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Welcome to the Posts section of the official Kirk Douglas website. Its purpose is to let Kirk share his thoughts and activities with you, and to enable you to share your thoughts with him.
Below you’ll find links to the most recent posts, regardless of category.
If you click on the “Reflections” button to the left, you’ll be taken to a page where Kirk, a best-selling writer as well as a movie star, has posted his most recent thoughts and musings.
If you click the “Activities” button, you’ll be taken to a page where you can learn about current and past goings-on in which Kirk is involved.
By clicking “Fan Mail,” you’ll have the opportunity to share your thoughts with Kirk.
News flash! Kirk's most recent book I Am Spartacus! was published June 12, 2012. This link will enable you to get a copy, and have part of the proceeds go to the work of The Douglas Foundation.
If you would like to purchase the Kindle e-Book version of I Am Spartacus, click below.
Jessica Lange Accepts Kirk Douglas Award at Santa Barbara Film Festival Benefit
- Created on Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
- Written by Melissa Walker
--noozhawk.com November 16, 2014
A festive crowd of elegantly dressed guests turned out to support the 2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Sunday night at a benefit that also honored Jessica Lange with the ninth annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film.
More than 300 people clad in formal attire gathered at Bacara Resort & Spa for the award presentation, which was expected to raise $60,000 for the 30th year of the film festival, scheduled to run Jan. 27 through Feb. 7.
“This year’s special because Kirk always wanted to honor a woman,” SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said. “And it’s the first time in the history of the award that we’re honoring a woman, and no one better than Jessica Lange — two-time Academy Award-winner and someone who’s triumphed in theater, in film, as well as TV.”
Lange follows an impressive list of male recipients of the Kirk Douglas Award, including last year’s winner, Forest Whitaker, as well as Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris, John Travolta and the award’s namesake, Kirk Douglas.
“It’s wonderful to be singled out by Mr. Douglas to receive this, so I’m thrilled,” Lange said.
Durling praised Lange for her passion and skill as it relates to Douglas.
“If there’s one word that I think unites her with Kirk it’s the fact that she’s been uncompromising, and that’s one of the things that Kirk said to me, is that I have been an uncompromising actor and Jessica has been, too,” he said.
A red-carpet entrance kicked off the event with Lange, who was joined by actress Demi Moore, who will co-star in an upcoming movie Wild Oats; Ryan Murphy, writer, producer and co-creator of Lange’s current TV show, American Horror Story; and actress Kathy Bates, who has worked with Lange at various times, including on American Horror Story.
Lange has a recurring role on American Horror Story, which hits the reset button each season for a new theme with the same central cast. This year’s “Freak Show” has Lange stretching her limits as the ringleader of a traveling circus show.
“I haven’t played a character like this before that has this kind of history and this drama to her — the many, many layers,” Lange said. “She’s a very complex character, and they write big scenes for me and I like big scenes.
“And there’s nothing kind of ordinary about her — not in the way she thinks, not in the way she acts, not in the way she looks. It’s dramatic, it’s a big dramatic part.”
Moore — of Ghost, A Few Good Men, St. Elmo’s Fire, G.I. Jane and Indecent Proposal fame — was enthusiastic about her opportunity to work with Lange on the 2015 comedy, Wild Oats, which is now in post-production.
“We just finished shooting that in July,” Lange said. “It’s a wonderful kind of bittersweet comedy. It was lovely to work with her and, of course, Shirley MacLaine. We had a great time.”
Well known for his work in television, Murphy has also been involved with Nip/Tuck and Glee, and, in addition to writing, has produced and gone behind the camera as director for episodes in each series.
Also attending the event was Bates, who has worked with Lange for the past two seasons on American Horror Story. Bates shared how she became involved in the series.
“I saw Jessica in the first season, and she was so wonderful, and I said the writing was so great, can you put in a word for me with Ryan Murphy?” Bates recalled.
“And so she did, and he pitched me a great part, and I will be eternally grateful to him for that because he’s created great parts for women. It’s been delightful to play with Jessica.”
Sunday’s presentation began with Durling welcoming the crowd as he introduced this year’s Kirk Douglas Award winner, who was handpicked by Douglas for her film skills and charm.
“Jessica Lange possesses the three key elements in making it in this crazy business: talent, beauty and intelligence ... all of which have served her well and continue to do so,” Douglas said. “It is my honor to give her my award.”
A montage of clips showcased more than three decades of Lange’s work, with films such as King Kong with Montecito resident Jeff Bridges; Tootsie, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Award opposite Dustin Hoffman; and Blue Sky, for which she won a Best Actress Award working with Tommy Lee Jones.
Lange’s work has included a vast array of big budget and independent films, includingCape Fear with De Niro and Nick Nolte in the Martin Scorsese adaptation; independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers with Bill Murray; and Tim Burton’s Big Fish, joined by Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney.
In addition to Oscar awards, Lange has won Emmy Awards for her work in FX’sAmerican Horror Story and American Horror Story: Coven series, as well as HBO’sGrey Gardens, which is about two charming eccentrics who were relatives of former first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival spans 11 days with more than 200 films, symposiums and panels for producers, women, directors and writers.
An impressive set of eagerly anticipated tributes and awards will be hosted again at the Arlington Theatre with another year of inspiring and legendary names.
Announced in October, Montecito’s Michael Keaton will receive the Modern Master Award on Jan. 31 for his work in Beetlejuice, Batman and Jackie Brown, along with his role in a film that’s in theaters now, Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).
Also, for the first time in five years, The Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking on Jan. 28 will honor the Cousteau family — Jean Michel with his son and daughter, Fabien and Céline — for their commitment to educating the public about the ocean.
SBIFF’s commitment to local cultural diversity includes a variety of programs benefiting local youth with a variety of free children’s education and community outreach programs, including Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, AppleBox, 10-10-10 Student Screenwriting and Filmmaking Competitions, 3rd Weekend and SBIFF College Internships.
Check back with Noozhawk for more on the film festival and special coverage of the tributes and awards.
Original Cast of LUNA GALE to Lead CTG Production in Los Angeles
- Created on Saturday, November 1st, 2014
- Written by broadwayworld.com
--October 29, 2014
The world premiere production of Rebecca Gilman's powerful and arresting "Luna Gale" begins previews November 23, opens December 2 and continues through December 21, 2014, at the Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre.
Directed by Robert Falls, the complete original cast continues with the production, including Jordan Baker, Reyna de Courcy, Melissa Duprey, Mary Beth Fisher, Erik Hellman, Colin Sphar and Richard Thieriot.
Set design for "Luna Gale" is by Todd Rosenthal, costumes by Kaye Voce, lighting by Robert Wierzel and original music and sound design by Richard Woodbury. The production stage manager is Kirsten Parker.
Gilman explores with profound humanity the issues of faith, family and one child's uncertain future.
A veteran social worker, Caroline, thinks she has a typical case on her hands when she meets Peter and Karlie, two teenage drug addicts accused of neglecting their baby, Luna Gale. But when Caroline places their daughter in the care of Karlie's very religious mother, she sparks a family conflict that exposes a shadowy past and forces her to make a risky decision with potentially life-altering consequences.
Rebecca Gilman's plays include "A True History of the Johnston Flood," "Boy Gets Girl," "Spinning Into Butter," "Blue Surge" (all of which were commissioned and originally produced by the Goodman Theatre, where she is an artistic associate), "The Story of Living," "The Sweetest Thing in Baseball," "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter," "Dollhouse," "The Crowd You're in With," and most recently, "Soups, Stews and Casseroles: 1976." She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Harper Lee Award, the Scott McPherson Award, the Theater Masters Visionary Award and an Illinois Arts Council playwriting fellowship, among others.
The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd. in Culver City, 90232. Tickets are available at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, by calling 213-628-2772, in person at the Center Theatre Group box office or at the Kirk Douglas Theatre box office two hours prior to curtain.
Kirk Douglas Helps Celebrate 10th Birthday of Kirk Douglas Theatre
- Created on Thursday, October 16th, 2014
- Written by Shalini Dore
--Variety October 15, 2014
Kirk Douglas gave career tips to up-and-coming actors at Tuesday’s celebration of the 10th anniversary of his eponymous theater in Culver City.
When Douglas was starting out in his career he made his way to Broadway, but soon after Hollywood came calling (“They made an offer I couldn’t refuse”) and he headed west. “I gave up my dream of being a big star on Broadway, but in Hollywood I made a lot of money,” he told the rapt crowd. “I learned a lot of things and one of the things I learned was how to get your name on the theater” — dramatic pause — “buy the theater.”
Although he told Variety that he makes it to the Kirk Douglas Theatre “every chance I get,” Michael Ritchie, artistic director of Center Theatre Group, said Douglas is “a constant presence in the lobby and backstage. To watch actors come out of the dressing room after a performance and see Kirk and (his wife) Anne is a treat.”
Ritchie and Douglas thanked Gordon Davidson, the founding artistic director of CTG, for his vision in creating the nonprofit theaters.
Ritchie said the CTG’s plans are to continue using the Kirk Douglas as a space for experimental theater. “More people hear about Culver City and the theater, there is a real sense of life going on here,” he said, adding that he’s planning “more programming for children and families. The three theaters (Ahmanson, Mark Taper and KDT) are unified in what we do and market them.”
The event was billed as the 10th birthday of KDT rather than an anniversary and Douglas invited the audience to return to its 20th with him. Perfs from past stagings including “13” and “Stoop Stories” followed and the control booth was named for Anne Douglas.
(Pictured: Gordon Davidson, Kirk Douglas, Anne Douglas and Michael Ritchie at the 10th birthday party for the Kirk Douglas Theatre)
'Forever,' a harrowing memoir with no Hollywood ending
- Created on Thursday, October 16th, 2014
- Written by Margaret Gray
--Los Angeles Times October 14, 2014
Oe of the few laugh lines in Dael Orlandersmith’s harrowing new solo show, “Forever,” in its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, comes in an exchange she describes with an attendant at the morgue after her mother’s death.
She asks him if he’s afraid. His laconic reply: “The dead can’t do nothing to you. It’s the living you’ve got to look out for.”
The wisdom of this risk assessment may appear self-evident. But for Orlandersmith — or for the version of herself she plays in these searching, brutally honest monologues — he’s got it completely backward.
An award-winning playwright, poet and actress, Orlandersmith doesn’t have a lot of trouble with the living these days. In “Forever,” she talks of being warmly welcomed at a recent party, where an attractive man approached her and discussed Chopin.
No, the one she’s got to look out for is her mother, who died in 1989 but who nonetheless retains the power to loom up out of the grave, still stinking of scotch, and make this accomplished, powerful, beautiful woman feel inadequate, ugly and dirty.
“Forever” opens in Paris. Orlandersmith is on a pilgrimage to the Père Lachaise cemetery, the final resting place of many of the artists who gave her hope during her Harlem coming-of-age: Balzac, Chopin, Colette, Modigliani, Edith Piaf and — not least — Jim Morrison.
Takeshi Kata’s bare wooden stage features podium and a chair from which Orlandersmith reads from a script and a table with a record player where she occasionally stops to spin an LP. (Adam Phalen’s sound cues are never too loud, and they fade away at exactly the right moment.)
These artists, Orlandersmith says, are the family she chose for herself, instead of the alcoholic mother who taught her about art but also abused and manipulated her. They replaced the friends she couldn’t find or keep in the ghetto.
She describes walking home from the record store with her first Doors album when a man jeered at her for listening to “white-boy … .” She persevered, rebelliously cultivating her own tastes.
This arc is familiar from Orlandersmith’s earlier solo pieces, “Beauty’s Daughter,” “Monster” and “Gimmick,” all about young black women determined to rise above bleak circumstances, who find salvation in art. But whereas in those works Orlandersmith assumed other personae, here she performs as herself, slipping only briefly into other voices during conversations she reports.
“I have not been gut-honest,” she says. “I have never spoken my mother’s name onstage: Beula.”
Is such gut-honesty necessary? Her mother has been dead more than 20 years. Hasn’t Orlandersmith, after winning an Obie (for “Beauty’s Daughter”) and being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize (for “Yellowman”), exorcised the demons of her past?
And if we, the audience, must revisit her painful history, can’t we be kidded through the hardest incidents? Is there a part where mother and daughter cry and forgive, like in the movies?
Neither Orlandersmith nor her director here, Neel Keller, is interested in moving past or making light of pain, or sparing their audience the discomfort of witnessing it. “Forever” derives much of its power from the anger Orlandersmith carries and unflinchingly expresses.
And as her story makes clear, she has every reason to be angry. She was cruelly victimized, not only by her mother but by a man who broke into their house in the middle of the night and raped her — an incident she recounts in unstinting detail.
Her anger can be powerful, electrifying and cathartic. Her capacity for it may even be, as much as her love of art, what enabled her to survive.
But it can be constricting too, blinkering her to other emotions. When Beula is dying in the hospital surrounded by doting nurses (“surrogate daughters,” Orlandersmith bitterly describes them), the vengeful daughter tells her off with pitiless hatred, like a figure out of Greek tragedy.
From a theatrical perspective, unmodulated rage works best in small doses; too much of it stuns the senses. Subtler moments, as when she confesses her dreams of marrying the Irish cop who was kind to her after her rape, can be more effective.
If Orlandersmith refuses to pander to us, denying us our pat Hollywood closure, she herself embodies the hope implicit in her story. The area around the raised set has been turned into a gallery for her family photos — the originals, it looks like, with curled corners and faded color. In a few of them she’s mugging for the camera, like any kid.
With any luck, after “Forever” Beula will stay peacefully in her grave from now on and let her daughter’s spirit shine.
“Forever,” Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Call for exceptions. Ends Oct. 26. $20-$30. (213) 628-2772 or www.centertheatregroup.org. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Dael Orlandersmith's Forever Is a Love-Hate Letter to Her Abusive Mother (GO!)
- Created on Thursday, October 16th, 2014
- Written by Bill Raden
--LA Weekly October 14, 2014
There are many parents present in poet-playwright-performer Dael Orlandersmith’s searing solo stage memoir. They include Chopin and Proust, Oscar Wilde and Sarah Bernhardt, Édith Piaf and Richard Wright — all cited as Orlandersmith’s spiritual forebears and all buried in Paris’ Père Lachaise cemetery. A pilgrimage there bookends Forever, directed by Neel Keller in its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.
The two most responsible for creating Orlandersmith the artist, however, turn out to include Père Lachaise’s Jim Morrison, whose poetically inflected music first provided her entrée to New York’s burgeoning downtown music scene of the 1970s and led her to a surrogate family of kindred writers and performers.
But most of all there is Beulah, her berating, belittling, pathologically possessive and ego-smothering, alcoholic mother.
In a portrait at once elegiac and angry, lyrical and recriminatory and rife with the kind of love-hate paradoxes that define any filial relationship but are here represented in extremis, Orlandersmith reconstructs Beulah’s life from South Carolina to a Harlem tenement. That's where she gave birth to the future playwright, who promptly became both emotional crutch and the object of blame for all of the tortured woman’s life disappointments.
Orlandersmith’s intention, she says at one point, was to finally write something with the “naked, gut-honest” candor of an author like Wright. And in the harrowing, very personal and unflinchingly courageous journey described in Forever, she achieves it.
Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City; through Oct. 26. (213) 628-2772, centertheatregroup.org.
Kirk Douglas Remembers Lauren Bacall: She Was My "Lucky Charm"
- Created on Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
- Written by Kirk Douglas
--Hollywood Reporter August 20, 2014
With the loss of Lauren Bacall, whom we all called “Betty,” a meaningful part of my history has been extinguished.
I met Betty when she was 17 and I was 24. We were both studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I was on my own in New York with meager funds. That winter, Betty saw me shivering in my thin overcoat. She didn't say anything, but she talked her uncle into giving me one of his two thick coats. I wore it for three years. That sort of unassuming kindness was one of her most endearing characteristics. When I had the honor of presenting Betty with her honorary Oscar in 2009, I told the audience: “People said Bacall was ‘tough.' She’s a pussycat with a heart of gold.”
After World War II ended, I was honorably discharged from the Navy in San Diego. Betty had been discovered by Howard Hawks and was now in Hollywood preparing for her first film, in which she was to star opposite none other than Humphrey Bogart. I wanted to see her before flying back to New York, so I called her, and we arranged to meet for dinner. Of course, she was late. When I stood up to greet her, I noticed that she had the script for To Have and Have Not under her arm. We talked about it, and she read me a few lines: “You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? You just put your lips together – and blow.”
“Betty,” I said, “you will be a star.” My prophecy came true.
Back in New York, I continued the frustrating task of looking for a job, hopefully in a play that would last for more than a few performances. I had a wife and two children to support. I succeeded in getting the lead in The Wind Is Ninety, and I got good notices.
Shortly after the play opened, Betty attended a cocktail party for the famous producer Hal Wallis, who was going to New York the next day. Betty was always a girl who spoke her mind. She said, “Hal, when you are in New York, you must see The Wind Is Ninety. My friend Kirk Douglas is in it and has gotten rave reviews.” He actually listened to her— did I mention she was persuasive—and soon after I was on my way to Hollywood with a meaty role as Barbara Stanwyck’s husband in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.
Over the years, Betty and I never lost touch. We even starred together in a film [1950’s Young Man with a Horn] before she went back to New York to achieve the Broadway success I had always longed for. We tried to see each other whenever we were on each other’s home coast, and we shared many special occasions in each other’s lives, including my 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 2004.
Throughout our friendship, I wrote her letters, mostly typed because I have bad handwriting. She always penned her replies, and they were almost illegible—handwriting worse than mine! My latest note wasn’t answered, which was unlike her. I wondered why. Then, on Aug. 12, like the rest of the world, I found out.
It’s hard to lose a friend, especially one with whom you have shared your dreams and your journey. In the case of Betty Bacall, I also lost my lucky charm—the girl who believed in me enough to talk Hal Wallis into giving me a Hollywood career. That was my first lesson in helping others without looking for thanks. I will continue to think about her whenever I put it into practice.