Rest in peace, acting great, Kirk Douglas. Joal Ryan writes of Douglas:
At the height of his career in the 1950s, Douglas excelled in nitty-gritty, black-and-white tales that maintain their edge even today, among them Detective Story and The Bad and the Beautiful, which earned him a second Oscar nod.
Other classic Douglas roles from the era were his Doc Holliday to Lancaster’s Wyatt Earp in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and his portrait of the touched-by-madness artist in Lust for Life, a movie that brought him his third and final Academy Award nomination.
Douglas’s run as a big-screen leading man waned in the 1970s and 1980s. Working in TV, he earned two Emmy nominations, but as at the Oscars, never won.
However, he was celebrated with an honorary Academy Award in 1996.
“We actors are in business,” Douglas once said. “So, you’ve got to stick your neck out. If you can’t take it, get out and be an insurance salesman.”
True to his words, Douglas blazed trails, becoming one of the first stars to break away from the studio system and control his own projects. He wrote several books, including the 1988 autobiography The Ragman’s Son. He took charity work seriously — a tally of his contributions for the year 1997 alone filled three, single-spaced pages.
For more about Douglas and his long career, click here.
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