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Actor Kirk Douglas Turns 100


Kirk Douglas turned 100 years old yesterday. He was born with a name that would have been a little harder to fit on a marquee - Issur Danielovitch. He changed his name, but he kept that cleft in his chin. Kirk Douglas became one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the big screen era, especially in the 1950s and '60s. He played a boxer, a hard-bitten detective, a cynical reporter, Doc Holliday, Vincent Van Gogh, a French colonel, an American colonel who halts a coup and the leader of a slave revolt in ancient Rome. Kirk Douglas also became a producer who helped break the Hollywood blacklist. Most people have some favorite Kirk Douglas moments. Here are ours, starting with "Spartacus."


KIRK DOUGLAS: (As Spartacus) What are we becoming - Romans? Have we learned nothing? What's happening to us? We look for wine when we should be hunting bread.

NICK DENNIS: (As Dionysius) When you've got wine, you don't need bread.


DOUGLAS: (As Spartacus) You can't just be a gang of drunken raiders.

DENNIS: (As Dionysius) What else can we be?

DOUGLAS: (As Spartacus) Gladiators - an army of gladiators.

SIMON: "Ace In The Hole."


DOUGLAS: (As Charles Tatum) Leo Minosa is dead. He died a quarter of an hour with a drill just 10 feet away. There's nothing we can do anymore. Now go on home, all of you. The circus is over.

SIMON: "The Bad And The Beautiful."


DOUGLAS: (As Jonathan Shields) Get that look off your face. Who gave you the right to dig into me and turn me inside out and decide what I'm like? How do you know how I feel about you - how deep it goes? Maybe I don't want anybody to own me - you or anybody. Get out. Get out. Get out.

SIMON: "Champion."


DOUGLAS: (As Midge) You're going to be a good little girl 'cause if you aren't, I'll put you in the hospital for a long, long time. I've got to change now, but don't be here when I come out.

SIMON: "Lust For Life."


DOUGLAS: (As Vincent Van Gogh) Look at the fresh graves of the children in the cemetery, scrub floors and pick coal with the women, get those fine clothes dirty with the blood and sweat of dying miners, then come here and lecture me about Christianity, hypocrite - hypocrite.

SIMON: "Detective Story."


DOUGLAS: (As Detective James McLeod) I'd just as soon Schneider died. I'd rather go to jail for 20 years than find out my wife was a tramp.

SIMON: "Lonely Are The Brave."


DOUGLAS: (As Jack Burns) It's 'cause I'm a loner clear down deep to my very guts. Know what a loner is? He's a born cripple. He's a cripple because the only person he can live with is himself. It's his life, the way he wants to live. It's all for him. A guy like that - he'd kill a woman like you 'cause he couldn't love you, not the way you are loved.

SIMON: Kirk Douglas turned 100 years old yesterday and looks like he could still lead an uprising of gladiators.

(SOUNDBITE OF "SPARTACUS" FILM SCORE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.

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