Kirk Douglas, well known for his roles in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “Spartacus” turned 95 today. He is also the author of several books, fiction and non-fiction, that feature religious themes.
Douglas started his acting career in “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers,” and quickly followed those up with other feature films. Acting runs in the family, as Douglas is the father of fellow actor Michael Douglas and producer Joel; he has two sons not in the business, Eric and Peter.
Kirk Douglas has been married to Anne Buydens since 1954. The two held a recommitment ceremony in 2004 to honor their 50th anniversary.
In 2001, Douglas published Climbing the Mountain: My Story. The book describes his spiritual journey and exploration of his Jewish roots. For the longest time, Douglas admits that he did not think much about his Jewish heritage.
It wasn’t until his son Michael asked, “Dad, where did our ancestors come from?” that Douglas gave serious thought to the answer. He describes reading the Bible and becoming excited as he learned the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Rachel and Leah, Cain and Abel.
One such story, the story of Abraham and Isaac can be found in Genesis 22. It tells of God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Abraham is faithful to the command and is later stopped by an angel. This story, Douglas writes, used to scare him.
Douglas traveled to Israel and retraced the steps of his ancestors. He writes of a particularly meaningful moment: “The lesson of Mount Moriah [where Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac] was precisely that God does not want human sacrifice-that God is not Someone to be afraid of.”
It was after this journey, Douglas notes “that I closed my eyes and I could see the face of my mother through the candlelight, saying the Shabbat prayers. That night I felt that I had come home.”
Douglas suffered from a stroke and was forced to re-learn his life, including how to speak. This taught him a lot, and made him realize how important life truly is, he has testified.
“Now I am not as cocky as I used to be. I no longer take speech for granted. When I had no trouble with it, it seemed so natural.”
“Miracles,” he writes, “come only from God. And they are all around us.”