Kirk Douglas,one of the last stars of Hollywood's golden years,has passed away at 103
I have enjoyed many of the movies that this great Hollywood Actor (not just a star), of the Classic Age, was in. He invariably gave a most believable and skilled performance. I was surprised to hear of his death, because I didn't realize he was still around. He died at the age of 103 and for Hollywood, that is incredibly old, but I suppose his life was led on the conservative side, health wise, and that had to be key to his longevity.

Nice article about him this:

Keyboard Warrior

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Kirk Douglas, one of the last stars of Hollywood's golden years, has passed away at 103
By Andrea Widburg

Before World War II, Depression-era Americans wanted their Hollywood male leads to be suave and sophisticated, whether they were in dramatic or humorous roles.  After World War II, however, Americans craved authentic men on the screen — and in Kirk Douglas, they got a movie star so authentic, so searing, that even today Douglas is still a cultural touchpoint.
Issur Danielovitch Demsky, better known as Kirk Douglas, was born into poverty on December 9, 1916, in Amsterdam, New York.  He died on February 5, 2020, at age 103, in Beverly Hills, California, not only wealthy, but also one of the most admired actors Hollywood has ever produced.

Douglas's life trajectory epitomized the opportunities available to hardworking first-generation American children hungry for success.  He started on the bottom-most rung of the American ladder, writing in his autobiography The Ragman's Son:
Quote:My father, who had been a horse trader in Russia, got himself a horse and a small wagon, and became a ragman, buying old rags, pieces of metal, and junk for pennies, nickels, and dimes[.] ... Even on Eagle Street, in the poorest section of town, where all the families were struggling, the ragman was on the lowest rung on the ladder. And I was the ragman's son.

Douglas knew he could do better.  Through hard work and intelligence, he put himself through St. Lawrence University, graduating in 1939 with a B.A.  During college, he worked as a gardener, a janitor, and even a carnival wrestler.  After graduating, Douglas earned a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.

In December 1941, after Pearl Harbor, Douglas joined the U.S. Navy, serving as a communications officer in anti-submarine warfare.  He was medically discharged in 1944.  By that time, he had married, and his first child was on the way.

After the war, Douglas supported his family in New York City by taking on any acting work he could find, especially radio work.  Although he saw himself as a stage actor, one of his classmates from the Academy of Dramatic Arts, Lauren Bacall, recommended him for his first film role in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946).  In it, he showed the edgy intensity that made him famous, although, for the last time, his character was weak, not strong.

Douglas's authenticity, intensity, and instantly recognizable personality set him on the path to stardom.  In this, he was distinct from today's young leading actors, all of whom are boyish and blandly interchangeable.

What helped his career was that Douglas wanted to be an actor, not a star.  He was willing to take on roles that were interesting rather than charming, tragic, or romantic.  His big breakthrough was 1949's Champion, in which he played a boxer trying to win in the ring while fighting his personal demons outside the ring.  For his efforts, Douglas received his first Oscar nomination — at a time when acting quality, rather than diversity symbolism, still mattered.

Throughout the 1950s, Douglas chose roles that demanded an intensity that most actors couldn't maintain.  In film after film, he was anguished, angry, troubled, selfish, alcoholic, cynical, and ruthless.  All of this ought to have made him an anti-hero, but Douglas was so charismatic and attractive, and he brought such authenticity to the characters he so brilliantly inhabited, that his star continued to rise.  By the mid-1950s, Douglas was comfortable enough in his own skin to assay lighter movies, such as Disney's popular 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the comic western Man Without a Star.

Douglas worked non-stop through the 1950s, going from one success to another.  It was in 1960, though, that he played his iconic role, the one forever associated with him: Spartacus, the Roman slave who led an uprising that almost toppled the Roman empire.  To Douglas, the role was a statement about the already dead or dying McCarthy blacklisting that had affected Hollywood.  To Americans, it was just a darn good movie.

The "I am Spartacus" scene is forever imprinted on the American psyche, so much so that Cory Booker made a joke of himself when he pretended to break a Senate rule during the Kavanaugh hearing and announced, "This is the closest I'll get to an 'I am Spartacus' moment."  Sorry, Cory.  It takes Kirk Douglas to make it believable that a rebel's followers would willingly sacrifice themselves for him:

Douglas never stopped.  Throughout the 1960s and into the mid-1990s, Douglas kept appearing in movies and hosting special events.  Only in 1996, when a stroke impaired his ability to speak, did Douglas slow down.  Even then, though, after intense therapy, Douglas managed to appear in more movies and theatrical productions, including an autobiographical one-man show, movingly entitled Before I Forget.

Significantly, as Douglas grew closer to his own mortality, he returned to the Judaism of his youth.  Eventually, being a Jew became one of the most important parts of his life, so much that he finally had his bar mitzvah when he was 83.

Even during his long years away from religion, Douglas was a staunch friend to Israel.  Despite being a lifelong old-school Democrat, he wrote to Jimmy Carter in 2005, reminding the anti-Israel ex-president, "Israel is the only successful democracy in the Middle East ... [and] has had to endure many wars against overwhelming odds.  If Israel loses one war, they lose Israel."

Thanks to a dynamic career that spanned more than 70 years, Douglas became an American institution, woven into America's fabric.  Although he retired from acting more than a decade ago, his passing at age 103 still leaves a tear in that fabric.  May his memory be a blessing.
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I don't need a good memory, because I always tell the truth.
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Fiction has to make sense
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If history doesn't repeat itself, it sure does rhyme.
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Issur Danielovitch Demsky (Dimples for short) RIP

I always wondered how in the world

he ever shaved that chin...

Condolences to the family
Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!
[-] The following 1 user Likes Blind Horus's post:
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Didn't like his politics, but he was a good actor who was in some great movies.
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