Profile of the Day: Kirk Douglas

Posted February 6, 2020 by Amanda | No Comment

Today we remember Hollywood icon Kirk Douglas, who passed away yesterday at the age of 103.

Image: Kirk Douglas / Wikimedia Commons

Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York. The family had adopted the surname “Demsky” after arriving to the United States. As the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Douglas grew up speaking Yiddish at home. In his youth, Douglas took on a series of odd jobs to help support his family. He later enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, where he was classmates with Lauren Bacall, who was then still known as Betty Joan Perske. He, too, would change his name to “Kirk Douglas” before entering the U.S. Navy during World War II.

After the war, Douglas found work as a stage actor. He remained friends with Bacall, who helped Douglas land his first big screen role in the 1946 film, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers opposite Barbara Stanwyck. Three years later, he starred in the film Champion, which earned him the first of three Academy Award nominations. Remembered as one of the greatest actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Douglas starred in many acclaimed films throughout his long career, including Spartacus, The Bad and the Beautiful, and Lust for Life.

In addition to his acting, Douglas was known to be a generous philanthropist and for several years, he served as a goodwill ambassador for the U.S. Information Agency. In 1981, Douglas received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his goodwill efforts.

RIP Kirk Douglas.

View Kirk Douglas’s Geni Profile

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Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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