In an interview unearthed following the death of Kirk Douglas at 103, the actor had admitted he’d wished he’d kept his birth name after thinking it was ‘too Jewish’ for Hollywood.
It comes after Kirk’s son and actor Michael Douglas announced the sad news of the Spartacus actor’s death on Wednesday (6 February) after TMZ reported his health was ‘in decline’.
The star was born Issur Danielovitch in upstate New York, into a Jewish family from Russia who spoke Yiddish at home, and recalled his father Harvey being barred from working in the factories due to his faith.
Just five years ago he detailed to People that his name was ‘too unwieldy and too Semitic’ for Golden Age Hollywood at the time, so he adopted the moniker Kirk Douglas before heading into a glitzy life of filmmaking.
However, he lived to regret the decision.
‘I wish I had kept it,’ he said. ‘It’s more interesting to keep your original name.’
He added: ‘But can you imagine that name on a marquee?’
The star’s birth name was honoured by his grandson Cameron Douglas, however, who went on to name his three-year-old daughter Lua Izzy after Kirk.
Hollywood star Michael, 75, shared an emotional statement announcing his father’s death on Wednesday.
‘It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103. To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to,’ he wrote on Wednesday night.
The actor continued: ‘But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine, a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband.’
He wrote: ‘Kirk’s life was well lived, and he leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist who worked to aid the public and bring peace to the planet.
‘Let me end with the words I told him on his last birthday and which will always remain true. Dad- I love you so much and I am so proud to be your son.’
His wife Catherine Zeta-Jones followed up with her own tribute to her father-in-law.
Catherine shared a sweet photo of her kissing Kirk on the cheek at at party, with the caption: ‘To my darling Kirk, I shall love you for the rest of my life. I miss you already. Sleep tight.’
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