[FOUNTAIN]No Way Out But to Climb High

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[FOUNTAIN]No Way Out But to Climb High

Kirk Douglas, 85, who is well known for the famous dimple in his chin, will appear in a new comedy movie with his son Michael and grandson Cameron. The movie will begin shooting next February. Movie fans will enjoy the fun of meeting all three generations of stars in one movie. Of all people, Kirk Douglas himself will probably feel most touched since he has emphasized so much the importance of family values throughout his life.

Mr. Douglas played in famous Western and wartime movies such as "Spartacus" and "Paths Of Glory," both directed by Stanley Kubrick, and "Gunfight At the OK Corral" directed by John Sturges. Many of his movie roles had him heroically confronting fate, and in fact he has lived a life filled with hardships that he overcame.

He was born in 1916 in Amsterdam, New York. His real name is Issur Danielovitch Demsky. His parents, working-class and illiterate, had immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1912. Poverty deprived him of a proper education. But he won a scholarship to acting school and began the fierce struggle to escape from poverty.

Mr. Douglas earned $350,000 for "Paths of Glory" in 1957, which was quite high for that time. His successful career earned him all the money he could have wished. In the 1980s he was paid $50,000 for saying a single word, "coffee," in a television commercial broadcast in Japan.

Mr. Douglas has received many awards for his contributions to the movie industry. In 1981, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has received many lifetime achievement awards: the Screen Actors Guild Award in 1999 and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2001.

West Granada High School, a school for bright but troubled students, was renamed Kirk Douglas High School in honor of the actor in May 2000. He had provided a $25,000 matching grant to the school in California's San Fernando Valley, and the board of trustees decided to rename the school to honor Mr. Douglas's dedication. He visited the school and cheered the students, saying he had gone through many hardships and made many mistakes, just as they had.

His autobiography, published in 1988, was titled "The Ragman's Son." In an interview a few years ago, Mr. Douglas said he was born into an extremely poor family and he had no way out of poverty unless he climbed high.

His advice is worth listening to for those youngsters who feel bitter against the world and blame society for their status.

The writer is a deputy international news editor of the Joongang ilbo.

by Chae In-taek

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