Let's Face It: 90 Years of Living, Loving, and Learning

Let's Face It: 90 Years of Living, Loving, and Learning

by Kirk Douglas
     
 

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He has been one of the brightest stars in Hollywood, a hard-charging actor whose intensity on the screen has been mirrored in his personal life. As Kirk Douglas has grown older -- he turned ninety in December 2006 -- he has become less impetuous and more reflective. In this poignant and inspiring new memoir, Douglas contemplates what life is all about, weighing

Overview

He has been one of the brightest stars in Hollywood, a hard-charging actor whose intensity on the screen has been mirrored in his personal life. As Kirk Douglas has grown older -- he turned ninety in December 2006 -- he has become less impetuous and more reflective. In this poignant and inspiring new memoir, Douglas contemplates what life is all about, weighing current events from his present frame of mind while summoning the passions of his younger days.

Kirk Douglas is a born storyteller, and throughout Let's Face It he tells wonderful tales and shares favorite jokes and hard-won insights. In the book, he explores the mixed blessings of growing older and looks back at his childhood, his young adulthood, and his storied, glamorous, and colorful life and career in Hollywood. He tells delightful stories of the making of such films as Spartacus, Lust for Life, Champion, The Bad and the Beautiful, and many others. He includes anecdotes about his friends Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Lauren Bacall, Ronald Reagan, Ava Gardner, Henry Kissinger, Fred Astaire, Yul Brynner, John Wayne, and Johnny Cash. He reveals the secrets that have kept him and his wife, Anne, happily married for more than five decades, and talks fondly and movingly of times spent with his sons, Michael, Peter, Eric, and Joel, and his grandchildren.

Douglas's life has been filled with pain as well as joy. In Let's Face It, he writes frankly for the first time about the tragic death of his son Eric from a drug overdose at age forty-five. Douglas tells what it was like to recover from several near-death episodes, including a helicopter crash, a stroke, and a cardiac event. He writes of his sadness that many of his closest friends are no longer with us; the book includes many moving stories such as one about a regular poker game at Frank Sinatra's house at which he and Anne have been fixtures along with Gregory Peck, Jack Lemmon, and their wives. Though many of the players are gone, the game continues to this day.

In Let's Face It, Douglas reflects on how his Jewish faith has become more and more important to him over the years. He offers strong opinions on everything from anti-Semitism to corporate greed, from racism to Hurricane Katrina, and from the war in Iraq to the situation in Israel. He writes about the importance in his life of the need to improve education for all children and about how we need to care more about the world and less about ourselves.

A must-read for every fan, this engrossing memoir provides an indelible self-portrait of a great star -- while sharing the wit and wisdom Kirk Douglas has accumulated over a lifetime.

Editorial Reviews

On December 9, 2006, Kirk Douglas turned 90. Viewers revere him, of course, as the sharp-chinned, gravel-voiced star of dozens of Hollywood films and also as the father of actor/producer Michael Douglas. But the man who gained our attention by playing "sons of bitches" is also the author of four sensitive memoirs: The Ragman's Son, Climbing the Mountain, My Stroke of Luck, and now Let's Face It. In this fond look back, he reflects on his first 89 years, his resilient marriage, his career, his near-fatal helicopter crash, his stroke, and his ongoing recovery. Autumnal memories for the soul.
From the Publisher
* At 90 years old, recovered from a stroke and a near-fatal helicopter crash, acting legend Douglas is in a reflective mood: “now is the time to have an audit of my life,” he writes, and he does not disappoint. Douglas recalls his childhood and his own children, 50-plus years of marriage to wife Anne and the deaths of his son and many of his famous friends. He tackles a wide range of topics, with chapter names like, “Three Thoughts About Two Races,” “I Love Dogs” and “Does God Laugh?” He’s also unafraid to take a few swings at the young ‘uns, most notably at Mel Gibson, Michael Moore and even the whippersnappers at NASA. Douglas's assessment of his life is honest, wise and not always flattering; when he heard, in a recent documentary, what some family members had to say about him, he notes, “It’s difficult to see ourselves as others see us.” Nevertheless, Douglas is upbeat, engaging and full of sharp observations, such as his simple epitaph, “I tried, dammit, I tried.” (Apr.) (PW.com, April 16, 2007)

For the record, this is Douglas's fourth memoir. His first, The Ragman's Son (1988), tells of his hardscrabble early years as Issur Danielovitch and his rise to fame. But a brush with death in a helicopter crash and a stroke led him to reevaluate his life and renew his Jewish faith, which he describes in Climbing the Mountain (2000). In his third book, My Stroke of Luck (2003), he shares his near recovery from the stroke. All of the books are liberally sprinkled with anecdotes, including this latest narrative. Now 90, Douglas weighs in on everything from Terri Schiavo to racism. He contemplates the meaning of life, gives tips on a happy marriage (he and his wife have been married for over 50 years), shares his sorrow over the death of his son Eric, and relates what it's like to outlive all of your friends. There is less pomposity here and perhaps even more truth as the actor rethinks things he wrote earlier. At his age, what do you have to lose? Fans of Douglas and those who enjoyed the previous memoirs will want to read this one.
—Rosellen Brewer, Sno-Isle Libs., Marysville, WA (Library Journal, April 1, 2007)

easily his most compelling [book]…written in deftly lucid prose as a series of insights into the mind of a man reflecting on the past and facing the inevitable." (The Times  (Knowledge Supplement), 14th April 2007)

“…a brilliant read and something you can’t put down…you want to close your eyes and be taken into the world of Douglas. And what a world and life he has lived… (SomethingJewish.co.uk, 12th April 2007)

"...this self-deprecating, wise and witty book is not a vanity project - it's a genuinely moving account of a great figure's later years." (Empire, August 2007)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781620458662
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
03/01/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
238
Sales rank:
447,863
File size:
7 MB

Meet the Author

Kirk Douglas has been a household name for six decades, appearing in more than eighty films. A three-time Academy Award nominee, Douglas received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981, a special Oscar in 1996, and the National Medal of the Arts in 2001. He is also the author of the bestselling The Ragman's Son, Climbing the Mountain, and My Stroke of Luck.

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