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Thursday, February 6, 2020

RIP, Spartacus - And The Golden Age of Hollywood

One of the last remnants of the Golden Age of Hollywood's royalty  passed away yesterday at the age of 103 - Issur Danielovitch - better known as Kirk Douglas. 

He was tough, he was difficult, he was a demanding perfectionist, and he was a tireless workaholic -  but everything he did, he did to push the film industry, the world, to become a better place - and Hollywood loved him for it.

The son of impoverished Jewish immigrants, he came from nothing and built an empire as a Hollywood legend.  

He was born to play Spartacus.  He was Spartacus. 

Rest in peace, Mr. Douglas - thank you :)




PS - I believe only my girl, Olivia de Havilland, is left from the Golden Age of Hollywood, who is also 103 (though she looks 25 years younger).  

For those of you unfamiliar with Ms. Olivia, she's very versatile and has played many roles, but probably her most recognizable role was playing the polar opposite role to Scarlet O'Hara and her Scarlet's initial nemesis (by simply marrying Ashley), who later becomes Scarlet's best friend, and who provides the moral center in Gone With the Wind - the patient, long-suffering, selfless, and compassionate "Miss Melanie" Hamilton  :)




In real life, we have Ms. Olivia to thank for "De Havilland Law," which essentially no longer bound actors to a single production company past 7 calendar years (now 2 years) freeing them to do other projects, which put a stop to companies using time off (maternity leave, etc.) to extend their contracts, among other labor laws. 

 (De Havilland Law has been invoked many times since, with several wins and many losses, as it only protects actors in the State of California.  Musicians, dancers, and other performers are not covered by this law.)

Her 1943 win against Hollywood power-houses, with SAG behind her -  as a woman especially - was unprecedented, and sparked many new labor laws for performers such as unsafe conditions and child-actor protection/child-labor laws. 

She was initially blackballed from Hollywood after her legal win, but she is one of only a handful of Hollywood actors and actresses who survived being blackballed and win their way back into the hearts and minds of Hollywood, finally retiring from acting in 1989. 

(This was pre-Harvey Weinstein, of course ;)

And of course she's an Episcopalian and liberal to boot ;)

Long lLve The Queen  :)


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