Kirk Douglas – from his early years

 

This man may not be a favourite of mine but you have to admire the way he went from such a low start in life to become the major film star he has been.

 

Film Actor Kirk Douglas was born on 9th December 1916 so he is 102 and a bit years old.

His parents were very poor Jewish immigrants from Chavusy, located in present day Belarus. Kirk was a very keen student and athlete. He was fond of acting and at a very young age realised that getting a scholarship for acting would be the road to salvation from his poor and wretched condition.

He had enough talent to get enrolled at the ‘American Academy of Dramatic Arts’ which opened the door to fame and riches.

Kirk Douglas

 

He describes his early life in New York. His father, who had been a horse trader in Russia, got himself a horse and a small wagon, and became a ragman, buying old rags, pieces of metal, and junk. … Even in the poorest section of town, where all the families were struggling, the ragman was on the lowest rung on the ladder. He had five sisters. He then got into acting and the rest is history. I have to say, he is not one of my favourites but reading the above, you have to have some admiration for him, someone who is able to rise from such humble beginnings to achieve what he did.

 

The poverty for his family then would be on a scale not imaginable today. In his 1988 autobiography, The Ragman’s Son, Douglas notes the hardships that he, along with six sisters and his parents, endured during their early years in Amsterdam, New York:

My father, who had been a horse trader in Russia, got himself a horse and a small wagon, and became a ragman, buying old rags, pieces of metal, and junk for pennies, nickels, and dimes. … Even on Eagle Street, in the poorest section of town, where all the families were struggling, the ragman was on the lowest rung on the ladder. And I was the ragman’s son.

Growing up, Douglas sold snacks to mill workers to earn enough to buy milk and bread to help his family. Later, he delivered newspapers and during his youth worked at more than forty different jobs before getting a job acting.

 

BELOW – In his acting career and in one of my favourite Westerns – Gunfight at the OK Corral playing Doc Holliday with Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp.

 

Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday

 

Below – with Burt Lancaster

 

Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday 2

 

 

 

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