Matrix Daily wishes Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas a very happy 100th birthday today.
Silver screen veteran Douglas has racked up a career spanning seven decades that includes three Oscar nominations and an honorary Academy Award in 1996 for being ‘a creative and moral force in the motion picture community’.
Best known for his roles in the 1960 smash Spartacus and 1954 epic 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Douglas earned his Oscar nominations in 1949 for Best Actor in Champion, in 1952 for The Bad And The Beautiful and in 1956 for Lust For Life, but sadly didn’t win on any occasion.
Born in 1916 as Issur Danielovitch in Amsterdam, New York, he changed his name to Kirk Douglas after enlisting in the US Navy in 1941 and served as a communications officer in anti-submarine warfare during the Second World War.
Douglas later attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City on a special scholarship, where two of his classmates were Diana Dill, who became his first wife in 1943, and Lauren Bacall, who helped to launch his film career.
He and Dill had two sons together, actor Michael Douglas and producer Joel Douglas before they divorced in 1951.
Douglas later married Anne Buydens in 1954 and they also had two sons together, producer Peter Douglas and actor Eric Douglas, who died in 2004.
Douglas is well known for his relationships with a series of famous women, including Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich.
Although he started his acting career in radio, theatre and television, his friendship with Bacall led to him landing his first film role when she recommended him to director Hal Wallis for 1946 film The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers.
He starred in a number of Westerns, including Along The Great Divide (1951) and Lonely Are The Brave (1962), as well as early Stanley Kubrick film Paths Of Glory in 1957.
In 1957 he won a Best Actor Golden Globe for Lust For Life, and in 1968 he won the Cecil B DeMille Award at the Golden Globes for his outstanding contribution to the world of entertainment.
He later made a Broadway adaptation of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in 1963, which he also starred in before passing on the film rights to son Michael. He also directed two Westerns, 1975’s Posse in which he starred with Bruce Dern, and the 1973 film Scalawag, where he also played a lead role.
Despite suffering a severe stroke in 1996 which affected his speech, Douglas went through years of voice therapy to get back into acting and starred in Diamonds in 1999 alongside Bacall, playing an old fighter recovering from a stroke.
The most recent film he appeared in was 2004’s Illusion, about an ailing movie director, and in 2008 he featured in the TV movie Empire State Building Murders.
Douglas has been married to Anne Buydens for 62 years and has seven grandchildren, Cameron Douglas from Michael’s marriage to Diandra Luker, Carys Zeta Douglas and Dylan Michael Douglas from Michael’s marriage to Catherine Zeta-Jones and Tyler, Kelsey, Ryan and Jason Douglas by his son Peter.