Seven facts about actor Kirk Douglas

Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas (2L) was one of the 1994 Kennedy Center Honors award recipients.
Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas (2L) was one of the 1994 Kennedy Center Honors award recipients.

Several facts about actor Kirk Douglas, who is dead at 103:

* Born Issur Danielovitch of Russian-Jewish ancestry in New York, Douglas had two bar mitzvahs - one at the traditional age of 13 and another at 83 when he reaffirmed his faith.

* Because he was only about 1.75 metres tall, Douglas often wore lifts in his shoes on screen.

* He was to have starred with Sylvester Stallone in First Blood, the initial movie in the Rambo series, but left after Stallone rejected his suggested script changes.

* A 1996 stroke left Douglas with slurred speech and damaged facial nerves. It did not, however, keep him from attending the Academy Awards ceremony two weeks later to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

* Douglas starred in a 1963 stage version of Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and tried to make a movie of the book. He could not find an interested studio but his son Michael finally got the film made in 1975.

* Douglas was 75 when he survived a helicopter crash that killed two other people.

* President Jimmy Carter gave Douglas the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, in 1981.

* He was among recipients of the 1994 Kennedy Center Honors award recipients.

Australian Associated Press