Kirk Douglas quotes

Born
December 9, 1916, Amsterdam, New York, U.S.

Died
February 5, 2020.

Occupation
Actor, producer, director.

Kirk Douglas was an American actor, producer, director, and author. He is one of the last survivors of the industry’s Golden Age. He had his film debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) with Barbara Stanwyck.

The learning process continues until the day you die.
– Kirk Douglas

Fear is a terrible thing. It makes you do awful things.
– Kirk Douglas

Sometimes, the thing that ties you down sets you free.
– Kirk Douglas

I think religion has caused so much catastrophe in the world.
– Kirk Douglas

Acting is a youthful profession.
– Kirk Douglas

If I have to speak in public, I am terrified.
– Kirk Douglas

Love has more depth as you get older.
– Kirk Douglas

If you want to know about a man you can find out an awful lot by looking at who he married.
– Kirk Douglas

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

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

In order to achieve anything you must be brave enough to fail.
– Kirk Douglas

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 all right.
– Kirk Douglas

Now, what does an actor who can’t talk do? Wait for silent pictures to come back?
– Kirk Douglas

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

Virtue is not photogenic. What is it to be a nice guy? To be nothing, that’s what. A big fat zero with a smile for everybody.
– Kirk Douglas

Fifteen years ago, I suffered a stroke, which caused me to lose my speech. Now, what does an actor who can’t talk do? Wait for silent pictures to come back? I work with a speech therapist twice a week.
– Kirk Douglas

I came from abject poverty. There was nowhere to go but up.
– Kirk Douglas

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

Being second generation in Hollywood is complicated: Success is expected, and yet the track record of the second generation is not great. Only a small group of us, like Jane Fonda, have succeeded.
– Kirk Douglas

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

You know, you have to have some inner philosophy to deal with adversity.
– Kirk Douglas

You know, sometimes an interviewer will look at me and say – you’re bright! They’re actually surprised I might be bright.
– Kirk Douglas

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

I guess I was a bad boy… Yes, yes, I’ve had lots of women in my life.
– Kirk Douglas

All my life, I have taken inventory at intervals. For example, when I became a movie actor and suddenly I had to deal with fame, money and playing so many roles, I lost myself. I said, ‘Who am I?’ And I wrote my first book to deal with that, ‘The Ragman’s Son.’
– Kirk Douglas

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

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

I have been an actor for most of my life. When I started out, I didn’t think about anything except what was good for me. Like many movie stars, I became all wrapped up in myself.
– Kirk Douglas

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

I didn’t think I was so tough until I did ‘Champion’; then I was a tough guy.
– Kirk Douglas

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

When you become a star, you don’t change – everyone else does.
– Kirk Douglas

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

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

I never had any desire to be a film actor. I never thought I was the good-looking movie type, which I assumed they wanted.
– Kirk Douglas

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

Why can’t a woman be more like a dog, huh? So sweet, loving, attentive.
– Kirk Douglas

What would my parents think about America if they arrived here today? Would they even want to come? I wonder.
– Kirk Douglas

I know Italians and I like them. A lot of my father’s best friends were Italians.
– Kirk Douglas

I was conscious of my father’s fame from the time I was 6.
– Kirk Douglas

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

I was not a very good Jew. I never practised what Judaism tells you to do, to teach your kids all about Judaism.
– Kirk Douglas

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 liked, I’ve always done against advice.
– Kirk Douglas

When you have a stroke, you must talk slowly to be understood, and I’ve discovered that when I talk slowly, people listen. They think I’m going to say something important!
– Kirk Douglas

My four sons all knew I was a Jew, but they were allowed to be whatever they wanted to be. The only thing important to me was that they be good people who help other people, because all religion should try to make you a better person and a more caring person. Whenever religion does that for you, it’s a good religion.
– Kirk Douglas

When I first came to Hollywood, the blacklist was just starting, and they were having hearings in Washington. What most people don’t know is the judge of these hearings himself was later convicted of misappropriation. ‘Spartacus’ helped break the blacklist, because Spartacus was a real character.
– Kirk Douglas

Cancer does give you a new rejuvenation. I know what it’s like to be down. I lost a couple of good friends – Larry Hagman and Nick Ashford – who had the same type of cancer that I did, and that makes you think.
– Kirk Douglas

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

God bless Dad, he came to every one of my shows. I was bad, and I had horrible stage fright. My dad was so relieved – he’d say, ‘You were terrible; this kid is not going to be an actor.’ Finally, I did a play and he said, ‘Son – you were really good.’
– Kirk Douglas

Fame is as much about luck as it is about talent, perhaps more.
– Kirk Douglas