40 Best Kirk Douglas Quotes About Life, Acting, And Dealing With Adversity

Kirk Douglas died on Wednesday at the age of 103.

It’s a sad day when you lose such an important person in the film industry. We as individuals can’t help but look up to actors, directors, writers and singers in the entertainment industry. We see a bit of ourselves in the people we see on screen and we want to achieve some of their success, so it cuts deep when those people we look up to pass away.

Timeless actor and Hollywood legend, Kirk Douglas, died yesterday at the old age of 103. Icon of the Hollywood Golden Age, Douglas starred in movies such as Champion, Spartacus and The Bad and the Beautiful.

Kirk Douglas had an immensely successful career as an actor, director and author, but he also was a father to another famous actor, Michael Douglas — which meant not only did he have a successful life, but also a fulfilling one. One of four of Kirk Douglas’ kids, Michael Douglas wrote a heartfelt message on Instagram to commemorate his father’s passing, explaining that his father, “To the world, 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.”

Michael Douglas went on to say that to him and his brothers, though, Kirk Douglas was “simply Dad … to his grandchildren and great-grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband.”

Kirk Douglas was an amazing actor, possibly one of the best male stars ever. He was nominated for best actor three times by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 1996 Kirk Douglas received an honorary Oscar in 1996.

He may have retired in 2004, but Kirk Douglas acted in over 70 films before he did. He took the world by storm and won’t soon be forgotten, so we’ve gathered some of the best Kirk Douglas quotes about life, love and his passion for acting to help us remember the impact he made.

1. Kirk Douglas knew a thing or two about life.

“The learning process continues until the day you die.” — Kirk Douglas

2. He believed that a spouse says a lot about a person.

“If you want to know about a man, you can find out an awful lot by looking at who he married” — Kirk Douglas

3. A great life lesson.

“Love has more depth as you get older.” — Kirk Douglas

4. Kirk Douglas knew the hardships of becoming famous.

“When you become a star, you don’t change — everyone else does” — Kirk Douglas

5. On finding depth in the characters he played on television.

“When you play a weak character, find a moment when he’s strong, and when you play a strong character, find a moment when he’s weak.” — Kirk Douglas

6. When you come from nothing you appreciate the little things.

“I came from abject poverty. There was nowhere to go but up.” — Kirk Douglas

7. Kirk Douglas may have looked tough, but certainly didn’t feel it.

“I was not a tough guy [in real life], I just acted like one.” — Kirk Douglas

8. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

“People are composed of many things, and in my work, what influences me is the complexity of people — the chiaroscuro of dark and light. When I play a strong guy, I try to find, where is he weak? And conversely, when I play a weak guy, where is he strong?” — Kirk Douglas

9. Kirk Douglas was a proud father.

“I am so proud of Michael because he never followed my advice. I wanted him to be a doctor or lawyer, and the first time I saw him in a play I told him he was terrible, but then I saw him a second time and I said: ‘You were wonderful!’ And I think he is very good in everything he’s done.” — Kirk Douglas

10. He believed in always looking forward.

“People are always talking about the old days. They say that the old movies were better, that the old actors were so great. But I don’t think so. All I can say about the old days is that they have passed.” — Kirk Douglas

11. The key to acting is never growing up.

“All children are natural actors, and I’m still a kid. If you grow up completely, you can never be an actor.” — Kirk Douglas

12. He knew how lucky he was.

“Fame is as much about luck as it is about talent, perhaps more.” — Kirk Douglas

13. He believed people were stronger than they looked.

“You know, you have to have some inner philosophy to deal with adversity.” — Kirk Douglas

14. Ain’t that the truth.

“Fear is a terrible thing. It makes you do awful things.” — Kirk Douglas

15. He wasn’t all that into technology.

“I have one computer that my wife gave me. All I know how to do, and I do it every day, is play Spider Solitaire. And I don’t have a cell phone.” — Kirk Douglas

16. Kirk was meant to live a long, funny life.

“Listen — pacemaker, crash, stroke. What does it mean? God doesn’t want me now. That’s all.” — Kirk Douglas

17. He knew what he wanted.

“Too often, I have not been what I wanted to be; I’ve succumbed to pressures. Yes, I have. The things I’ve done that I’ve liked, I’ve always done against advice.” — Kirk Douglas

18. This could refer to a lot of things in life.

“Sometimes, the thing that ties you down sets you free.” — Kirk Douglas

19. Kirk Douglas wasn’t about to work for anyone but himself.

“I don’t need a critic to tell me I’m an actor. I make my own way. Nobody’s my boss. Nobody’s ever been, my boss.” — Kirk Douglas

20. Nobody’s perfect, and that’s what makes us all unique.

“If I thought a man had never committed a sin in his life, I don’t think I’d want to talk with him. A man with flaws is more interesting.” — Kirk Douglas

21. Always remember to be grateful.

“No matter how bad things are, they can always be worse. So what if my stroke left me with a speech impediment? Moses had one, and he did alright.” — Kirk Douglas

22. Why the surprise?

“Sometimes an interviewer will look at me and say, ‘You’re bright!’ They’re actually surprised I might be bright.” — Kirk Douglas

23. You get where you want to go with hard work and dedication.

“I didn’t start out to be a movie star. I started out to be an actor.” — Kirk Douglas

24. He was raised to give what he could.

“My mother, we were a very poor family. When I was a kid, we would be in our little room, and there would be a knock on the door almost every night with a hobo begging for food. Even though we didn’t even have enough to eat, my mother always found something to give them.” — Kirk Douglas

25. On his thoughts about religion.

“I think religion has caused so much catastrophe in the world.” — Kirk Douglas

26. He didn’t follow the traditional values of his family before him.

“I was not a very good Jew. I never practiced what Judaism tells you to do, to teach your kids all about Judaism.” — Kirk Douglas

27. We may never understand it.

“I have studied religion, and I have concluded that there is some power. We don’t understand it.” — Kirk Douglas

28. Kirk Douglas wanted to be seen as more than just the character everyone knew.

“I’m an actor; I have made my living by acting, and I almost think I owe it to the public to express my feelings and not as a character on a screen but as myself.” — Kirk Douglas

29. There’s more to a person than the eye can see.

“Virtue is not photogenic, so I liked playing bad guys. But, whenever I played a bag guy, I tried to find something good in him, and that kept my contact with the audience.” — Kirk Douglas

30. Through failure comes great success.

“In order to achieve anything you must be brave enough to fail.” — Kirk Douglas

31. On his craft.

“Acting is make-believe. I never believe I’m the character; I want you to believe.” — Kirk Douglas

32. Kirk Douglas was surprised to reach 100 years old.

“I never thought I’d live to 100. That’s shocked me. And it’s sad, too,” — Kirk Douglas

33. Maybe a movie we should all check out?

“It’s tough to make a movie about movies… We’re all too close to it. But ‘The Bad and the Beautiful’ was very good.” — Kirk Douglas

34. On missing his friends who died years ago.

“I miss Burt Lancaster – we fought a lot, and I miss him a lot. And John Wayne, even though he was a Republican and I was a Democrat.” — Kirk Douglas

35. Movies really do impact us.

“I didn’t think I was tough until I did ‘Champion’; then I was a tough guy.” — Kirk Douglas

36. On women.

“The first thing I look for in a woman is warmth-femininity. It’s got nothing to do with a pretty face.” — Kirk Douglas

37. Kirk Douglas took a look back on his long life.

“When you reach 95 after you get over your surprise, you start looking back.” — Kirk Douglas

38. You hit a certain age where you gain a lot of confidence.

“Being seventy has its advantages. I was outspoken before, but now what have I got to keep quiet about?” — Kirk Douglas

39. Makes for a hell of a storyline!

“Really a bad guy is more interesting, dramatically, than the good guy.” — Kirk Douglas

40. Kirk Douglas believed he was just like most of us. Boring and corny.

“Life is like a B-picture script! It is that corny. If I had my life story offered to me to film, I’d turn it down.” — Kirk Douglas

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