pardon me
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
  10. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    I think his best role was the battalion commander in "Paths of Glory". And the best scene in that movie was the last scene when the men were in the cafe humming along with the girl who was singing "The Faithful Hussar". Very powerful scene.

    It's a bit long, but worth the effort.

     
  11. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  12. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    I watched "In Harm's Way" last night. Fun movie, and Kirk did well with his role as usual. He was one of a kind.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    R.I.P. Kirk!
     

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