Kirk Douglas Didn’t Make The Inaugural Hall-Of-Fame At His Own Hometown – ‘His Name Never Came Up’

Alap Naik Desai - Author
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Sep. 23 2015, Updated 3:17 a.m. ET

Kirk Douglas was left out of the inaugural hall-of-fame list that his high school drew up.

With high schools coming up with or revising their hall-of-fame lists, Amsterdam High School, too, thought of making one from this year onward. However, the school strangely introduced a vague caveat: Inductees must have “distinguished themselves by their contribution in their field of work, study or athletics.”

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Though what the condition implies is that merely excelling at sports won’t get your name up there, the final list that will soon go up contradicts the very criteria. The inaugural hall-of-fame list consists majorly of sportspersons, with a few exceptions. Despite the gross oversight, one wouldn’t dare omit one of the most influential and successful students that was once enrolled there and graduated.

Kirk Douglas, the hugely successful Hollywood star and father to Michael Douglas, who happens to have been a student of the Amsterdam High School, has been left out of the first ever hall-of-fame list drawn up by the institution, reported the Daily Gazette. Born Issur Danielovitch, Douglas changed his name on the advice of Karl Malden to become more relevant and mainstream. Needless to say, the actor has made a name for himself and has become relevant to multiple generations through his methodic and immersive acting.

Asked why Kirk Douglas didn’t make into the inaugural list, Amsterdam School Superintendent Thomas Perillo seemed quite perplexed himself,

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“You know, his name was not nominated [by the community]. I don’t know. His name never came up.”

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While the completely changed name could have been the cause behind Kirk Douglas not being on the radar, it is truly strange the high school would choose to omit one of its pupils who managed to gain a cult status. However, some speculate there might be a slightly different reason for the omission.

Kirk Douglas came from a very poor Russian Jewish family, a lineage that wasn’t exactly welcomed into the communities with wide open arms. Moreover, growing up was quite difficult for young Douglas or Danielovitch. It’s no surprise that Douglas openly recollected his “sour memories” of growing up in Amsterdam.

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As for how the community chose to ignore Douglas, despite making it amply clear that the distinguished gentlemen worthy of the mention should have had more widespread success than just in sports, Perillo added,

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“There were probably a lot of other people who could have or should have been nominated.”

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Ninety-eight-year-old Kirk Douglas graduated from the high school in 1934. Perhaps his appearances in Hollywood classics as “Spartacus” and “Lust for Life,” as well as receiving three Academy Award nominations, isn’t enough to earn him a place in the hall-of-fame?

[Image Credit | Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images]

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