Movie Memories and Mourning the Loss of Icon Kirk Douglas
Hollywood "Tough Guy" Kirk Douglas, who portrayed many iconic roles in numerous classic movies, passed away yesterday at the age of 103. No word yet on cause of death, but it's probably safe to say it was due to natural causes. I mean seriously, 103 years old. The man had quite an amazing run. And quite an amazing life.
Douglas was one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood's fabled "Golden Age", starring in many film favorites over an almost 60-year span. Personally, I'm a huge fan. Some of my favorite films of all-time just happen to be Kirk Douglas movies, including his very first film appearance, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, co-starring Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, and the always under-rated Lizabeth Scott.
Douglas opened my eyes to the world of Stanley Kubrick who has since become one of my favorite directors. And without a doubt, two of my favorite Kirk Douglas performances are roles from Kubrick's Spartacus and Paths of Glory. Here's a scene from Paths of Glory in which Douglas shows off some acting chops:
Douglas also paved the way for my love of film noir. He appeared in Out of the Past with Robert Mitchum which is surely right up there with Double Indemnity as one of the definitive film noir classics. And that was only his second film.
Of course, Douglas had such a strong on-screen presence that many more notable roles would follow including, Champion(as boxer "Midge" Kelly in an Academy Award nominated performance), Billy Wilder's fantastic Ace in the Hole, Vincente Minelli's The Bad and the Beautiful(in another Academy Award nominated role),Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea(alongside James Mason), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral(as Doc Holliday), and Lust For Life. Douglas' performance as Vincent van Gogh in Lust For Life garnered him his third nomination for Best Actor.
The list goes on and I could, too, but I'll stop there. If any of the above films sounds interesting, I advise you to check them out. It will be worth it to see one of Hollywood's most under-rated actors delivering another top-notch performance. Thanks for the many memories, Mr. Douglas. And also for expanding my love and knowledge of film. You'll be forever missed.