Let’s face it, Kirk Douglas has always been a fighter, and it’s not just from the image that he created in his wide variety of film roles. For starters, the man (who happens to be the father of actor Michael Douglas) has just turned 102 years old, and, given his appearance at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, there is absolutely no sign that he’s planning on slowing down anytime soon.
And this despite the fact that he suffered a severe stroke over two decades ago. But it’s exactly this kind of strength that has kept us fascinated with him for all these years, and will ensure that his legacy will live on for many more to come.
“As an actor of phenomenal energy and intensity,” comments Darwin Porter, author of the biography Kirk Douglas, More is Never Enough coming in April from Blood Moon Productions, “Kirk Douglas is the last surviving male actor of Golden Age Hollywood. He was among the dozen or so top stars dominating the screens of the latter half of the 20th Century, excelling in whatever style of character acting he was assigned: film noir, a gunslinger in a western, a ruthlessly ambitious boxer, an ancient classical hero like Spartacus, a rogue adventurer, or a gangster.”
Born Issur Danielovitch (c’mon, it’s a natural progression to Kirk Douglas from there) on Dec. 9, 1916, in Amsterdam, NY, he made his film debut in 1946’s The Strange Love of Martha Ivers but catapulted to stardom only three years later with Champion. Things just continued from there, with Kirk starring in one classic after another, and moving from cop stories to Westerns to period dramas, most notable among them being 1960’s Spartacus.
What follows is a countdown of a dozen of his most popular films, and they genuinely just start to scratch the surface of all that Kirk Douglas has accomplished.