Sure, you can’t discuss Kirk Douglas without mentioning the chin. That famously dimpled chin, which you’d never believe on a statue, nonetheless gave the Hollywood icon a granite jaw that served him well as a leading man for more than 60 years. But you also have to give Douglas who died Wednesday at the age of 103 credit for those piercing eyes, which gave the Spartacus star his relentless intensity. The chin made him a star, but the eyes made him an actor.
Given the eyes and the jaw, Douglas was equally adept at playing heroes and cads. He rose to fame playing the latter, in movies like Out of the Past, Champion Ace in the Hole (as a scruple-free reporter), and Hollywood exposé The Bad and the Beautiful. But he soon moved to nobler, if equally volatile characters, in such films as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Vikings, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral , Lust for Life (where, as Vincent Van Gogh, he hid his dimple under a beard), Paths of Glory, and of course, Spartacus. Continue reading