The world has lost a Hollywood legend this week as actor Kirk Douglas has reportedly passed away due to natural causes. Douglas had an amazing career that spanned five decades and included many iconic films including Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus and Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole. Known for playing a lot of tough guys and manly men, he was one of the last living legends from Hollywood’s Golden Age. He was also instrumental in ending the Hollywood blacklist in the early ’60s. He was 103 years old.
Born Issur Danielovitch in 1916, Douglas entered show business following World War II starting with the radio and stage before eventually landing his first movie role in 1946’s The Strange Love of Martha Ivers starring Barbara Stanwyck. He rose to fame with appearances in several film noirs including Out of the Past, Ace in the Hole, Detective Story and Champion, the latter of which earned him his first Oscar nomination. He would go on to be nominated twice more and although he did not win any he did receive an Honorary Academy Award in 1996.
In the ’50s he also started producing his own movies and his first collaboration with Stanley Kubrick came in 1957 with the WWI film Paths of Glory. They then worked together on the 1960 film Spartacus, which would become Douglas’ career-defining performance and also effectively end the Hollywood blacklist after Douglas courageously revealed that Dalton Trumbo had written the screenplay. Douglas also starred with Burt Lancaster in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1957, the first of many movies they would do together. Other noteworthy films from over the years include 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Lust for Life, In Harm’s Way, Seven Days in May and Town Without Pity. What are your favourite Kirk Douglas movies?