A Real Wartime Hero…

| August 20, 2019

I debated holding off on this until later in the fall, but the subject of this is 102 years old, had a stroke a while back that impeded him a little bit but didn’t stop him, and is as ornery as he was when he was much younger. He has never let the Old Man in.

He is a stark contrast to that Other Person who claims to be something he is not.

His next birthday is in November, when he’ll be 103 years old. He busted a hump to get through college, slept in a jail cell one night because he had no place else to go, and when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he interrupted his career to join the Navy as an officer on a subchaser PC1139.  He was injured on deployment and had to leave the Navy, but he made several movies involving the Navy when the war was over and he had returned to acting.

Kirk Douglas, born in 1916 as Issur Danielovitcfh, is currently age 102, served in the US Navy during World War II as a Gunnery and Communications officer on a submarine chaser PC-1139.

https://navy.togetherweserved.com/usn/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApps?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=Person&ID=468480

There is the Veteran of the Day bio on him:  https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/57864/veteranoftheday-navy-veteran-kirk-douglas/

Ship’s info and photo are here:

http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/011139.htm

While he did butt heads a lot, and not all of his movies were great successes, he never tried to claim that he did things he didn’t do.

Category: Historical

Comments (25)

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  1. 5th/77th FA says:

    An icon of Hollywood before it became Holly weird. Don’t make ’em like they used to. Much respect for this Sailor…and Actor. Appears to have raised his kids right too.

  2. MI Ranger says:

    Kirk Douglas always seemed to understand…his kids are a little Hollyweird!
    Great man.

  3. Just Lurkin says:

    “Seven days in May” is his best work and a truly great film.

    • Comm Center Rat says:

      Great choice Just Lurkin. Another favorite of mine is Paths of Glory (1957) directed by Stanley Kubrick. Set during World War I, Kirk Douglas stars as Colonel Dax, the CO of French soldiers who refuse to continue a suicidal attack. Later Dax attempts to defend them against a charge of cowardice in a court martial.

  4. Skyjumper says:

    The original Spartacus!
    (Unlike that poser Cory Booker)

    https://youtu.be/bBcaCmFM2IY?t=54

  5. Comm Center Rat says:

    Thanks for posting this story Ex-PH2. I wasn’t aware of Kirk’s real life Naval service. I’ve been to Kirk’s hometown of Amsterdam, NY several times. Like many small cities in Upstate NY it was a manufacturing center in the 19th and 20th centuries. Amsterdam was probably best known for carpet and textile manufacturing and home to Bigelow-Sanford and Mohawk Mills Carpet. Coleco also made Cabbage Patch Kids in Amsterdam, but went bankrupt in 1988. “The Ragman’s Son” Kirk Douglas is still a source of pride in his hometown.

  6. OldSoldier54 says:

    I did not know he served. Good for him.

    And still married to the same woman!!??

    OUTSTANDING!

  7. Wilted Willy says:

    He truly was a great man! Too bad he got so messed up from his stroke. But he is still kicking ass! May God Bless Him!!!!

  8. The Other Whitey says:

    The first Kirk Douglas movie I ever saw was the old Disney “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” with Douglas as Ned Land and James Mason as Nemo. While Prof. Arronax is dazzled by Nemo’s bullshit and Conseil is just along for the ride, Douglas as Ned is (intentionally) the only one who doesn’t have his head up his ass. He’s the working-class hero who is fallible but never compromises his principles. It’s still probably my favorite Kirk Douglas movie. You also gotta love “In Harm’s Way.”

    Everything I’ve ever heard or read from people who’ve had personal dealings with Douglas say that he’s an all-around solid dude who earns respect.

    • David says:

      The same “In Harm’s Way” in which Douglas plays a rapist? Odd favorite.

      • The Other Whitey says:

        I probably should have specified the movie, not the character. Obviously Douglas’s character was a despicable bastard in that movie, but it was a good movie nonetheless. “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” was a good movie with Douglas as a good guy. “In Harm’s Way” was a good movie with Douglas as a bad guy.

        Another great movie with Douglas, completely different from both, is “The Man From Snowy River,” where he plays two roles, specifically two brothers—one a fairly good guy and the other a jealous asshole—who hate eachother.

        • Fyrfighter says:

          Good call on both TOW.. though I think my favorite is “War Wagon” with John Wayne…

          • David says:

            “There Was A Crooked Man” could go on the list too.

          • The Other Whitey says:

            I don’t think The Duke ever made a movie that wasn’t awesome. A few of my favorites:

            They Were Expendable
            Island In The Sky
            Fort Apache
            Rio Lobo
            El Dorado

            • Fyrfighter says:

              Brubaker and the shootist are probably my least favorite movies of his, and they’re still good…

  9. borderbill says:

    Check him out in “Lonely Are the Brave”- he’s been quoted as saying it was his favorite movie role. Thanks for serving Mr. Douglas,(Lt JG USN)!

  10. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Ex-PH2, this sort of post is always timely.

    You can always post an update later.