Kirk Douglas Revisits Spartacus and the Communist Blacklist in New Ebook

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Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Actor Michael Douglas (L) and his father, actor Kirk Douglas, arrive at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood, California February 26, 2012.

Kirk Douglas, 95, embraced all kinds of technology with his multi-media launch today of his “E-riginal” book I Am Spartacus! Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist.

Available as either an ebook or a paperback, you can aslo grab the legendary actor’s memoir as an audiobook, with son—and multi-Oscar winner—Michael Douglas doing the reading. And to just toss a little more star power into the mix, George Clooney penned the forward.

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The book details how Douglas, who both starred in and helped produce the Roman epic Spartacus, was forced to work around the famed Hollywood suspected Communist blacklist, a 1950s-ear fear that permeated throughout the movie industry and resulted in unemployment for many writers, producers and actors. “The blacklist was a witch hunt, destroying lives and careers without regard for the truth of the allegations,” Douglas says in a press release promoting his book. “I made Spartacus with a blacklisted writer, Dalton Trumbo, who had to hide behind a pseudonym—Sam Jackson for Spartacus—in order to find work.”

Trumbo, it turned out, worked throughout the ’50s under assumed names to avoid the blacklist that kept him out of his job.

Douglas claims the politics of today make airing the truth about America’s lack of freedom during the making of Spartacus most relevant, saying there are “parallels to today’s political climate.”

“I was making a film about freedom at a time when freedom in America was in jeopardy,” he says. He credits Spartacus with helping break apart the blacklist in Hollywood because producers didn’t shy away from hiring members of the blacklist.

Readers will not only learn about the entire Spartacus film-making process, they also get to experience Clooney’s glowing praise: “Kirk Douglas is many things. A movie star. An actor. A producer. But he is, first and foremost, a man of extraodirnary character … the kind we always look for at our darkest hour.”

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