FILE PHOTO: Honoree Kirk Douglas (L) attends the 18th annual BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards in Los Angeles, California November 5, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten/File Photo
(Reuters) – Seven facts about actor Kirk Douglas, who is dead at 103:
* Born Issur Danielovitch of Russian-Jewish ancestry in New York, Douglas had two bar mitzvahs – one at the traditional age of 13 and another at 83 when he reaffirmed his faith.
* Because he was only about 5-foot-9-inches tall (1.75 meters), Douglas often wore lifts in his shoes on screen.
* He was to have starred with Sylvester Stallone in “First Blood,” the initial movie in the Rambo series, but left after Stallone rejected his suggested script changes.
* A 1996 stroke left Douglas with slurred speech and damaged facial nerves. It did not, however, keep him from attending the Academy Awards ceremony two weeks later to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.
* Douglas starred in a 1963 stage version of Ken Kesey’s novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and tried to make a movie of the book. He could not find an interested studio but his son Michael finally got the film made in 1975.
* Douglas was 75 when he survived a helicopter crash that killed two other people.
* President Jimmy Carter gave Douglas the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, in 1981.
Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Diane Craft