Kirk Douglas

Easton Press Kirk Douglas books

Climbing the Mountain - signed first edition - 1997
I Am Spartacus - signed first edition - 2012

Franklin Library Kirk Douglas books

Last Tango in Brooklyn - signed first edition - 1994


Actor Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916, in Amsterdam, New York, was an iconic American actor, producer, director, and author. He became one of the leading figures in the Golden Age of Hollywood and left a lasting legacy through his distinguished career and contributions to the film industry. Growing up in a modest family of Russian-Jewish descent, Douglas faced various challenges, but his determination and talent propelled him to pursue a career in acting. He changed his name to Kirk Douglas and, after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Kirk Douglas made his Broadway debut in 1941 and soon transitioned to Hollywood. He gained widespread recognition with his breakout role as a ruthless boxer in Champion (1949), earning him his first Academy Award nomination. This marked the beginning of a prolific career that spanned over six decades. Some of Kirk Douglas's most memorable performances include Ace in the Hole (1951), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), and Paths of Glory (1957). However, he is perhaps best known for his portrayal of the titular character in Spartacus (1960), which he also produced, defying the Hollywood blacklist.

In addition to his acting career, Douglas was involved in various philanthropic efforts and political causes. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 and an honorary Academy Award in 1996 for his 50 years as a creative and moral force in the film community. Kirk Douglas also found success as an author, publishing several books, including his autobiography The Ragman's Son (1988). He remained active in the entertainment industry, even receiving an honorary Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1996.

Kirk Douglas's personal life included a marriage to actress Diana Dill, which produced two sons, actor Michael Douglas and producer Joel Douglas. Following his divorce from Dill, he married Anne Buydens in 1954, with whom he had two more sons, Peter and Eric. Kirk Douglas passed away on February 5, 2020, at the age of 103. His impact on Hollywood, his contributions to film, and his enduring legacy as a charismatic and versatile actor continue to be celebrated by fans and the film industry alike.


Climbing The Mountain - My Search For Meaning

With the simple power and astonishing candor that made his 1988 autobiography, The Ragman's Son, a number one international bestseller, Kirk Douglas now shares his quest for spirituality and Jewish identity and his heroic fight to overcome crippling injuries and a devastating stroke.
On February 13, 1991, at the age of seventy-four, Kirk Douglas, star of such major motion-picture classics as Champion, Spartacus, and Paths of Glory, was in a helicopter crash, in which two people died and he himself sustained severe back injuries. As he lay in the hospital recovering, he kept wondering: Why had two younger men died while he, who had already lived his life fully, survived?
The question drove this son of a Russian-Jewish ragman to a search for his roots and on a long journey of self-discovery a quest not only for the meaning of life and his own relationship with God, but for his own identity as a Jew. Through the study of the Bible, Kirk Douglas found a new spirituality and purpose. His newfound faith deeply enriched his relationship with his own children and taught him a man who had always been famously demanding and impatient to listen to others and, above all, to hear his own inner voice.
Told with warmth, wit, much humor, and deep passion, Climbing the Mountain is inspirational in the very best sense of the word.

I Am Spartacus! - Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist

One of the world’s most iconic movie stars, Kirk Douglas has distinguished himself as a producer, philanthropist, and author of ten works of fiction and memoir. Now, more than fifty years after the release of his enduring epic Spartacus, Douglas reveals the riveting drama behind the making of the legendary gladiator film. Douglas began producing the movie in the midst of the politically charged era when Hollywood’s moguls refused to hire anyone accused of Communist sympathies. In a risky move, Douglas chose Dalton Trumbo, a blacklisted screenwriter, to write Spartacus. Trumbo was one of the “Unfriendly Ten,” men who had gone to prison rather than testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee about their political affiliations. Douglas’s source material was already a hot property, as the novel Spartacus was written by Howard Fast while he was in jail for defying HUAC.
With the financial future of his young family at stake, Douglas plunged into a tumultuous production both on- and off-screen. As both producer and star of the film, he faced explosive moments with young director Stanley Kubrick, struggles with a leading lady, and negotiations with giant personalities, including Sir Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, and Lew Wasserman. Writing from his heart and from his own meticulously researched archives, Kirk Douglas, at ninety-five, looks back at his audacious decisions. He made the most expensive film of its era but more importantly, his moral courage in giving public credit to Trumbo effectively ended the notorious Hollywood blacklist.
A master storyteller, Douglas paints a vivid and often humorous portrait in I Am Spartacus! The book is enhanced by newly discovered period photography of the stars and filmmakers both on and off the set.


Last Tango in Brooklyn

In this, his most satisfying novel so far, Kirk Douglas exhibits the brilliant versatility that he has showcased so vividly in his many decades as an actor. Here he tells the story of two ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances, circumstances that wait right around the corner for each one of us. Ellen, a small-town girl from upstate New York, is trying to make it as a modern woman in the big city. She is doing well in her career as the librarian of a large Brooklyn hospital, but her personal life is a mess. Her boyfriend, Richard, a world-renowned heart transplant specialist, is unfaithful. Her roommate has moved out leaving her with a mountain of unpaid bills. She is broke. Then she meets Ben at a screening of Last Tango in Paris. Ben, a fitness instructor, is twice her age, but he is a vigorous man able to challenge and out-perform men young enough to be his sons. A recent widower, Ben is frantically scrambling to find a temporary place to live, because his house in Flatbush has sold much faster than he expected. Ellen rents Ben a room, but what begins as friendly business relationship slowly turns into something more. Ben feels a surge of vitality in which passion knows no age and no limits. Ellen, full of life spirit, and mischief, seems his perfect match. Yet Ellen and Ben's startling and consuming affair faces a gulf even wider than the gap that separates May and December. Ellen's best friend is appalled, Ben's daughter, a psychologist, condemns their relationship as a Freudian nightmare. A terrible accident and then a mysterious death which could be murder threaten to doom their love. Soon, life's expectations shatter on the rocks of the unexpected. Roleschange in astonishing ways. Yet, ultimately, Ellen and Ben's love will prove stronger than reason - in a powerful finale than will haunt the reader long after he or she has closed the book.

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