Actor Kirk Douglas was born under the name Issur Danielovitch, sometimes listed as Issur Danielovitch Demsky, to Russian parents in 1916. He speaks German and French fluently. His 1988 autobiography is called "The Ragman's Son." As of 2015, Douglas has written 12 books.
Kirk Douglas is the father of four sons: Michael Douglas, Eric Douglas, Joel Douglas and Peter Douglas. All of his sons are involved in show business in one way or another.
Some of his accolades include being named by Entertainment Weekly as the 36th Greatest Movie Star of All Time. The American Film Institute named Douglas the 17th best actor on its list of The 50th Greatest Screen Legends. In January of 1981, President Jimmy Carter awarded Douglas the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award. In 1984, Douglas was inducted into the Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. He renewed his wedding vows on his 50th anniversary to his second wife Anne in 2004.
Douglas received a pacemaker after suffering a heart attack in 1986. In 1991, Douglas was involved in a helicopter crash in which two people died. He had a stroke in 1995 and had both knees replaced in 2005.