Name at birth: Issur Danielovich Demsky
After World War II, Kirk Douglas worked in the movies, making his mark in 1949's The Champion. During the 1950s and '60s Douglas was a savvy and bankable star, varying from intense dramatic roles in Paths of Glory (1957) and Seven Days in May (1964), to playful entertainments such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). He also formed his own production company (later he transferred the rights to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) to his son, Michael Douglas) and tried his hand at directing movies in the 1970s, including Posse (1975). Although his position as a box office draw diminished, he continued to turn in fine performances on television and in films such as The Man From Snowy River (1982) and Tough Guys (1986, co-starring Burt Lancaster). Slowed by a stroke, Douglas nevertheless appeared in the 1999 movie Diamonds. He also starred in 2003's It Runs in the Family, appearing with his ex-wife Diana, his son Michael and his grandson Cameron Douglas. Kirk Douglas was nominated three times for Oscars, but never won until 1996, when he was given an honorary Oscar for his 50 years in the business.
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