How Hollywood lost the plot and, with it, true stars like Kirk ...

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How Hollywood lost the plot and, with it, true stars like Kirk Douglas

Today’s actors are cossetted children of privilege, unlike the genuinely courageous street kids of yesteryear

Julie Burchill

Reading the obituaries of the actor Kirk Douglas last week, I was fascinated to discover that he came from such an extremely impoverished background.

Born Issur Danielovitch to Russian immigrant parents in New York, speaking Yiddish at home, his autobiography was called The Ragman’s Son: “Even in the poorest section of town, where all the families were struggling, the ragman was on the lowest rung on the ladder. And I was the ragman’s son.” He had more than 40 menial jobs before becoming an actor.

We’ve grown sadly used to “creatives” coming from privileged backgrounds. Entertainers go to private school, attend elite universities, fall in with a few like-minded types; let’s just say I doubt if they have “The Obstacle Is The Way” on their family crest .....

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