Best Western Movies and Biography of One of the Greatest of All Time..KIRK DOUGLAS

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Who Was BIG Kirk Douglas?
After stints in the U.S. Navy and on Broadway, actor Kirk Douglas broke into the movies with The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. He went on to critical acclaim in such films as 1952’s The Bad and the Beautiful and 1956′ s Lust for Life. One of his biggest hits was 1960’s Spartacus.
Born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916, in Amsterdam, New York, Douglas is known for his distinctive voice, strapping physique and cleft chin. The son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Douglas grew up poor. He worked odd jobs to pay for his college education and to support himself while studying acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. At that time, he had no idea what his future had in store: In the 1950s and 60s, Douglas was one of the most popular leading men in cinema.

After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II — and a brief career on the Broadway stage — Douglas made his first Hollywood film, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), starring with Barbara Stanwyck. Three years later, he gave a breakthrough performance as a boxer who stops at nothing to make it to the top in Champion (1949). He amazed audiences and critics alike with his portrayal of Midge Kelly in the film, which earned him his first Academy Award nomination.
Career Highlights
A sought-after actor, Douglas worked with many leading directors, including Billy Wilder for 1951’s Ace in the Hole. However, it was his work with Vincente Minnelli that led to two of his greatest performances: morally bankrupt movie executive Jonathan Shields in The Bad and the Beautiful 1952, and troubled artist Vincent van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956). Douglas earned an Academy Award nomination for each of those films.

In addition to his critical acclaim, Douglas became a big box-office draw. Over the years, he often appeared with his friend and fellow Hollywood heavyweight, Burt Lancaster, in such films as Gunfight at the O.K. Corral 1957, a western drama, The Devil’s Disciple (1959) and Seven Days in May 1964. Working with director Stanley Kubrick, he also starred in the World War I drama Paths of Glory 1957 and Spartacus 1960. Douglas’ work in Spartacus as a Roman slave (the film’s title character) who leads an uprising is considered to be one of his signature roles.

In making Spartacus, Douglas also challenged the practice of blacklisting certain Hollywood figures over their possible communist leanings. He hired blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo to write Spartacus. Trumbo, a member of the Hollywood Ten, turned out a number of screenplays under various pseudonyms during the more than a decade he was blacklisted but was later given full credit for his work, including two Academy Awards.

In the 1970s, Douglas tried his hand at directing, but met with little success. Two of his directorial efforts that decade, Scalawag 1973 and Posse 1975, failed to make much of an impression on movie-goers. Around the same time, his acting career stalled. His later and more memorable films include The Man from Snowy River 1982 and Tough Guys 1986, which was his last on-screen reunion with Lancaster.
Writing and Acting
While one phase of Douglas’ life was slowing down, another was just beginning. In 1988, he shared his life story in the best-selling autobiography, The Ragman’s Son. He also showed a talent for fiction writing, producing such works as Dance with the Devil (1990) and The Gift (1992). One of his nonfiction works, Climbing the Mountain: My Search for Meaning (1997), was published shortly after Douglas experienced a nearly fatal stroke in 1995. He followed that up with My Stroke of Luck in 2003.

Clearly determined not to be daunted by personal setbacks, Douglas did not let his stroke slow him down for long. Though the incident had affected his speech, he continued to act, starring in the 1999 comedy Diamonds, along with Dan Ay Aykroyd Lauren Bacall and Jenny McCarthy. He was also nominated for an Emmy Award for a guest appearance on the inspirational television drama Touched by an Angel in 2000. A few years later, he co-starred with son Michael Douglas in the drama It Runs in the Family 2003.

Later Projects Douglas 
Douglas continued to write biographical works in his later years, including Let’s Face It: 90 Years of Living, Loving, and Learning 2007. More recently, he delved into the backstory of one of his most famous roles, with 2012’s I am Spartacus! The Making of a Film, Breaking the Blacklist for which George Clooney wrote the foreword.

In 2009, Douglas mounted a one-man show on stage, sharing his 60 years of filmmaking and personal life with theater-goers in Before I Forget. He won raves for his performance, including praise from Variety for his “uncensored candor.” The Hollywood Reporter called the show a “remarkable display of courage” by Douglas, adding that his performance was reminiscent of the time “when giants strode through HollywooD.

 

The War Wagon

Dir. by Burt Kennedy (1967), starring Sean Connery, John Wayne & Donald Sutherland

This film is a 1967 Western film starring John Wayne and Kirk Douglas, released by Universal Pictures, directed by Burt Kennedy, produced by Marvin Schwartz and adapted by Clair Huffaker from his own..

The Villain

Dir. by Hal Needham (1979), starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ann-Margret & Kirk Douglas

The Villain is a 1979 American film. A parody blend of western films and Warner Bros.’ Wile E. Coyote cartoon situations, it was directed by Hal Needham and starred Kirk Douglas, Arnold..

The Man from Snowy River

Dir. by George T. Miller (1982), starring Kirk Douglas, Jack Thompson & Gus Mercurio

The Man from Snowy River is a 1982 Australian drama film based on the Banjo Paterson poem The Man from Snowy River. The film had a cast including Kirk Douglas in a dual role as the brothers Harrison..

The Last Sunset

Dir. by Robert Aldrich (1961), starring Kirk Douglas, Rock Hudson & Piper Laurie

The Last Sunset is a 1961 western movie starring Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas, and Dorothy Malone, and was directed by Robert Aldrich. The film was released by Universal Studios, shot in Eastman color.

 

The Indian Fighter

Dir. by André de Toth (1956), starring Kirk Douglas, Walter Matthau & Alan Hale

The Indian Fighter is a 1956 American Western film directed by Andre De Toth and based upon an original story by Robert L..

The Big Sky

Dir. by Howard Hawks (1952), starring Kirk Douglas, Jim Davis & Iron Eyes Cody

The Big Sky is a 1952 American Western film directed by Howard Hawks, based on the novel of the same name. The cast includes Kirk Douglas, Arthur Hunnicutt, Dewey Martin and Elizabeth Threatt. Though..

Posse

Dir. by Kirk Douglas (1975), starring Kirk Douglas, Bruce Dern & Bo Hopkins

Posse is a 1975 American Western film, produced by, directed by and starring Kirk Douglas. The screenplay was written by Christopher Knopf and William Roberts. The plot centers on a U.S. marshal with.

Man Without a Star

Dir. by King Vidor (1955), starring Kirk Douglas, Jeanne Crain & Mara Corday

Man Without a Star is a 1955 western film starring Kirk Douglas as a wanderer who gets dragged into a range war. It was based on the novel of the same name, published in 1952, by Dee Linford…

Lonely Are the Brave

Dir. by David Miller (1962), starring Kirk Douglas, George Kennedy & Walter Matthau

Lonely Are the Brave is a 1962 film adaptation of the Edward Abbey novel The Brave Cowboy. The film was directed by David Miller from a screenplay by Dalton Trumbo. It stars Kirk Douglas as cowboy..

Last Train from Gun Hill

Dir. by John Sturges (1959), starring Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn & Carolyn Jones

Last Train from Gun Hill is a 1959 Western by action director John Sturges. It stars Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones and Earl Holliman. Douglas and Holliman had previously appeared..

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Dir. by John Sturges (1957), starring Kirk Douglas, Dennis Hopper & Burt Lancaster

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral is a 1957 American film starring Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday, based on a real event which took place on October 26, 1881. The picture was..

Draw!

Dir. by Steven Hilliard Stern (1984), starring Kirk Douglas, James Coburn & Linda Sorenson

Draw! is a 1984 American/Canadian comedy-western film by Steven Hilliard Stern..

Along the Great Divide

Dir. by Raoul Walsh (1951), starring Kirk Douglas, Walter Brennan & Virginia Mayo

Along the Great Divide is a 1951 American western film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Kirk Douglas, Virginia Mayo, John…

A Gunfight

Dir. by Lamont Johnson (1971), starring Johnny Cash, Kirk Douglas & Jane Alexander

A Gunfight is a Western movie from 1971 directed by Lamont Johnson, starring Kirk Douglas and Johnny Cash. The film was financed by the Jicarilla Apache Tribe, although there are no leading Native..

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