Once quoted as saying "I've made a career of playing sons of bitches," Kirk Douglas is considered by many to be the epitome of the Hollywood hard man. In addition to acting in countless films over the course of his long career, Douglas has served as a director and producer, and will forever be associated with his role in helping to put an end to the infamous Hollywood black list.
Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch) was the son Russian Jewish immigrant parents in Amsterdam, NY, on December 9, 1916. He waited tables to finance his education at St. Lawrence University, where he was a top-notch wrestler. While there, he also did a little work in the theater, something that soon gave way to his desire to pursue acting as a career. After some work as a professional wrestler, Douglas held various odd jobs, including a stint as a bellhop, to put himself through the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1941, he debuted on Broadway, but had only two small roles before he enlisting in the Navy and serving in World War II. Following his discharge, Douglas returned to Broadway in 1945, where he began getting more substantial roles; he also did some work on radio.