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One of Hollywood’s last Living Legends, Actor Kirk Douglas Celebrates 100th Birthday with Family and Friends

Michael Douglas kicked off the proceedings, saying that it’s not just about age, but about the life he’s lived and what he’s accomplished

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Actor Kirk Douglas arrives at his 100th birthday party as his daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones (second from right) and her daughter Carys applaud at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Dec. 9. 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. VOA

Kirk Douglas knows how to make an entrance.

With boxing gloves in every centerpiece and the theme from Rocky blaring over the speakers, Douglas, one of the golden age of Hollywood’s last living legends, walked confidently into the Sunset Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel Friday afternoon to celebrate his 100th birthday at an intimate gathering of friends and family.

Flanked by Anne Douglas, his wife of more than 62 years, his son Michael Douglas, his daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones and his grandchildren, Kirk Douglas looked out over the crowd of about 150 people, including Don Rickles, Jeffrey Katzenberg, his rabbi and many of his closest friends and smiled.

Actor Kirk Douglas (seated left) holds hands with his wife Anne Douglas as they pose with family members, their son Michael (standing second left), his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones (standing second right), and their children, Carys Zeta Jones (left) and son Dylan during Kirk's 100th birthday party at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Dec. 9. 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. VOA
Actor Kirk Douglas (seated left) holds hands with his wife Anne Douglas as they pose with family members, their son Michael (standing second left), his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones (standing second right), and their children, Carys Zeta Jones (left) and son Dylan during Kirk’s 100th birthday party at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Dec. 9. 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. VOA

Not only was he surrounded by friendly faces, he knew, as promised by his doctor years ago, that if he lived to 100, he would get to have a glass of vodka.

Loving remarks

But before the vodka arrived in a comically large martini glass, Kirk Douglas sat and listened to words from his loved ones as images from his many classic film credits such as Spartacus, Lust for Life, Paths of Glory and others played on a screen behind him.

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Michael Douglas kicked off the proceedings, saying that it’s not just about age, but about the life he’s lived and what he’s accomplished.

“One of the things that I find most incredible about dad is the third act of his life,” said Michael Douglas. “After all he accomplished in his professional career and what he’s given for his country, at the point in his life where he’s faced adversity, losing a son, having a helicopter crash, having a stroke, and what he’s accomplished in this third act in his life, I find quite extraordinary.”

Kirk Douglas kept his remarks brief.

“I wonder who he was talking about? He said some nice things about someone I don’t know,” Kirk Douglas said, joking that Michael Douglas was chosen to organize the proceedings because “he has the most money.”

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Kirk Douglas thanked everyone for coming and marveled at seeing most of his family in the crowd.

Zeta-Jones then lit the 12 candles on the cake.

“I’m so glad there’s not 100!” she exclaimed, before leading the room to sing Happy Birthday with a string quartet accompaniment.

A little levity

It was only the start of the afternoon, which included remarks from a few of his seven grandchildren, his rabbi and his doctor. Charley King’s Bluebell Events oversaw the afternoon tea where each table was designated not by numbers but by Kirk Douglas’s films. The birthday boy was seated at the Lonely Are the Bravetable, which is his favorite film.

Comedian Don Rickles (left) laughs with actor Kirk Douglas at Douglas' 100th birthday party at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Dec. 9. 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. VOA
Comedian Don Rickles (left) laughs with actor Kirk Douglas at Douglas’ 100th birthday party at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Dec. 9. 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. VOA

Don Rickles lightened the reverent and respectful mood, quipping to the crowd from his seat that he wanted to go home.

He poked fun at Kirk Douglas’s good looks and physique saying that he had to hear the “I’m Spartacus crap” every day, and how Burt Lancaster used to advise him that Kirk Douglas “doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

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Rickles did get a bit choked up by the end.

“You are an outstanding man because you’ve been blessed with warmth and love and class, and … ah, forget it, you’re all of that and more,” he said. “May god give you strength and may you be with us for 100 more. If that’s his wish, so be it, if not, I know in heaven you’ll be in charge.”

Tenacious, mischievous

Off to the side, actress and dancer Neile Adams, who was Steve McQueen’s first wife, recalled Douglas’s mischievous side.

“Kirk was terrible when he was a young man! You could not sit beside him without his hand crawling up your leg. When Steve would leave the room suddenly he’d be on me,” she said with a hearty laugh. “But he was cute.”

She recalled his resilience a few years ago when he had both of his knees replaced. Michael Douglas, she said, tried to encourage him to just do one and get a chair. Kirk Douglas, however, had a different idea and it didn’t involve a wheelchair.

“You’ll never see Spartacus in a (expletive) chair!” Adams remembered him saying.

Later in the afternoon, Katzenberg reflected on the generosity of the Douglases, who are famous for their charitable giving.

“You have remained and will always remain my hero,” Katzenberg said. “I will remind you of your words that you gave to me and I try to give to other people all the time which is ‘you haven’t learned how to live until you learn how to give.’”

Steven Spielberg, who arrived late and on crutches having recently broken his foot on set, came with a very specific message.

“I wanted to come here and say I’ve been shooting movies and television shows for now 47 years and I’ve worked with the best of them and you’re the only movie star I ever met,” Spielberg said. “There is something that you have that no one else ever had. … When you watch Kirk’s performance in anything, in anything he’s ever done, you cannot take your eyes off of him. It’s not possible to look away from him.”

He called it an optimistic ferocity and it’s something he challenges all his actors to achieve in his films.

“You’re a miracle man,” he said. (VOA)

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Online Concert “I For India” Raises Approx Rs 52 Crore

India's COVID-19 relief concert raised Funds

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Bollywood Celebrities like Shahrukh Khan have participated in the concert. Wikimedia Commons

India’s star-studded I For India online concert, held in support of frontline workers of the COVID-19 battle on Sunday night, has raised a whopping Rs 52 crore in donations so far, and counting.

Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Arjun Kapoor, and Karan Johar took to their social media handles to share the donation amount, and thanked people for “watching, responding and donating”.

The image posted by the stars read: “I for India: The Concert For Our Times, raises Rs 52 crore (and counting).”

It went on to reveal that: “I for India becomes world’s biggest live fundraiser on Facebook by raising Rs 4.3 crore online (and counting). Corporate donors and philanthropists donate Rs 47.77 crore (and counting). I for India continues to get overwhelming attention and support from the world over. 100% of proceeds go to GiveIndia for COVID-19 relief work.”

The stars posted a thank you note for the fans, too.

“From our hearts to yours. Thank you for watching. Thank you for responding. Thank you for donating. I for India started out as a concert. But it can be a movement. Let’s continue to build a safe India. A healthy India. A strong India. I for India. Please continue to donate,” they wrote while posting the statement.

I For India, the mega fundraiser concerts, which was live-streamed on Facebook on Sunday, saw a massive Hollywood and Bollywood participation.

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International Stars like Will Smith also participated in the concert. Wikimedia Commons

Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Hrithik Roshan, Ranveer Singh, Tiger Shroff, Vicky Kaushal, Vidya Balan, Katrina Kaif, Rani Mukerji, Arjun Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh were among 85 artistes who participated in the virtual concert to raise funds for those affected by the novel coronavirus.

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Also joining in were Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan, and Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan.

International stars including Jack Black, Will Smith, Russel Peters, Mick Jagger, Nick Jonas, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner were also part of the concert.

Everyone did their bit to entertain the audience while performing at the noble show, which was organised by filmmakers Karan Johar and Zoya Akhtar. (IANS)

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Hollywood Celebrities Who Donated Millions For The Cause of COVID-19 Pandemic

During this crucial situation, most of the counties have allocated billions of dollars of budget to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

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Coronavirus Pandemic
During this crucial situation, most of the counties have allocated billions of dollars of budget to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Pixabay

It’s almost been nearly 5 months since the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak, which started spreading from the Chinese province of Hubei. Now it has spread its tentacles to almost all the countries in various corners of the world.

Shockingly, most of the COVID-19 cases reported are from developed countries like the USA, Italy, Spain, Russia, etc… These are some of the counties that have one of the best medical facilities around the globe but couldn’t find a suitable cure to prevent the spread of this pandemic virus.  The virus is still spreading at a faster rate, thus making thousands of people’s life.

During this crucial situation, most of the counties have allocated billions of dollars of budget to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, a number of Hollywood celebrities have also donated a large amount of money to help people during the Pandemic.

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Here is the list of some of the Hollywood celebrities who have donated for the cause:

 Jack Dorsey: Beyonce and Twitter CEO

The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey has donated $6m to the coronavirus relief fund and total Net Worth of Jack Dorsey is $3 Billion. This money will go to those who are affected by the pandemic and to frontline workers. It will be shared via Beyonce’s BeyGood foundation and Dorsey’s #StartSmall initiative.

Maleficent Actress, Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie, one of the famous Hollywood actress and humanitarian has donated $1m during the outbreak of COVID-19 to fight child hunger, the disease caused by a coronavirus.

She has donated the cash to No Kid Hungry Foundation which will provide meals for children belonging to low-income families across the US.

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie, one of the famous Hollywood actress and humanitarian has donated $1m during the outbreak of COVID-19 to fight child hunger, the disease caused by a coronavirus. Wikimedia Commons

Lady Gaga

One of the popular American singer, Lady Gaga has also donated a percentage of profits through her beauty brand HAUS to support food banks.

The brand said in a statement, “In the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, it can be easy to feel powerless,” Furthermore, it told that “We’ve been thinking a lot about our community and responsibilities in this time of uncertainty. Social distancing is one of the most important things we can do to control the spread of this virus and we encourage our community from across the world to participate if you can.”

Justin Bieber

The pop star, Justin Bieber had pledged to donate £23,500  to help with the relief efforts to the Beijing Chunmiao Charity Foundation, a children’s charity in China, where the virus originated.

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds

The famous Hollywood couple, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have donated over $1m to help provide food for older people and low-income families. The Deadpool star also shared a post on Instagram wherein he said that “COVID-19 has brutally impacted older adults and low-income families.”

Lady Gaga
One of the popular American singer, Lady Gaga has also donated a percentage of profits through her beauty brand HAUS to support food banks. Wikimedia Commons

Rihanna

The Barbadian singer, Actress, and Businesswoman who is recognized for embracing various musical styles has also contributed in large for the ongoing pandemic.

Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) has donated $5m towards organizations in the US and around the world.

These Funds will go towards protective equipment for frontline health workers, food banks in America, research to develop a vaccine and work to accelerate testing and care in countries such as Haiti and Malawi.

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Leonardo DiCaprio

The Oscar-winning Hollywood actor has helped launch America’s Food Fund with $12 million in response to the global coordinates pandemic through the Ford Foundation. This new initiative is said to be hosted by GoFundMe and benefit Feeding America and World Health Kitchen.

[Disclaimer: The article published above promotes links of commercial interests.]

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Irrfan Khan: The Greatest of all Times

The world mourns as it loses a gem like Actor Irrfan Khan

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Irrfan Khan
Magnicent actor, Irrfan Khan died on April 29, 2020. Wikimedia Commons

By Muskan Bhatnagar

I sit here in the corner of my room, watching the sunset as I proceed to write this article, with tears in my eyes as a bunch of news articles surround me, all of them shouting the story of the legend’s untimely demise, Irrfan Khan.

29th April 2020, the world rose to the tragic news of the death of the finest actors of Cinema world, Irrfan Khan. Nothing could be more disheartening than losing a legendary actor like Irrfan Khan amid the ongoing pandemic. A piece of news which the world wanted to be false, a piece of news which broke millions of hearts worldwide, a piece of news that’ll take forever to sink in, a piece of news which made my heart scream “ why does this have to be real?”

Noon it is, and I receive a call from a friend. “Irrfan Khan is no more,” she said.

“What? Who died?” I ask. I heard her the first time but my mind and heart failed to believe.

“Irrfan Khan bro, Irrfan Khan “ she replied. My heart ached. I was not able to believe her words, or probably I didn’t want to.

I hung up the call, madly running towards the television to watch the news.

“Actor Irrfan Khan passes away at 53” the news anchor read. I stand there still, looking at the television with a blank face, not wanting to believe my eyes.

“We won’t get any Irrfan Khan movies now?, We won’t be able to see that beautiful smile on screen?, Wasn’t it too early for a gem like him to leave us? Who is going give us the best movies of the year?” so many questions cross my mind while I get flashbacks of his epic film scenes and dialogues.

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Irrfan Khan was laid to rest at 3pm on April 29. Wikimedia Commons

“I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.”, his dialogue from the movie ‘Life of Pie’ seemed truly meaningful on this tragic day.

I return to my room teary-eyed and sit back. As I open my phone, I find out that the whole internet is flooded with grief. The world has had so many celebrity deaths, but this one was felt by each person. Why did the demise of Irrfan Khan feel like a personal loss? It was his aura, his screen presence, his power to make the screen alive, his ability to connect with every person through his films, his loyalty and devotion to his work, his unbeatable acting skills, his hard work and determination that made him the finest actor to ever exist in Bollywood.

Irrfan Khan started his film journey with a small role in the movie ‘Salaam Bombay!’ back in 1988 at 21 years of age, while he was still doing television and theatre. With his first film, Irrfan started getting roles and opportunities but his movies flopped until 2001. In 2001 Irrfan played the lead in the movie ‘The Warrior’ which made him popular as it opened in international film festivals. He was now a known face, but the turning point of his career was yet to come. ‘Maqbool’, released in 2003 was one of Irrfan’s greatest performances and was the turning point of his career. From then, there was no looking back. The legend went on to receive Padma Shri Award (2011) and National Award for Best Actor (2013). Irrfan made India proud as he acted in several Hollywood films like ‘Life of Pie’, ‘Jurrasic World’, and many more. If I go on to write down the list of his achievements and how extraordinary his performances were, then this article might just not end.

What makes his achievements even more admirable and his journey more beautiful is the fact that he came from a non-film background. He struggled his way to be on screen, he struggled to get lead roles, he struggled to pursue his childhood dream of being an actor. And like almost all other actors, he was not a man with six abs and perfect looks, hence he struggled to get accepted in the industry entirely on the basis of his skills and talent. Whatever he achieved in his life was through his hard work. “People love to see my work, not my face”, the effortless actor was once quoted saying.

Irrfan_Khan_Profile1
Irrfan Khan will stay alive in our hearts always. Wikimedia Commons

It’s been all day since the news of his demise broke out. All my friends are talking about him but I haven’t come across even a single person who seemed like it didn’t affect them. My friends who don’t have much to do with films or Bollywood have been feeling low since they heard of it. As I said earlier, his untimely demise feels like a personal loss. I also came across another observation, that this man, the legend has absolutely zero haters. As I scroll through my Instagram feed, all that I find is tons of love and admiration for the man who left us today. We usually say that a person won “millions of hearts” but I won’t be wrong if I say that Legendary Actor Irrfan Khan won “all the hearts”.

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I’m nobody but just another admirer of his work like millions out there. Still, there’s so much to pour out, so much to express. My heart aches as I think of it, my eyes get watery as I see those Instagram posts, my mind just doesn’t want to accept the reality. Here I go, pouring my heart out and paying tribute by writing this.

Irrfan sir, you undoubtedly are the best actor to ever exist, and a human that inspired millions out there. You started from television and you conquered Bollywood as well as Hollywood step by step. You ruled the Cinema world with your effortless acting and amazing work. I remember watching movies just because you starred in them, as your presence assured me that the movie will be a good one. The legacy you’ve left behind will stay with us until the end of time. You’ll always be remembered as the greatest actor of all time. Your work, legacy, and the inspiration you’ve given to us will remain immortal. Today, the world bows down in respect as you leave us. Maybe god was running out of gems so he called you up there. There was, there is, and there will never be another Irrfan Khan ever because you’re irreplaceable. No one, absolutely no one can do what you did. Thank you, sir, for entertaining us till the end of your life and giving us the best movies ever. You’re truly the greatest of all. Rest In Peace, sir.

YOUR GREATEST FAN