In the beginning of his legendary career, Kirk Douglas b. Issur Danielovitch, was almost typecast as a well-meaning but ineffectual husband as in, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, 1946, and A Letter to Three Wives, 1949. His performances in these two films are more than competent. But his career really took off when he played bitter, cynical men motivated by rage: Champion, 1949, Ace in the Hole, 1951, The Bad and the Beautiful, 1952, Paths of Glory, 1957, Spartacus, 1960, and his favorite film Lonely Are the Brave, 1962.
Douglas was never a conventional leading man. Though handsome as a fairy tale prince, he wielded his masculine beauty like a weapon. There was none of the gruff charm that made Gable the King of Hollywood; nor was Douglas an elegant, urbane gentleman like William Powell or Cary Grant.
He excelled at playing, in his own words, “sons of bitches.”