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Focus on History

Kirk Douglas at the century mark

Kirk and Ann Douglas arrive to the Vanity Fair after party for the 85th Academy Awards at the Sunset Tower Hotel in Los Angeles, Feb. 24, 2013.
Photographer: Axel Koester/The New York Times
Kirk and Ann Douglas arrive to the Vanity Fair after party for the 85th Academy Awards at the Sunset Tower Hotel in Los Angeles, Feb. 24, 2013.
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If Wilfred “Wolfie” Churchett had not run as quickly as he did, famous actor and producer Kirk Douglas would not be about to celebrate his 100th birthday. Born Dec. 9, 1916 as Issur Danielovitch and known in Amsterdam as Isadore “Izzy” Demsky, Douglas recalled the rescue in an interview promoting his return to his home town in 1985 for a parade and dedication of a park in his honor. Douglas said the mishap occurred when ...

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