“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Path of Glory…

Posted on February 5, 2020 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`Kirk Douglas was a physical actor whose stardom was assured the second he appeared on the big screen; a social activist whose defining moment occurred when he singularly took on the blacklisting of screenwriters during the production of Spartacus;  and the patriarch of a family that included an Oscar-winning son and daughter-in-law. He was unique unto himself, a force for change, and symbol of endurance. Plus, he had one hell of a cleft on his chin.

“`He changed his name to Kirk Douglas while at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Beginning in 1941, Douglas won a series of small roles on Broadway, and served briefly in the Navy. He received a major Hollywood break when an old friend from New York, Lauren Bacall, recommended he co-star with Barbara Stanwyck in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. He gained further attention with the film noir Out of the Past and A Letter to Three Wives.

“`The 1950s were kind to Kirk Douglas and his credits read as some of the most revered productions of the decade: Champion (actually filmed and released in 1949), Young Man with a Horn, Detective Story, The Bad and the Beautiful20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Ace in the Hole, Lust For Life, Gunfight at the OK Corral, and Paths of Glory. He started his own film production company in 1955, when many actors still depended on the studios, and directed some of his later movies.

“`In 1960, the actor’s legacy was cemented. Kirk delivered a hit to the Hollywood blacklist when he openly credited former Communist and Oscar winner Dalton Trumbo for his script work on Spartacus. (Earlier, Otto Preminger had announced that Trumbo’s name would appear on the credits for Exodus, but Spartacus debuted first.)

“`During the decade, Kirk appeared in Town without Pity, Lonely are the Brave, The List of Adrian Messenger, Seven Days in May, In Harm’s Way, and The War Wagon. As the studio era ended, Douglas had collaborated with some of Hollywood’s finest directors, such as Vincente Minnelli, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick, and Elia Kazan.  Plus, his most reliable co-star was Burt Lancaster.

“`Kirk Douglas tried for years to make a movie out of Ken Kesey’s cult novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In the 1970s, he gave up and let his son Michael have a go. The younger Douglas produced a classic that starred Jack Nicholson, and it dominated the Oscars, winning for picture, director, actor, actress, and screenplay.

“`Though Douglas never won a competitive Oscar,  the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded him an honorary award in 1996. His other accolades included a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Lifetime Achievement Award from American Film Institute.

“`After dabbling on television, and writing a few books, Kirk became one of Hollywood’s leading philanthropists. The Douglas Foundation, in which he and Anne Douglas co-founded, has donated millions to a range of non-profits, such as Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Motion Picture and Television Fund. In 2015, this foundation endowed the Kirk Douglas Fellowship; a full-tuition AFI scholarship.

“`Overcoming a stroke and advancing age, Kirk Douglas (right) finally left us after a life well lived. He was 103.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 at 10:24 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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