As mentioned yesterday, Kirk Douglas began his movie career with a bang in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, a provocative 1946 film noir costarring Barbara Stanwyck and Van Heflin, and 95 film/tv credits later he is still going.
Although it seems that many of us of a certain vintage have known Kirk Douglas forever (he turns 98 in December) we may not know as much about him as we think. Our Monday Quiz, based on the actor’s own writings in his 2007 memoir, Let’s Face It: 90 Years of Living, Loving and Learning, is designed to put your knowledge to the test.
For Quiz questions, please scroll down just a bit for yesterday’s blog. Here are the answers to the 10 questions set forth there:
1) Answer: b) False. Douglas subscribes to the Noel Coward-inspired dictum, “Don’t Put Your Daughter (or Son) on the Stage.” He told his most successful actor-son, Michael, that his college performance in As You Like It was “awful.” He would have preferred that Michael would have studied to be a lawyer.
2) Answer: c) Charles Laughton. Douglas wrote him a “fan letter” in 1939, the year he graduated from St. Lawrence University and the year The Hunchback of Notre Dame was released. Douglas inquired about acting technique. He never got an answer. Years later, producer-star Douglas hired Laughton for Spartacus. Douglas wrote, Watching him perform answered a lot of my questions.
3) Answer: d) An unnamed director of a summer stock theater blurted out “Kirk Douglas.” It stuck. The stock company included Douglas’ friend Karl Malden whose real name is Mladen Sekulovich.
4) Answer: Douglas and Burt Lancaster made b) 7 movies together.
5) Answer: c) Dalton Trumbo, the blacklisted screenwriter of Spartacus, assumed the pseudonym of “Sam Jackson.”
6) Answer: a) True. Douglas was appalled by the young (mid-Twenties) Stanley Kubrick’s suggestion that his name be billed as the screenwriter of Spartacus. Wrote Douglas: I was shocked. Kubrick’s suggestion inspired producer-actor Douglas to publicly acknowledge the blacklisted screenwriter’s real identity — I’ve decided to use Dalton Trumbo’s name on the screen, Douglas announced. At the time (1960) it was a daring thing to do.
7) Answer: c) When producer-director Otto Preminger, then making the epic Exodus, found out that Trumbo’s real name would be credited as Spartacus screenwriter, he called Douglas: Are you crazy? Don’t do dat. When Preminger realized Douglas’ mind was made up, he organized a press conference to announce that he would give credit to Dalton Trumbo as the writer of Exodus. Wrote Douglas: Otto was a smart producer. He didn’t want to be caught using a nom de plume for Dalton Trumbo when I was using Trumbo’s real name.
8) Answer: Apologies. This is a trick question. The right answer is “all of the above” from a) to d). Douglas feels each was dumb.
9) Answer: a) Vincent van Gogh in Lust For Life, the only role that demonstrates to me the process of erasing myself and becoming another character, recalled Douglas.
10) Answer: d) Hepatitis C.