Legendary Hollywood filmmaker Kirk Douglas was honored for his long career on Sunday night’s at the Golden Globes Award night.
The 101-year-old father of A-list Hollywood superstar, Michael Douglas, took to the stage with daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta Jones, to present an award.
Catherine, the wife of Kirk’s actor son Michael Douglas, paid tribute to her father-in-law’s career.
“In 1991 my father-in-law, this living Hollywood legend Kirk, was recognized by the ‘Writer’s Guild of America’ for his role in ending the Hollywood Blacklist,” she said.
The blacklist saw entertainment professionals denied work because they were accused of having Communist ties.
She reminded the audiences how Kirk hired the screenwriter Dalton Trumbo to write the Hollywood epic Spartacus, and insisted his name appear as writer.
Kirk responded to Catherine’s words, although in parts his speech was inaudible.
“Catherine,’ he said. ‘You said it all. I would have made a speech but I don’t want to say it.” He paused, and told Catherine with a smile: ‘I could never follow you.’
Replied the actress, holding his hand: ‘Why don’t we say that here are the nominations?’
Born Issur Danielovitch, Kirk grew up in Amsterdam, New York the son of impoverished Yiddish-speaking Russian immigrants.
After developing an interest in acting in high school he won a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.
A fellow classmate was Lauren Bacall, who Douglas briefly dated, before marrying a third classmate – Diana Dill, the mother of actor Michael and his brother Joel.
Kirk served in the U.S. Navy throughout WWII. After being discharged for war injuries he found work as a stage actor, before his friend Bacall recommended him to director Hal Wallis, who cast Kirk in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, aged 30 in 1946.
Kirk went on to star in more than 90 movies and was a major box office star of the ’50s and ’60s.
His most popular films include Champion (1949), which established his tough guy image, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957),Spartacus (1960), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), and Tough Guys (1986).