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 "Reflections" and "Activities" posts.

Clicking 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.

Clicking 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.

Clicking the "Kirk Douglas Theatre" button, you'll get the latest news about productions at the theatre, named to honor Kirk Douglas and established as the newest and most intimate of the Center Theatre Group's spaces, which include the Ahmanson and Mark Taper Theatres at the Los Angeles Music Center.

By clicking “Fan Mail,” you’ll have the opportunity to share your thoughts with Kirk.

Kirk Doulgas's new book, written with his wife Anne, Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood is now available. This link will enable you to order a copy, and have part of the proceeds go to the work of The Douglas Foundation.

kirkannebook

Film legend Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens, his wife of nearly sixty-three years, look back on a lifetime filled with drama both on and off the screen. Sharing priceless correspondence with each other as well as the celebrities and world leaders they called friends, Kirk and Anne is a candid portrayal of the pleasures and pitfalls of a Hollywood life lived in the public eye. 

Compiled from Anne's private archive of letters and photographs, this is an intimate glimpse into the Douglases' courtship and marriage set against the backdrop of Kirk's screen triumphs, including The VikingsLust For LifePaths of Glory, and Spartacus. The letters themselves, as well as Kirk and Anne's vivid descriptions of their experiences, reveal remarkable insight and anecdotes about the legendary figures they knew so well, including Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, the Kennedys, and the Reagans. Filled with photos from film sets, private moments, and public events, Kirk and Anne details the adventurous, oftentimes comic, and poignant reality behind the glamour of a Hollywood life-as only a couple of sixty-two years (and counting) could tell it.

Essential Film Performances: Kirk Douglas in Ace in the Hole

from Sarah Boslaugh PopMatters.com

 

Under the Radar
Kirk Douglas
Ace in the Hole
(Billy Wilder, 1951)

cover art

Ace in the Hole

Director: Billy Wilder
Review [21.Aug.2007]

Journalists don’t come more cynical than Kirk Douglas’s Chuck Tatum, a big-city writer who lands in Albuquerque after drinking, womanizing, and otherwise sabotaging his career. Now he has to hustle up a job at the Albuquerque Sun-Bulletin, whose only distinction is that it’s the paper published nearest to where his car broke down. Yet Tatum manages to treat even his entrance into town like a royal procession, riding in his towed car as if he were a king touring his lands.


Douglas is on screen for most Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole, and the “big carnival” which gave the film its alternate title can be seen as the physical extension of his own corrupt persona. Scorning the paper’s motto, “Tell the truth,” Tatum is only interested in finding a story so big that his reporting will be picked up by the wire services and he’ll be rehired by his old paper in New York. Opportunity presents itself when a local man (Leo Minosa, played by Richard Benedict) is trapped in an abandoned mine; contrary to the rules of ethical journalism, as well as those of human decency, Tatum inserts himself into the story and delays Leo’s rescue in order to milk the potential tragedy for all it’s worth.


It’s worth quite a bit, at least in the short term—news of Leo’s plight draws other reporters, tourists, and politicians, as well as any hustler eager for a chance to work the crowd. The area near the mine quickly comes to resemble the midway of a state fair, complete with cotton candy and rides on the Ferris wheel. Tatum positions himself as the ringmaster of the resulting circus, cultivating a relationship with the naïve Leo and bribing the local sheriff to be sure it’s Tatum’s story and no one else’s.


Ace in the Hole may be the darkest of Billy Wilder’s films, and Chuck Tatum the most unredeemable of his characters; that’s saying quite a bit for the man who directed Sunset Boulevard and Double Indemnity. Yet you can’t turn away from Douglas’ performance, which is as luridly fascinating as watching a train wreck in slow motion. Perhaps we, like the fictional crowds in Ace in the Hole, are always ready to witness human tragedy, as long as it’s happening to someone else.  Sarah Boslaugh

Third bar mitzva for Kirk Douglas scheduled for December

from The Times of Israel, June 17, 2012

Kirk Douglas in the 1960 movie 'Spartacus.' (photo credit: public domain)

 

Los Angeles (JTA) — At 95, Kirk Douglas has just released his tenth book and is prepping for his third bar mitzva, which is scheduled for this coming December.

The iconic actor appeared at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on June 12 to launch the book and to reset his hand, foot and dimpled chin print in cement, at the same spot he performed the ritual exactly 50 years ago.

Launching at the same time “I Am Spartacus! Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist,” Douglas described his latest opus as “the most important book I have ever written.”

Douglas produced and starred in the title role of the 1960 movie “Spartacus.” By publicly crediting Dalton Trumbo, a former Communist, as the screenwriter, he effectively broke the studios’ blacklist against professionals with communist ties.

“I was making a film about freedom at a time when freedom in America was in jeopardy,” Douglas said. “There are parallels to today’s political climate and I thought it was timely to set down my recollections.”

The theater, celebrating its own 85th anniversary, marked the occasion by screening “Spartacus” at the original ticket price of 25 cents.

Douglas jokingly grumbled that the original entry fee was only a dime and that Grauman’s was overcharging. He told the crowd, “If you don’t have a quarter, I’ll help you out,” and then tossed fistfuls of the coin to a mass of outstretched hands.

Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch, the son of an illiterate Russian-Jewish rag picker and junkman, found his way back to Judaism after a helicopter crash in 1991, which killed two younger companions but spared him.

At 83, he celebrated his second bar mitzva, 13 years after the traditional allotted lifespan of 70, telling well-wishers at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, “Today I am a man.”

Douglas will repeat the ceremony toward the end of this year, when he will be 96. “I am still looking forward,” he recently told ABC-TV.

“I Am Spartacus!” is being published in print, eBook and audiobook formats, the last narrated by Kirk’s son, actor Michael Douglas, with a foreword by George Clooney.

Kirk Douglas Revisits Spartacus and the Communist Blacklist in New Book

 

from Tim Newcomb, Time Magazine, June 12, 2012

Danny Moloshok / Reuters
Danny Moloshok / Reuters
Actor Michael Douglas (L) and his father, actor Kirk Douglas, arrive at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood, California February 26, 2012.

Kirk Douglas, 95, embraced all kinds of technology with his multi-media launch today of his “E-riginal” book I Am Spartacus! Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist.

Available as either an ebook or a paperback, you can aslo grab the legendary actor’s memoir as an audiobook, with son—and multi-Oscar winner—Michael Douglas doing the reading. And to just toss a little more star power into the mix, George Clooney penned the forward.

 The book details how Douglas, who both starred in and helped produce the Roman epic Spartacus, was forced to work around the famed Hollywood suspected Communist blacklist, a 1950s-ear fear that permeated throughout the movie industry and resulted in unemployment for many writers, producers and actors. “The blacklist was a witch hunt, destroying lives and careers without regard for the truth of the allegations,” Douglas says in a press release promoting his book. “I made Spartacus with a blacklisted writer, Dalton Trumbo, who had to hide behind a pseudonym—Sam Jackson for Spartacus—in order to find work.”

Trumbo, it turned out, worked throughout the ’50s under assumed names to avoid the blacklist that kept him out of his job.

Douglas claims the politics of today make airing the truth about America’s lack of freedom during the making of Spartacus most relevant, saying there are “parallels to today’s political climate.”

“I was making a film about freedom at a time when freedom in America was in jeopardy,” he says. He credits Spartacus with helping break apart the blacklist in Hollywood because producers didn’t shy away from hiring members of the blacklist.

Readers will not only learn about the entire Spartacus film-making process, they also get to experience Clooney’s glowing praise: “Kirk Douglas is many things. A movie star. An actor. A producer. But he is, first and foremost, a man of extraodirnary character … the kind we always look for at our darkest hour.”


Kirk Douglas celebrates new book, 'Spartacus' and Grauman's prints

by George Pennachio, KABC Los Angeles, June 13, 2012

Kirk Douglas, 95, is celebrating for three different reasons. They involve a movie, a book and a big slab of cement.

At Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Tuesday night, moviegoers could see the 1960 film "Spartacus" for 25 cents. It was the latest event connected to the theater's ongoing 85th anniversary celebration.

Grauman's also unveiled Douglas' refurbished hand and footprints.

"I have done that impression about 50 years ago. That was when I was doing 'Spartacus,' Douglas said.

Now, he's making another impression, this time in print. Douglas tackled the Hollywood witch hunt of the 1950s with his book, "I Am Spartacus! Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist," published by Open Road.

"To me, the book is the most important book that I have written," he said.

The "Spartacus" memories in it go beyond the blacklist. It's filled with anecdotes about others during that time.

Douglas' next project will take place in a six months. He's going to be bar mitzvahed - again.

"For the third time," Douglas said. "That's in the Guinness Book of Records."

Douglas' new book went into stores Tuesday.

To see video go to: Coverage of Grauman's Event

Kirk Douglas Celebates His Career



from The Press Association, June13, 2012

Kirk Douglas threw coins into the crowd as he helped celebrate the 85th anniversary of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

The 95-year-old was celebrating the release of his new autobiography I Am Spartacus! Making a Film, Breaking The Blacklist, along with the refurbishment of his hand and footprints outside the theatre, which he first set in cement exactly 50 years ago.

Kirk told the crowd: "Today is very special for me. Today is the day that they released a book that I have been working on for years, I Am Spartacus.

"And you know, it's hard to write about something that happened 50 years ago, you forget so much, but it's surprising how much you remember!"

The book recounts anecdotes about Kirk's experiences during the Hollywood blacklist, denying employment to those in the industry because of their political beliefs.

The Paths Of Glory star said: "The blacklist was a witch hunt, destroying lives and careers without regard for the truth of the allegations.

"I made Spartacus with a blacklisted writer, Dalton Trumbo, who had to hide behind a pseudonym - Sam Jackson for Spartacus - in order to find work. I was making a film about freedom at a time when freedom in America was in jeopardy. There are parallels to today's political climate, and I thought it was timely to set down my recollections."

As part of Grauman's Chinese Theatre's 85th anniversary celebrations, it was showing Spartacus for just 25 cents.

The actor said: "I'm very happy that Grauman's Chinese Theatre will celebrate 85 years showing Spartacus, and they are charging not a dime, but a quarter.

"So if you have a quarter you can see Spartacus, and if you don't have a quarter, I'll help you out," and he threw quarters into the crowd.