Kirk Douglas dies at 103

The actor Kirk Douglas, Spartacus for several generations, the last great sacred monster of Hollywood, a reference in the fight against McCarthyism, died last night at the age of 103, his son announced Michael Douglas.

Douglas starred in 92 movies in a career that spanned seven decades. His work led him to be nominated up to three times for the Oscar for best actor, but it was not until 1996 that he took the stage to collect the statuette in recognition of his entire career.

He faced McCarthyism and did not hide his leftism despite the rejection of the film industry

He also played a major role in breaking Hollywood’s blacklist – actors, directors, and writers who were professionally shunned due to ties to the communist movement in the 1950s. Douglas said he was more proud of that than any movie he made.

Kirk Douglas and 1976

Tony Korody / EP

“With great sadness, my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas He left us today at the age of 103. To the world, he was a legend, an actor in the golden age. cinema (…) but for me and my brothers, Joel and Peter, he was just a father, “wrote Michael Douglas on his Facebook page.

He was born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in Amsterdam, New York, in November 1916 to Jewish peasants of Russian origin.

After finishing his studies in Philosophy and Letters at the University of St. Lawrence, he obtained a scholarship at the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York, where he remained until 1939. It was his first contact with acting, and the time when he adopted the name with which he would become famous. And not least, it was the place where he met Lauren Bacall.


Kirk Douglas, in a file image

Phil Klein / Reuters

His fledgling Broadway theatrical career was cut short when he was drafted in 1942, joining the Navy as a telecommunications officer in the Pacific. On his return he married actress Diana Dill and returned to the theater until Lauren Bacall landed him a role in The strange love of Martha Ivers (1946). From here he began his film career, which led him to act in Letter to three wives (1949) to the orders of Joseph L. Mankiewitz, and to receive the same year an Oscar nomination for best actor for The clay idol. This film made him known as an actor of character who did not hide his leftist ideas, regardless of the price he had to pay in the form of vetoes and rejections in the film industry.

From then on, the career of the actor with the blue eyes and the famous dimple on his chin took off with adventure classics like Twenty thousand leagues under the sea (1954) the Vikings (1958), films full of intention directed by Stanley Kubrick as Paths of Glory (1958) the Spartacus (1960) or playing Vincent Van Gogh in The madman with the red hair (1956).


Kirk Douglas in ‘The Madman with Red Hair’, ‘Spartacus’ and ‘Paths of Glory’


Father of also actor Michael Douglas, Kirk suffered in 1996, at the age of 79, a stroke that limited his movements but did not prevent him from going that same year to receive the honorary Oscar in tribute to his entire career.

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Kirk Douglas dies at 103