40 Best Kirk Douglas Quotes About Acting & Dealing With Adversity

Kirk Douglas died on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at the age of 103.

Kirk Douglas Quotes About Acting Dealing With Adversity Getty

It's a sad day when you lose such an important person in the film industry. We as inpiduals can't help but look up to actors, directors, writers and singers in the entertainment industry. We see a bit of ourselves in the people we see on screen and we want to achieve some of their success, so it cuts deep when those people we look up to pass away.

Timeless actor and Hollywood legend, Kirk Douglas, born on December 9, 1916, died on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at the age of 103.

An icon of Hollywood's Golden Age, Douglas starred in movies such as Champion, Spartacus and The Bad and the Beautiful.


RELATED: Kirk Douglas Leaves Behind Anne Buydens Douglas, His Wife Of 64 Years — What We Know About Her

Kirk Douglas had an immensely successful career as an actor, director and author, but he also was a father to another famous actor, Michael Douglas — which meant not only did he have a successful life, but also a fulfilling one. One of four of Kirk Douglas' kids, Michael Douglas wrote a heartfelt message on Instagram to commemorate his father's passing, explaining that his father, "To the world, was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to."


Michael Douglas went on to say that to him and his brothers, though, Kirk Douglas was "simply Dad ... to his grandchildren and great-grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband.”










View this post on Instagram
















A post shared by Michael Douglas (@michaelkirkdouglas) on Feb 5, 2020 at 3:33pm PST

Kirk Douglas was an amazing actor, possibly one of the best male stars ever. He was nominated for best actor three times by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 1996 Kirk Douglas received an honorary Oscar in 1996.


He may have retired in 2004, but Kirk Douglas acted in over 70 films before he did.

He took the world by storm and won't soon be forgotten, so we gathered 40 of the best Kirk Douglas quotes about life, love and his passion for acting to help us remember the impact he made.

1. Kirk Douglas knew a thing or two about life.

Kirk Douglas Quotes About Acting Dealing With Adversity

"The learning process continues until the day you die."


RELATED: How Did Etika Die? New Details On The Tragic Death Of The Beloved YouTube Star At 29 By Suicide

2. He believed that a spouse says a lot about a person.

"If you want to know about a man, you can find out an awful lot by looking at who he married"

3. A great life lesson.

"Love has more depth as you get older."

4. Kirk Douglas knew the hardships of becoming famous.

"When you become a star, you don't change — everyone else does"

5. On finding depth in the characters he played on television.

"When you play a weak character, find a moment when he’s strong, and when you play a strong character, find a moment when he’s weak."

6. When you come from nothing you appreciate the little things.

"I came from abject poverty. There was nowhere to go but up."


7. Kirk Douglas may have looked tough, but certainly didn't feel it.

"I was not a tough guy [in real life], I just acted like one."

8. Don't judge a book by its cover.

"People are composed of many things, and in my work, what influences me is the complexity of people — the chiaroscuro of dark and light. When I play a strong guy, I try to find, where is he weak? And conversely, when I play a weak guy, where is he strong?"

9. Kirk Douglas was a proud father.

"I am so proud of Michael because he never followed my advice. I wanted him to be a doctor or lawyer, and the first time I saw him in a play I told him he was terrible, but then I saw him a second time and I said: ‘You were wonderful!’ And I think he is very good in everything he’s done."

10. He believed in always looking forward.

Kirk Douglas Quotes About Acting Dealing With Adversity


"People are always talking about the old days. They say that the old movies were better, that the old actors were so great. But I don't think so. All I can say about the old days is that they have passed."

RELATED: RIP John Witherspoon — Comedian, Actor And Legend Dies At 77

11. The key to acting is never growing up.

"All children are natural actors, and I'm still a kid. If you grow up completely, you can never be an actor."

12. He knew how lucky he was.

"Fame is as much about luck as it is about talent, perhaps more."

13. He believed people were stronger than they looked.

"You know, you have to have some inner philosophy to deal with adversity."


14. Ain't that the truth.

"Fear is a terrible thing. It makes you do awful things."

15. He wasn't all that into technology.

"I have one computer that my wife gave me. All I know how to do, and I do it every day, is play Spider Solitaire. And I don't have a cell phone."

16. Kirk was meant to live a long, funny life.

"Listen — pacemaker, crash, stroke. What does it mean? God doesn't want me now. That's all."

17. He knew what he wanted.

"Too often, I have not been what I wanted to be; I've succumbed to pressures. Yes, I have. The things I've done that I've liked, I've always done against advice."

18. This could refer to a lot of things in life.

"Sometimes, the thing that ties you down sets you free."


19. Kirk Douglas wasn't about to work for anyone but himself.

"I don't need a critic to tell me I'm an actor. I make my own way. Nobody's my boss. Nobody's ever been, my boss."

20. Nobody's perfect, and that's what makes us all unique.

Kirk Douglas Quotes About Acting Dealing With Adversity

"If I thought a man had never committed a sin in his life, I don't think I'd want to talk with him. A man with flaws is more interesting."


RELATED: Meet Carys Douglas — She's Starring In A Fendi Ad Campaign With Her Mother Catherine Zeta-Jones

21. Always remember to be grateful.

"No matter how bad things are, they can always be worse. So what if my stroke left me with a speech impediment? Moses had one, and he did alright."

22. Why the surprise?

"Sometimes an interviewer will look at me and say, 'You're bright!' They're actually surprised I might be bright."

23. You get where you want to go with hard work and dedication.

"I didn't start out to be a movie star. I started out to be an actor."

24. He was raised to give what he could.

"My mother, we were a very poor family. When I was a kid, we would be in our little room, and there would be a knock on the door almost every night with a hobo begging for food. Even though we didn't even have enough to eat, my mother always found something to give them."


25. On his thoughts about religion.

"I think religion has caused so much catastrophe in the world."

26. He didn't follow the traditional values of his family before him.

"I was not a very good Jew. I never practiced what Judaism tells you to do, to teach your kids all about Judaism."

27. We may never understand it.

"I have studied religion, and I have concluded that there is some power. We don't understand it."


28. Kirk Douglas wanted to be seen as more than just the character everyone knew.

"I'm an actor; I have made my living by acting, and I almost think I owe it to the public to express my feelings and not as a character on a screen but as myself."

29. There's more to a person than the eye can see.

"Virtue is not photogenic, so I liked playing bad guys. But, whenever I played a bag guy, I tried to find something good in him, and that kept my contact with the audience."

30. Through failure comes great success.

Kirk Douglas Quotes About Acting Dealing With Adversity


"In order to achieve anything you must be brave enough to fail."

RELATED: RIP Rocky Johnson — Wrestler And Father Of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Dead At 75

31. On his craft.

"Acting is make-believe. I never believe I'm the character; I want you to believe."

32. Kirk Douglas was surprised to reach 100 years old.

"I never thought I’d live to 100. That’s shocked me. And it’s sad, too,"

33. Maybe a movie we should all check out?

"It's tough to make a movie about movies... We're all too close to it. But 'The Bad and the Beautiful' was very good."

34. On missing his friends who died years ago.

"I miss Burt Lancaster – we fought a lot, and I miss him a lot. And John Wayne, even though he was a Republican and I was a Democrat."


35. Movies really do impact us.

"I didn't think I was tough until I did 'Champion'; then I was a tough guy."

36. On women.

"The first thing I look for in a woman is warmth-femininity. It's got nothing to do with a pretty face."

37. Kirk Douglas took a look back on his long life.

"When you reach 95 after you get over your surprise, you start looking back."

38. You hit a certain age where you gain a lot of confidence.

"Being seventy has its advantages. I was outspoken before, but now what have I got to keep quiet about?"

39. Makes for a hell of a storyline!

"Really a bad guy is more interesting, dramatically, than the good guy."

40. Kirk Douglas believed he was just like most of us. Boring and corny.

Kirk Douglas Quotes About Acting Dealing With Adversity


"Life is like a B-picture script! It is that corny. If I had my life story offered to me to film, I'd turn it down."

RELATED: 50 Inspirational Kobe Bryant Quotes On Hard Work & Letting Go Of The Fears That Hold You Back From Success

Essence Lopez is a writer who covers music, self-care, religion and pop culture topics.