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Kirk Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch Demsky December 9, 1916) is an American actor and film producer known for his gravelly voice and his recurring roles as the kinds of characters Douglas himself once described as "sons of bitches". He is also father to Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas. He came in at #17 on AFI's list of the greatest male American screen legends of all time and is one of two living actors on the list (Sidney Poitier being the other).
Kirk Douglas received three Academy Award nominations for his work in Champion, The Bad and the Beautiful and Lust for Life (as Vincent Van Gogh). Douglas did not win any competitive Oscars, but received a special Oscar in 1996 for "50 years as a moral and creative force in the motion picture community".
He also played an important role in breaking the Hollywood blacklist by publicly opposing Stanley Kubrick's intention to take credit for the screenplay of Spartacus, which had been adapted from Howard Fast's novel by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo. Douglas had collaborated closely with Kubrick in Paths of Glory, where Douglas played one of his most memorable roles, as Colonel Dax, the commander of a French regiment during World War I ordered to make a suicidal attack.
For his contributions to the motion picture industry, Kirk Douglas has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6263 Hollywood Blvd. In 1984, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
In October 2004, the avenue "Kirk Douglas Way" in Palm Springs, California was named in his honor by the Palm Springs International Film Society and Film Festival.
Popular at home and around the world, Kirk Douglas received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981, the French Legion of Honor in 1985, and the National Medal of the Arts in 2001.
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