Historical marker for Kirk Douglas
AMSTERDAM — The Historic Amsterdam League will unveil a historical marker to Kirk Douglas at 2 p.m. Sunday at the corner of East Main and Eagle streets, near Douglas’ childhood home. Sunday is not only Douglas’ 102nd birthday, but also the last full day of Hanukkah. After a nearly fatal aviation accident and a stroke, Douglas came to embrace his Jewish heritage later in his life, so the date is doubly significant, according to a news release.
Born Dec. 9, 1916, in Amsterdam as Issur Danielovich (later known as Izzy Dempsky), Douglas grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods in the city as the “The Ragman’s Son,” the title of his first book. As early as kindergarten, he knew he wanted to be a performer. Performing in plays at Wilbur Lynch High School (where his initials are still carved backstage) confirmed this.
The marker was funded by a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. The grant was secured by the efforts of Dan Weaver, former HAL president; Jackie Murphy, chair of the HAL historic preservation committee; and other committee members.
The unveiling will be rain or shine. A reception will be held afterwards at the Creative Connections Center on East Main Street and Vrooman Avenue. Due to cold or inclement weather, remarks may be moved to that location. Local dignitaries and representatives of Congregation Sons of Israel (which Douglas attended when young) have been invited.