Kirk Douglas, the quintessential Hollywood hard guy, was born in 1916 to Russian Jewish immigrant parents in Amsterdam, N.Y. Along with acting in countless films, Douglas has been a director and producer, and had a significant role in helping to end the infamous Hollywood blacklist.
His brash, powerful screen persona developed during the ‘50s in films like “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1952) and “Gunfight and the O.K. Corral” (1957). Douglas’ own film company, Bryna Productions, produced movies that offered him pivotal roles in films including Stanley Kubrick’s epics “Paths of Glory” (1957) and “Spartacus” (1960, winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture).
While Douglas continued his work in films until the 1980s, his role as Goodwill Ambassador for the State Department earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981. This “ragman’s son” (the title of Douglas’ best-selling autobiography) is both superstar and genuine humanitarian.