Kirk Douglas Set for Bar Mitzvah at 95

By JTA

Published June 15, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

At 95, Kirk Douglas has just released his tenth book and is prepping for his third bar mitzvah, which is scheduled for this coming December.

The iconic actor appeared at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on June 12 to launch the book and to reset his hand, foot and dimpled chin print in cement, at the same spot he performed the ritual exactly 50 years ago.

Launching at the same time “I Am Spartacus! Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist,” Douglas described his latest opus as “the most important book I have ever written.”

Douglas produced and starred in the title role of the 1960 movie “Spartacus.” By publicly crediting Dalton Trumbo, a former Communist, as the screenwriter, he effectively broke the studios’ blacklist against professionals with communist ties.

“I was making a film about freedom at a time when freedom in America was in jeopardy,” Douglas said. “There are parallels to today’s political climate and I thought it was timely to set down my recollections.”

The theater, celebrating its own 85th anniversary, marked the occasion by screening “Spartacus” at the original ticket price of 25 cents.

Douglas jokingly grumbled that the original entry fee was only a dime and that Grauman’s was overcharging. He told the crowd, “If you don’t have a quarter, I’ll help you out,” and then tossed fistfuls of the coin to a mass of outstretched hands.

Douglas, born the son of an illiterate Russian-Jewish rag picker and junkman, found his way back to Judaism after a helicopter crash in 1991, which killed two younger companions but spared him.

At 83, he celebrated his second bar mitzvah, 13 years after the traditional allotted lifespan of 70, telling well-wishers at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, “Today I am a man.”

Douglas will repeat the ceremony toward the end of this year, when he will be 96. “I am still looking forward,” he recently told ABC-TV.

“I Am Spartacus!” is being published in print, eBook and audiobook formats, the last narrated by Kirk’s son, actor Michael Douglas, with a foreword by George Clooney.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.