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.
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.
Compiled from Anne's private archive of letters and photographs, this is an intimate glimpse into the Douglases' courtship and marriage set against the backdrop of Kirk's screen triumphs, including The Vikings, Lust For Life, Paths of Glory, and Spartacus. The letters themselves, as well as Kirk and Anne's vivid descriptions of their experiences, reveal remarkable insight and anecdotes about the legendary figures they knew so well, including Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, the Kennedys, and the Reagans. Filled with photos from film sets, private moments, and public events, Kirk and Anne details the adventurous, oftentimes comic, and poignant reality behind the glamour of a Hollywood life-as only a couple of sixty-two years (and counting) could tell it.
In the six decades since he took to the stage and screen, Kirk Douglas has starred in eighty-three films, nine plays, written seven books, and made a remarkable commitment to humanitarian causes world-wide. Now in My Stroke of Luck, his vivid and very personal reflection upon his extraordinary life, Kirk Douglas finally completes his story by offering a candid and heartfelt memoir of where it all went right.
Written in his own words, Kirk offers tender vignettes of his childhood, family, and the seminal event that changed his life for the better. Kirk offers the lessons that saved him and helped him to heal; he also shares warm memories of some of the most famous figures of our time -- including Burt Lancaster, Michael J. Fox and Gary Cooper.
Filled with personal insights and read by Kirk Douglas and his son Michael, My Stroke of Luck is an audio sure to inspire all who hear it.