Issur Danielovich (aka Kirk Douglas) is Jewish. Douglas was born in upstate New York to Bryna and Herschel "Harry" Danielovitch. Douglas's parents were illiterate Russian Jewish immigrants from Belarus. Kirk's uncle who had emigrated earlier, used the surname of Demsky, which Douglas's family adopted, and for part of his life, Douglas was known as Izzy Demsky. Douglas was the only boy in a family of six kids.
Douglas was married twice, first to his drama school girlfriend Diana Dill, and they had 2 sons, actor Michael Douglas, and Producer Joel Douglas. He then married Anne Buydens on May 29, 1954. They had two sons, producer Peter Douglas and actor Eric Douglas. Eric Douglas died in 2004 of a drug overdose.
Kirk Douglas was nominated for 3 Academy Awards for best actor in 1950 for "Champion", 1953 for "The Bad and the "Beautiful" and in 1957 for "Lust for Life". In addition to 3 Oscar nominations, Douglas won 27 different acting awards over his career.
Douglas was not a devout Jew, but after his he experienced a resurgence of interest in his religion after a helicopter crash and, later, a stroke that left him partially disabled. He even had a second bar mitzvah at the age of 83, and he continues to recommit himself to the richness of the heritage from which he had been estranged from for so very long.