American actor and producer Kirk Douglas lived a fulfilled life with his wife of over 60 years and lived to the age of 103. However, his life would have been cut short in 1958 were it not for his wife's premonition. Here is how Douglas escaped death.
Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in Amsterdam, New York to poor Jewish Russian immigrants, the man that came to be known as Kirk Douglas arrived in this world on December 9, 1916. Unfortunately, his childhood was filled with challenges.
Despite all the difficulties, Douglas was keen on becoming a great actor someday. He worked very hard to pay for his college education and see himself through the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where he studied acting.
Portrait photo of late actor Kirk Douglas. | Photo: Getty Images
KIRK DOUGLAS' EARLY CAREER
After graduation, Douglas got into the US Navy, where he served during World War II. However, his love for the movie industry never faded away. He served his country for a short time, and not long after, he began his journey to greatness.
The actor worked on the Broadway stage for a short while before he finally got his big break. In 1946, Douglas made his debut in Hollywood in "The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers."
In 1949 he made an appearance in the movie "Champion," where he acted as Midge Kelly — a boxer who will stop at nothing to make it to the top. Douglas' outstanding performance in the movie earned him his first Oscar nomination.
Portrait of actor Kirk Douglas, circa 1990. | Photo: Getty Images
Fans of the Hollywood star got to witness his acting prowess in other movies like "Ace In The Hole," "The Bad And The Beautiful," "Lust For Life," "The Devil's Disciple," "Seven Days In May, "Gunfight," and many too numerous to mention.
In 1995, the star actor suffered a life-threatening stroke, which negatively affected his speech.
Even though most of the movies mentioned above earned Douglas an Academy Award Nomination, the project for which he was mostly remembered is "Spartacus," directed by Stanley Kubrick. The actor starred as a Roman slave who led an uprising.
Kirk Douglas attends Former President Jimmy Carter surprise 70th. birthday party at The Carter Presidential Center in October 1994. | Photo: Getty Images
THE FRIENDSHIP THAT MATTERED
Although Douglas' career was undoubtedly outstanding, he also led an interesting life away from the camera, and it was worth making into a movie.
His lovely union with his wife Anne, and his friendship with American producer Mike Todd and his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, often find their way into many media discussions.
Douglas and Anne were next-door neighbors to Todd and Taylor, which only strengthened their friendship. They often spent time with one another, and Anne once recalled one of her favorite experiences with her celebrity friends.
Kirk Dougles and his wife Anne Douglas. | Photo: Getty Images
She remembered visiting Todd and Taylor at London Dorchester Hotel with her spouse. Douglas was on a weekend break from shooting "The Vikings," and it seemed like the perfect time for the couples to bond.
According to Anne, who was pregnant at the time, Taylor was on the bed munching on some chocolates and then a sweet thing happened.
She saw Taylor calling on her husband to bring more chocolate; Todd walked up to his wife and said, "just shut up and be beautiful." After witnessing this cute occurrence, Anne thought Todd was a loving husband.
Anne Douglas and her husband Kirk Douglas at the coffee bar in Via Veneto, Rome 1958. | Photo: Getty Images
DOUGLAS ESCAPES DEATH
Putting aside Douglas' marriage to Anne and his friendship with Taylor and Todd, one of the most exciting aspects of his life was the several near-death experiences he survived and escaped, including an accident that claimed the life of his beloved friend, Todd.
Douglas and Anne gave a detailed explanation of what happened within the few hours leading up to Todd's unfortunate demise.
In their book titled, "Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood," which was sold on Amazon.com, the couple revealed that the incident took place in 1958.
Anne Douglas and her husband Michael Douglas. | Photo: Getty Images
On March 22, 1958, Todd was expected to fly to New York with a few friends, and he invited Douglas to come along with them. More interestingly, the former had revealed that they would be visiting former US President Harry Truman.
Truman was one of Douglas' idols, and visiting him sounded like an opportunity of a lifetime. The actor was filled with excitement and relayed the information to his wife who was six months pregnant.
Although it sounded like fun for Douglas, Anne never liked the idea. She had a very strange feeling about the journey, and the fear of losing her husband while she was pregnant was overwhelming.
Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne Douglas holding hands. | Photo: Getty Images
Anne insisted that her husband take a different flight, which led to an argument. Douglas was furious and decided not to go if he would not be flying with Todd.
In an interview with People, the Hollywood star recalled driving with his wife in the car but not speaking to her. While he was driving, Douglas turned on the radio, only to receive the most devastating news.
The private plane which Todd had boarded was involved in a crash, killing everyone on board. Upon hearing the news, Douglas pulled the car over to the side of the road, filled with confusion and gratitude for being alive.
Kirk Douglas and his spouse Anne Douglas gaze at each other in a portrait photo. | Photo: Getty Images
The producer could not be more grateful to his wife for saving his life and promised to trust her intuition. That was not the first time Anne was saving her star husband's life. In 1995, the star actor suffered a life-threatening stroke, which negatively affected his speech.
According to Douglas, Anne forced him into speech therapy when there appeared to be a slight chance that he would regain his voice.
With two months of dedication to the therapy, the entrepreneur overcame the challenge, though his voice never remained the same.
Kirk Douglas at home with his spouse Anne Douglas their son Peter Vincent Douglas in Los Angeles on February 14, 1957. | Photo: Getty Images
INSIDE THE COUPLE'S UNION/DEATH
Before the pair died, they were happily married for more than six decades. Douglas and Anne first met in Paris while the former was filming "Act Of Love." After starting their romance, they finally got married in 1954, and their marriage was an adventure of a lifetime.
Douglas always wondered what his life would have been like had he not marry Anne. He believed he would not have survived without her business acumen and her "finely honed instincts."
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