Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas was an American actor, producer, and author.

Kirk Douglas was an American actor, producer, and author.

After working in summer stock, Douglas made his Broadway debut in 1941 as a singing Western Union messenger in Spring Again. After a World War II stint in the Navy, he returned to Broadway in the comedy Kiss and Tell, and the drama Trio. Douglas continued to act on stage throughout his career, starring in the 1963 Broadway adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Douglas purchased the rights to the book and passed them onto his son Michael, who successfully produced a multiple Oscar-winning film version in 1975 starring Jack Nicholson.

Douglas made his film debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946). He soon became a leading box-office star throughout the 1950s, known for serious dramas, including westerns and war films.

Douglas became a star through critical praise and box office success for his role as a boxer in Champion (1949), which brought him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. His other early films include Young Man with a Horn (1950),  Ace in the Hole (1951), and Detective Story (1951). He received a second Oscar nomination for his role in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), and his third nomination for portraying Vincent van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956).

In 1955, he established Bryna Productions, which produced, among many others, Paths of Glory (1957) and Spartacus (1960). In those two films, he collaborated with director Stanley Kubrick, taking lead roles in both films. Douglas has been praised for helping to break the Hollywood blacklist by giving an official on-screen credit to blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo for Spartacus. Douglas also produced and starred in Lonely Are the Brave (1962), and Seven Days in May (1964), opposite Burt Lancaster, with whom he made seven films.

As an actor and philanthropist, Douglas received three Academy Award nominations, an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Douglas earned three “Outstanding Actor” Emmy Award nominations, in 1986, 1992, and 2000.

Douglas died February 5, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. He was 103.

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Awards & Nominations

3 Nominations

The Television Academy database lists prime-time Emmy information. Click here to learn more

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