Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas biography
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Interesting Biography Facts

Real name

Issur Danielovitch Demsky



Birth Date

December 9, 1916

Death date

February 5, 2020 (103 years)

Zodiac Sign



Amsterdam, New York, United States


Wilbur H. Lynch High School, Saint Lawrence University, American Academy Of Dramatic Arts



Kirk Douglas family members

Father's Name

Herschel Danielovitch

Mother's Name

Bryna Sanglel Danielovitch

Siblings names

Pesha, Kaleh, Tamara, Haska, Siffra, Rachel

Is Kirk Douglas a gay/bisexual?


What is Kirk Douglas marital status?


Who is Kirk Douglas wife?

Anne Buydens Douglas

When did get married?

May 29, 1954

How many children does he have?

4 sons (Michael Douglas, Joel Douglas, Peter Vincent Douglas, Eric Anthony Douglas)

Not long ago Kirk Douglas celebrated his 101 birthday. During the celebration he was surrounded by his closest people. Lots of his family members didn’t survive to this day. As you know, Kirk Douglas is a son of Jewish-Russian immigrants. That’s why Kirk himself, his parents and sisters changed the surname “Danielovitch” to “Demsky” and changed first names too. That’s why some sources give different names of Kirk’s sisters and parents. We made a short investigation and gave you the real names of Kirk’s family members and American variant of their names. You should know that name changing was not widespread among US immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century. Nevertheless, Danielovitchs decided to do it to avoid persecution of Jews, which still was possible in USA around that time in spite of ideas on the New World.


Kirk Douglas wife

Diana Douglas (Diana Love Dill) (m.1943-1951)

Diana Douglas (Diana Love Dill)

Diana Douglas (Diana Love Dill)

Date of birth: January 22, 1923

Date of death: July 3, 2015

Diana Douglas was that great woman, who gave the world an Oscar winning actor Michael Douglas. She met her husband and father of her talented son in the Academy of Dramatic Arts. As Kirk shared in his memoir book “The Ragman’s Son”, he knew Diana from his youth, but fell in love with her, when served in the Navy during the years of World War II. Kirk saw Diana’s photo on Life magazine cover and decided to write her a letter. Then Diana was just making her first steps as an actress. She was happy to hear the news from Kirk. They decided to have dinner together. Thus, gradually two young people started dating and fell in love. They wedded on February 23, 1943.

In fact, Kirk Douglas – Diane Dell marriage was a kind of misalliance. She came from a very rich family. Michael Douglas mother was born in 1923 in Devonshire, Bermuda. Diane’s father Thomas Melville Dill was attorney general in Bermuda. Her mother Ruth Rapalje Neilson was a daughter of a shipping mogul.

Diane was the youngest (seventh) kid in the family. She got a great for that time education. The girl studied at the Doreck School in London. She lived in a British capital till 1930.

Dill family moved to New York City in late 1930s, being scared of war. There Diane Dill entered American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she made friends with her future husband Kirk Douglas.

Diane Dill changed her surname for “Douglas” after marriage. She has become quite popular as an actress, and participated in movies and TV series till early 2000s. Most popular of her screen works are the series “ER” and “Cold Case” and the movie “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” with Steve Martin.

Diane Douglas, who worked from morning till night as an actress and model, found enough time to give a birth to two sons with Kirk – to famous Michael and Joel. She didn’t have kids with any other man, although was married two times after her divorce with Kirk Douglas. Diane second husband was a producer Bill Darrid, with whom she was together till his death in 1992.

In 2002 Diane went down the aisles for the third time with President Nixon staff member Donald Webster.

Diane didn’t tell about the reasons of her split to Kirk Douglas, who had become a star during the years of their marriage. But in her memoir book “In the Wings” she accused her ex-husband in drug addiction.

Diane Douglas died in one of LA hospitals from cancer, being 92 years old.

Anne Buydens Douglas (m. 1954)


Date of birth: April 23, 1919

In his memoir book Kirk told, that marriage to Anne Buydens was the best decision in his life. He met her, when he was around 35. Then Kirk was the big Hollywood star and divorced father of 2 boys. The actor was invited to Europe to participate in Mario Camerini and Carlo Ponti film “Ulysses”. Anne was busy in film making industry. She was a producer and a movie consultant, who new different foreign languages and culture of numerous European countries. She assisted to the film director while making “Ulysses”. Kirk Douglas fell in love with her and spent a lot of time, trying to seduce the beautiful young woman.

Anne Buydens real name was Hannelore Marx. She was born in the big city of Hanover in Nothern Germany. Soon the girl’s family moved to Belgium, where Anne finished her education. She travelled all over Europe – went to Switzerland and then to France. She was involved to film making business and met her husband and father of her kids at the film set.

They tied a knot on May 29, 1954 in the tight circle of close friends. Kirk and Anne were too busy to arrange a great ceremony and just had dinner in the restaurant.

Since the day of their wedding and till now Anne is a great supporter of her famous husband. She helped him to learn the texts of roles by heart and was his personal translator during the trips to Europe.

Anne is well known philanthropist. Being a breast cancer survivor, she spent lots of money to support people in similar situation.

Kirk Douglas kids

Michael Douglas (son with Diana Douglas)

Michael Douglas / instagram

Date of birth: September 25, 1944

The first son of Kirk Douglas and Diane Dill doesn’t need any introduction. At first Diane wanted to name a boy after his father, but Kirk insisted his newborn baby needed his own name. Thus, a famous movie star was named Michael Kirk Douglas.

When the boy turned 5, his parents divorced. That was a hard period in Michael’s life. Although his talented and busy father Kirk tried to stay in touch with his sons Michael and Joel, according to Kirk’s words, “they were not so close”.

At the same time, Michael and Kirk have a lot of common memories. For example, when Michael turned 16 and his father was 45 they arranged a swimming competition in a pool and Kirk did everything to defeat his teen son.

When Michael got interested in acting, his father did his best to dissuade his son. “I wanted him to get some serious profession – of a doctor or a lawyer. When he asked me to see his first play, I told that it was terrible”, Kirk opened up in one of his interviews. But in spite of father’s forbiddance Michael Douglas continued acting and has become a star. Now his movies are watched and re-watched all over the world. Michael gave his viewers a string of strong and complicated male characters – Richard Adams in “The China Syndrome”, Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street”, Detective Nick Curran in “Basic Instinct” and many others.

Michael Douglas way on top was not full of roses. In 1980 he fell down while skiing in the mountains and got serious traumas. After the accident Michael had health problems and didn’t appear in new movies during 3 years.

But he returned in middle 1980s and played his best roles. For some of them the actor got prestigious awards, including two Oscars.

Michael Douglas inherited his natural charm from the popular father. In 2000 he got married a popular British actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, with whom he shares the same birthday – September, 25. Catherine is 25 years younger than her husband.

Michael Douglas fathered 2 Catherine Zeta-Jones children – a son Dylan Michael and a daughter Carys Zeta. Michael has a son Cameron from his previous marriage to a diplomat daughter Diandra Luker. Nowadays Kirk Douglas eldest son is 73. He still appears in new movies. Among his latest screen works there’s a Chinese action “Animal World”.

“I am so proud of him”, his father never gets tired to tell.

Joel Douglas (son with Diana Douglas)

Joel Douglas

Date of birth: January 23, 1947

Joel is the second son of Kirk Douglas and Diane Dill. He was born on the next day after his mother’s birthday. Diane celebrated her 24th birthday, when felt that her baby is on the way. Several hours later she gave a birth to a cute boy in the hospital.

Joel was 4 years old, when his famous father left the family. Nevertheless Kirk tried to spend a lot of time with Joel and Michael.

Unlike his older brother, Joel didn’t choose acting as a profession. But he produced a number of films, including “The Jewel of the Nile”, where his famous brother played the leading role.

Joel was married 4 times. His latest wife Jo Ann Savitt was a daughter of a famous musician Jan Savitt. Jo Ann and Joel tied a knot in 1986 and spent 27 great years together. In 2013 Jo Ann died.

Peter Vincent Douglas (son with Anne Buydens)

Peter Vincent Douglas

Date of birth: November 23, 1955

The third son of Kirk Douglas and the first son of Anne Buydens, Peter Vincent took his second name from Vincent Van Gogh, with whom his father had a common project. Peter is a talented film producer and an actor. In addition, he is a faithful husband (he has been together with Lisa Schoeder since 1991 and they welcomed 4 children).

Eric Anthony Douglas (son with Anne Buydens)

Date of Birth: June 21, 1958

Date of Death: July 6, 2004

Kirk Douglas told that he felt proud of his sons as all of them have become great professionals and great family men. Probably, Eric is the only son of a talented actor Kirk Douglas, who followed the wrong way.

Eric was born in 1958 in one of LA hospitals. He grew up in the family of creative rich parents. Eric attended Pitzer College and then continued his education in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Kirk Douglas youngest son made career of an actor and standup comedian. But he couldn’t develop his natural talent to the highest peak, because he was drug addicted and spent lots of energy on his terrible passion.

Eric Douglas resided in New York City. In July, 2004 he died from drug overdose. In his rare interview Eric Douglas used to say, that he had always felt pressed, comparing himself to his father and talented older siblings.


Who are Kirk Douglas parents?

Herschel Danielovitch/ Harry Demsky (father)

Date of birth: 1878

Date of death: 1950

Harry Demsky was a big strong man of Jewish ancestry. He was born in Russia (according to other source, in Belarus) and in 1905 immigrated to USA. He left his girlfriend Bryna (Bertha) in Russia in order to settle in the other country and then relocate her there. Harry Demsky married Bertha in 1910, when she immigrated to USA, following her loved one. They had 6 daughters and a son.

In his hometown Harry initially earned his living as a tailor, but later turned into a cabman. He bought a house in the US city of Amsterdam, NY. He paid $2, 000 for the home, which was quite a solid amount for that time.

In Amsterdam Harry earned his living as a ragman. He bought old things from people in the neighborhood and later sold it to the owner of a local junk store. In fact, Harry was not a hard-working man. He worked during several hours in the morning, and then spent the daily payment in the local pub. Very often his wife and children were hungry.

Harry died in 1950, being 72 years old. His son Kirk has already become a popular actor to that time.

Bryna Sanglel Danielovitch/ Bertha Demsky (mother)

Date of birth: 1884

Date of death: December 12, 1958

Kirk Douglas mother Bertha earned her living as a baker. She made perfect challahs and sold them. Bertha worked hard, because her husband spent too much cash for alcohol. Bertha was close with her kids, especially with her son Kirk. She told her son, that Angels brought him from heaven, when she was making challahs, and gave him to her. From that moment Issur (Kirk) was sure, he came to his parents’ life as a gift.

Bertha dreamed that one day her son would become a rabbi, but Kirk was keen on acting. He could tell any poem so faithfully at school that his teachers and classmates cried or laughed – depending on the text of the poem. Nevertheless Bertha didn’t support her son in his passion to acting. Following his dreams, one day Kirk left his home.

During the last years of her life Bertha lived alone. Her daughters got married and moved to different cities, while her husband had already died. She was shocked, when her son Kirk founded a production company and named it after his mother – Bryna Productions. The company released great films, like “The Vikings”, and Bertha was really impressed, when she saw her name on the screen.

Bertha Demsky died on December 12, 1958 in a hospital. Her son Kirk spent the last hours with her. “My great son”, told Bertha, when he came. “I am just Issur for you”, he said.  Bertha was buried at Jacob Cemetery in Guilderland, NY.

Kirk Douglas siblings

Pesha Danielovitch/ Bessie Demsky (older sister)

Date of birth: 1911

Bessie Demsky was born in 1911. She is the first kid of Harry and Bertha Demsky. Although we couldn’t find any data on Bessie’s death, probably, she is not alive now, because today she would be about 107 years old.

Bessie resided with her parents in their house, situated on Eagle Street in Amsterdam, Montgomery County, NY. The girl worked as a clerk in a junk shop, where her father served as a ragman. Bessie spoke mostly English, unlike her parents, who used Jewish in their everyday life.

Kaleh Danielovitch/ Katherine Demsky (older sister)

Date of birth: 1913

Katherine is the second child in Demsky family. There’s no other data about her.

Tamara Danielovitch/ Mary Demsky (older sister)

Date of birth: 1915

Mary is the third daughter of Jewish immigrants Bertha and Harry.

Siffra Danielovitch/ Freda Demsky, Freida Becker after marriage (younger sister, Ida twin)

Date of birth: 1919

Date of death: 2015

Freda Demsky is one of twins. Ida Demsky is her twin sister. Freda is also known as Freida and Fritzi. The woman went into the limelight as the sister of Oscar winning actor Kirk Douglas and aunt of legendary Michael Douglas in HBO documentary film “A Father … A Son … Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, where Freda gave an interview.

The woman was married to Harold Becker. Her husband was a skilful businessman. He ran the company Becker Wrecking and Salvage Corp during several decades. Harold retired in 1980 and passed away twelve years later at the age of 77.

His wife Freda, Kirk Douglas sister, died in 2015, being 96 years old. She spent her last years in Kingsway. Previously Freda served at a female clothing store. She liked to see her brother, when both had free time to meet. Otherwise, she received his letters and read them with pleasure.

Freda and her husband Harold had two sons, Gary and David. She had three grandchildren, too.

Haska Danielovitch/ Ida Demsky, Ida Sahr after marriage (younger sister, Freida twin)

Date of birth: 1919

Ida was close with her late sister Freda. She visited her rancho in Kingsway very often. Ida herself lives in Schenectady, NY.

Rachel Danielovitch/ Ruth Demsky (younger sister)

Date of birth: 1923

Ruth Demsky is the youngest sister of Kirk Douglas. She was born, when her mother Bertha was around 40. She was married and had a daughter Terry Dunigan, who is 66 now.


He was born as Issur Danielovitc in Amsterdam, NY, USA. His family lived in poverty, so he worked a lot in his early years, as newspapers deliverer, snacks seller, etc. He joined his “business” activity with studying at a high school. The boy was academically successful, and that’s why he was accepted to St. Lawrence University for free. His acting talent became obvious in his teens when he was starring in school plays. He started his career as an entertainer after returning from the war in 1945. His first acting gigs were connected with radio shows and participating in commercials. Later he started acting in big-screen movies. During the years of his career he appeared in more than 80 films, the most successful of which are a sports drama “Champion”, a melodrama “The Bad and the Beautiful” and a legendary epic movie “Spartacus “.

Kirk spent a wonderful interesting life,  which ended on the 5th of February, 2020. He was 103 at the moment of his death. The talented Hollywood actor and the last performer, who witnessed a golden era in Hollywood, is survived by his sons, Joel, Peter and Michael, his wife Anne, daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones and numerous grandchildren. Kirk’s son, the movie star Michael Douglas, announced the sad news about his father’s death through Instagram.

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  • J.A. marra says:

    What Great of Family and the Way travels thru Time you only have to stay on track and Love each other the best you can !!! Family is the only Truth