Kirk Douglas was an American actor, producer, director, and author, who, for Disney, is known for his role as Ned Land in Disney's 1954 adventure film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He also played Archie Long in the Touchstone Pictures film, Tough Guys (which he also produced), Eduardo Provolone in the Touchstone film, Oscar, Harry Agensky in the Miramax Films film, Diamonds, and Mitchell Gromberg in the Buena Vista International film, It Runs in the Family. He also produced Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Douglas was born in Amsterdam, New York, on December 9, 1916, the son of immigrants from Chavusy, Mogilev Region, in the Russian Empire (present-day Belarus). He wanted to be an actor after he recited the poem "The Red Robin of Spring" while in kindergarten. After appearing in plays at Amsterdam High School, from which he graduated in 1934. Unable to afford the tuition, Douglas talked his way into the dean's office at St. Lawrence University and showed him a list of his high school honors. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1939. He received a loan which he paid back by working part-time as a gardener and a janitor. He was a standout on the wrestling team and wrestled one summer in a carnival to make money.Douglas's acting talents were noticed at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, which gave him a special scholarship.
Over the seven decades Douglas became best known for his roles as Colonel Dax in Stanley Kubrick's 1957 anti-war film, Paths of Glory, as well as the title character in the 1960 epic historical drama film, Spartacus, which he produced and starred in along with Peter Ustinov. His other film credits include The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Town Without Pity, Champion, The Indian Fighter, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Act of Love, Young Man with a Horn, Ace in the Hole, Detective Story, The Bad and the Beautiful, Lust for Life, Lonely Are the Brave, The List of Adrian Messenger, The War Wagon, Seven Days in May, and Tough Guys.