He survived an air crash that killed two men. He underwent back surgery to relieve pain caused by the crash. He suffered a stroke that destroyed his voice, an actor's nightmare.
Yet, at 81, Kirk Douglas is working again. The veteran actor is going to start shooting Sundowning with Dan Aykroyd in October.
Variety columnist Army Archerd says Douglas is "as sharp as ever and speaking perfectly." In 1991, Douglas was a passenger in a helicopter which collided with a small plane in California, killing the pilot and a young trainee instantly.
Also in the works is A Song for David, in which Douglas and his son, Michael, want to star. Work is still being done on the script, but shooting is tentatively scheduled to begin in October.
Kirk Douglas's last feature film was Greedy (1994). Douglas has made more than 80 films, including Tough Guys (1986), Once Is Not Enough (1975), Is Paris Burning? (1966), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), Spartacus (1960), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), Young Man With A Horn (1950), and A Letter To Three Wives (1949).
Douglas won the New York Film Critics Award for his portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in Lust For Life (1956). That performance also brought him an Academy Award nomination. He was up for Oscars two other times, for his work in Champion (1949) and The Bad and the Beautiful (1952).The academy gave him an honorary award in 1985, "in recognition of his 50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community."
In 1981, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
He also has written four books, including his autobiography, The Ragman's Son (1988).