Kirk Douglas was one of the most legendary actors of the 20th century. The New York native came from a rough background, but even though others wanted to push him down, he never caved and pursued his career in his own way.

Douglas passed away in February 2020, at age 103, but his legacy will live forever. At the same time, as he became a well-respected actor, working alongside some of the greatest, he also created a lovely family, raising children and giving back to the ones that always had helped him.

When Kirk Douglas passed away, he had made himself a fortune. However, his children – including actor Michael Douglas – reportedly didn’t receive one single dollar. Why? Here is all you need to know about the legendary Kirk Douglas!

Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916, in Amsterdam, New York. Later, he would change his name to Kirk Douglas because he thought it would be good for his acting career.

The only son in a large family of seven children, his parents were Russian Jewish immigrants, and Douglas’s childhood was challenging. He described his family as the poorest family on “a street of poor families” and slept on a “shabby living-room sofa” in an unheated clapboard house.

Kirk Douglas’ father, Hershel, was prohibited from working at the local mills because he was Jewish, and instead, he became a junk dealer.

“Even on Eagle Street, in the poorest section of town, where all the families were struggling, the ragman was on the lowest rung on the ladder,” Mr. Douglas wrote in his best-selling autobiography. “And I was the ragman’s son.”

Sometimes, the family didn’t even have food, making Douglas steal food from his neighbors or even produce stands.

As he described in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, growing up in Amsterdam, New York meant “living in the East End, the opposite side of town from the rich people on Market Hill. It meant living at 46 Eagle Street, a run-down, two-story, gray clapboard house, the last house at the bottom of a sloping street, next to the factories, the railroad tracks, and the Mohawk River.”

Kirk Douglas’ was often teased because he was Jewish and even attacked by local gangs. Still, it didn’t break Douglas one bit, who instead worked hard to help his family and earn himself a better life.

He estimated he had around 40 different jobs – from newspaper boy to dishwasher.

“I also was a hard worker. I’d invent jobs, like selling soda and candy to workers at the mill at the end of our street. Amsterdam was one of the largest mill towns in the country. There were dozens of factories but no jobs for Jews.”

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