In S.F., legendary actor Kirk Douglas honored by Jewish Film Festival

Nonagenarian Kirk Douglas wowed the crowd at the Castro Theatre on July 24 in accepting the Freedom of Expression award from the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

SFJFF Executive Director Peter Stein chats onstage with actor Kirk Douglas. photo/drew altizer

Addressing a packed house, the 94-year-old actor showed his sense of humor and intelligence, as well as his legendary toughness, as he walked to the stage to receive his statuette and participate in a 15-minute Q&A session with festival Executive Director Peter Stein before a screening of the classic film “Spartacus,” in which he starred in 1960.

Douglas spoke of his Jewish renewal and how important free speech is to a democracy. The veteran actor broke the Hollywood blacklist by crediting writer Dalton Trumbo for the script of  “Spartacus.” (Trumbo refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947.)

Douglas also joked that he would celebrate a third bar mitzvah if he made it to age 96.