Kirk Douglas was born in 1916 as Issur Danielovich, the son of impoverished immigrants from Russia (now Belarus). Neither of his parents could read or write. Douglas himself wrote this about his childhood
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
Not to put too fine a point on it, Douglas worked his ass off to get out of that situation Once he spent the night in jail because he had no place to sleep. But he made his way. Lauren Bacall helped him get his first film role. And he went on to act in over 80 movies.
I found his 1994 interview with Charlie Rose to be fascinating. Not because Douglas bowled me over. To the contrary, it was because he didn’t want to bowl anyone over. He wants to give back to people who helped him. Check it out. Enjoy!