How tall is Kirk Douglas ?

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Kirk Douglas height: 5ft 9in (175 cm)

American Actor best known for roles in films such as Spartacus, Paths of Glory, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Tough Guys, Champion, The Big Sky, Detective Story, The Bad and the Beautiful and Ace in the Hole. In his book 'Life could be Verse' he mentioned his height, claiming to be "five feet eleven inches".

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Add your opinion on the Height of Kirk Douglas

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Danimal says on 6/Jul/15
70 year old Kirk Douglas with 76 year old Ronald Reagan in 1987: Click Here
Gonzalo says on 3/Jul/15
In his book The Ragman´s son there is a picture of his resumé as an actor and in his height it says 5`11.
What´s going on in here? Who is the lift wearer? Father or son?

Click Here
Click Here
Arch Stanton says on 2/Jun/15
5'11 LOL, he may as well have just claimed the full 6ft!!! In fairness at times he could pull off looking 5 ft 10, but more than that is laughing gas.
Arch Stanton says on 2/Jun/15
Sam says on 27/May/15
Rob, could you add Champion, The Big Sky and Detective Story to his credits?
[Editor Rob: I forgot to add his quote to this page too, claiming 5ft 11 - interestingly I found another quote from woody strode who said he was 6ft 4 and kirk about 5ft 7 or 8!]

I think I've read though that the two didn't get on during the making of Spartacus Rob. In fact I think most of the cast of Spartacus disliked him!
Sam says on 29/May/15
Yeah, not surprised that he claimed 5'11"! Kirk seems to have been one of the more height conscious of the golden age stars, certainly there's a lot of evidence of him wearing lifts and, from the 50s through the 70s, shots of his with advantageous angles in his films. I could almost believe Douglas was never more than 5'8" because of these distortions!
Sam says on 27/May/15
Rob, could you add Champion, The Big Sky and Detective Story to his credits?
[Editor Rob: I forgot to add his quote to this page too, claiming 5ft 11 - interestingly I found another quote from woody strode who said he was 6ft 4 and kirk about 5ft 7 or 8!]
Steve says on 3/Jan/15
I met Douglas when a friend took me to a studio wrap party back in the 1960s. He looked no more than 5'8". I don't remember his footwear. I remember being surprised he was that short. I always figured he was around 5'10" to 5'11". I think they play lots of tricks in movies to make shorter actors appear taller.
Sam says on 2/Jan/15
Ok, you towered over Curt Douglas, let us know if you've met Kirk Douglas though!
Leland says on 1/Jan/15
I walked into a "guest" elevator at the New York Worlds Fair in 1964 with my dad who immediately introduced me to "Kirk Douglas!" who was riding the elevator. By this time, I was 17 years old and 6'2." I TOWERED over Curt Douglas by approximately 1 foot! I would guess that he was Tom Cruise height: 5'3" Sorry people, but that's the truth!
Sam says on 1/Dec/14
Douglas probably in lifts and slightly uphill, so trying hard not to look shorter than Robert Mitchum and Richard Widmark. Click Here
Sam says on 27/Oct/14
Yeah, there's a lot of nasty rumors about Douglas that make him sound like a true monster more so than just difficult. It's unsettling but I'm not going to just believe a bunch of rumors without actual evidence.
littlesue says on 26/Oct/14
He does look about 5ft 5 nowadays, be intersting of the stories what will come out when he passes away, one which he won't thought of as such a 'great' man!!
Arch Stanton says on 25/Oct/14
Agreed Sam, but later on I think Lancaster grew into a superior actor, by Atlantic City he was really quite accomplished.
Arch Stanton says on 25/Oct/14
Well, my Granddad reached 93 and only shrunk to around 5'10, although he had a stoop when walking as most that age do, he was an easy 6 ft in his prime and he was born in the late Victorian period in 1900.
Douglas really looks 5 ft 8 range in Man Without a Star and in boots too.
Realist says on 6/Oct/14
Rob is he the last of them from the golden age era ? I am sure he'll make it to 100 at least, he still walks today, he looks barely 5'5 today though. Would you be 5'5 at 100 ? Quintessential example of a great life: great career, great man and long life. I wanna live till 100.
[Editor Rob: yeah one of the few of that era left and being able to walk about still at that age! I'd probably end up that height at 100 if I ever lived that long.]
Sam says on 14/Aug/14
There's a shot out there where he's standing on an Old West-style porch for a promo shot w/ Johnny Cash and he looks like only an inch shorter than Cash but Douglas is wearing quite blatant lifted boot.

I agree with your assessment of their personalities and I think Lancaster might have typically been more fun but both could be difficult to be around as well. In terms of sheer acting ability, I think I would rank Douglas slightly higher.
jtm says on 13/Aug/14
alec baldwin claimed 5'11 in the past but i wouldn't be surprise he claims 6'0 now. he was always listed 5'11 but now that 4 letter site has him listed at 6'0.
Arch Stanton says on 13/Aug/14
And yeah in the longer shots though the difference between them looked greater and more 3-4 inches as you say. In some scenes though he did manage to look no more than 2 inches shorter.
Arch Stanton says on 13/Aug/14
Yeah he was definitely wearing lifts in Seven Days in May, in one scene you could see as he walked away his trousers legs lifted up and bit he was wearing really blocky brown shoes with his feet almost popping out not too similar to Rob's "I'm 5 ft 11" Dons. I thought in the film he pulled off looking nearer 2 inches shorter than Lancaster so I do think he was pulling off a strong 5'11" in them as Lancaster would have been 6'1.5-6'2" in shoes I think.
Arch Stanton says on 12/Aug/14
Ian C. says on 29/Jul/14
Whenever an actor claims to be five foot eleven, you just know he's lying.

I know what you mean, but some actors actually are around 5 ft 11 and aren't afraid to say they're just under 6 ft...
Arch Stanton says on 12/Aug/14
"Douglas seemed to regard Lancaster as a boorish, immature bully and Lancaster regarded Douglas as a bitch-y, social climbing airhead who cared about publicity"

Lancaster looked like he could have been a lot of fun. Kirk Douglas on the otherhand always struck me as rather stiff and self-important. I've read a lot of stuff about Douglas being a major diva and blackmailing film bosses; I think he rather difficult to work with.
Arch Stanton says on 12/Aug/14
Looks 177 in The Vikings.
Sam says on 8/Aug/14
Kirk and Burt Lancaster often look more 2 or 3 inches tops in height difference but Douglas was a lift-wearer. I've said it before but once Lancaster hid Douglas's lifts as a practical joke, enraging him. In full body shots, Douglas can't pull off the lifts as well, so the difference can suddenly looks like a solid 4 inches.

Unfortunately, their love-hate relationship was a lot more hate than love off screen according to Burt Lancaster's biography...Douglas seemed to regard Lancaster as a boorish, immature bully and Lancaster regarded Douglas as a bitch-y, social climbing airhead who cared about publicity more than anything and both would privately call each other out for narcissism that they both possessed in spades (isn't it a movie star pre-requisite?) Love 'em both though!
Click Here
Ian C. says on 29/Jul/14
Whenever an actor claims to be five foot eleven, you just know he's lying. An actor who really was five foot eleven would claim at least six feet. The phrase "I'm five foot eleven," when spoken by an actor, means "I'm a lot shorter than the characters I usually play in the movies." Pursuant to that, my guess is that most leading men who are not actually very tall play characters that are understood to be six foot two. (It's like most leading men who are in their forties play characters who are thirty seven.) Having seen Douglas at the Oscars recently, I was surprised at how small he was. When you see him as the Viking Einar in The Vikings, he seems like a big guy. That's acting.
Realist says on 7/May/14
Guys 5'7-5'8 was the solid average at that time. 5'9 was equivalent to 5'11. Today 5'7-5'8 is considered low average. But i dont think height will grow at the rate at which it has grown in turn of the century. Very minor increase can be observed. And for the grand old man of hollywood 5'8 peak 5'6.5 in 1980s and 5'5-5'6 today at almost hundred.
Sam says on 5/May/14
Yeah, I really An Ace in the Hole was top-knotch, certainly one of the darkest Hollywood movies from that stage and few stars would have dared to play a character as unlikeable as that one. I don't think he wears lifts in that one and Douglas looks no less than 5'9" IMO.
Arch Stanton says on 4/May/14
There is a scene in Ace in the Hole in which Douglas is stood next to Porter Hall who was around 5 ft 7 and he looked tall proportionally in comparison actually.
Arch Stanton says on 3/May/14
Looks about 5'9" in Ace in the Hole. Superbly acted, played the arrogant journo to perfection.
Arch Stanton says on 2/May/14
5 ft 8 range is possible Knowitall but he definitely didn't look as low as 5 ft 7 peak. Lifts can't change the actually torso and leg length of a guy and Douglas was easily a solid average height guy for his generation. Actually in some of his films he could look 5 ft 10, lifts perhaps.
Arch Stanton says on 2/May/14
Click Here

He does actually look as low as 5 ft 4 today Knowitall but he's pushing 100 now so on average he'd have lost 4 inches anyway.
Sam says on 22/Apr/14
The Big Sky an interesting one for comparison since he co-leads with Dewey Martin, who is listed on the net at 5'8", and looks right around an inch taller and average height at best in all the crowd scenes. I think this is a little before Douglas became a routine lift-wearer. Also, you can see Buddy Baer look ginormous in comparison in the film.
RisingForce says on 12/Apr/14
Kirk's quote of "Everyone thinks actors are tall but I'm only 5-11" is still pretty funny to me, since it's pretty much the same thing Johnny Depp did when trying to claim 5'11" and it seems pretty common for celebrities who claim a pretty tall height to put only in front of it. But even worse is that a 1966 newspaper described Kirk as 6 feet!
Knowitall says on 3/Apr/14
Here is a very revealing photograph taken of Kirk with Walt Disney:

Click Here

Disney was roughly five-ten. Study the photo and you'll see that Kirk is closer to the camera making him look taller than he really was. He's wearing lifts covered over by his bell-bottom trousers. Yet he appears to be about two inches shorter than Disney.

I seriously doubt that Kirk barefoot was any taller than five-seven. Lifts boosted him to a little over five-nine. Then lots of camera tricks were pulled.
Knowitall says on 31/Mar/14
I'd say Douglas is now no more than five-four. I saw him in person and was shocked how short he was. And bent over, using a walker. Still it's amazing at 97 he still walks and is not in a wheelchair.

Douglas is amazing. He's outlive just about everyone he worked with. Had it not been for the helicopter crash which I believe later triggered his stroke, I'm sure he'd be as feisty as ever.
Arch Stanton says on 24/Mar/14
He was definitely wearing lifts in Gunfight at the OK Corral. There's a scene in which he's lying on the bed and he's not only wearing 2 inch cowboy boots but you can see the arch of the lift inside which is about another 2 inches. Yet he still looked 2-2.5 inches shorter than Burt Lancaster!!
Arch Stanon says on 22/Feb/14
In fact Kirk Douglas is 97, not far off 100 now. No wonder he looks 5'6 tops now!!
Arch Stanon says on 22/Feb/14
Christian Douglas is like 90 something, on average he'd have lost 3 inches. He's no longer active like Connery as an actor so he won't list current.
Arch Stanon says on 22/Feb/14
Really doesn't look over 4 inches shorter than 6'2.5" Walter Pidgeon in The Bad and the Beautiful, was Douglas wearing lifts in that film?
Arch Stanon says on 22/Feb/14
Rob can you add The Bad and the Beautiful, Ace in the Hole, Lust for life, Paths of Glory (not Days of Glory) Seven Days in May and Tough Guys?
Christian says on 24/Jan/14
I usally agree with almost a hundred procent with your estimates Rob but Kirk today is much much shorter. I would say 5'6''tops. In most pictures he looks 3 inches shorter than Michael. Click Here
Robert says on 4/Jan/14
Douglas was a bigger star than Mason, so he was made to look almost the same height in that film.
Arch Stanton says on 17/Dec/13
Was he wearing lifts in 20,000 leagues?? He only looks about an inch shorter than James Mason in it.
Arch Stanton says on 17/Dec/13
I'd honestly guess him at 5'9.5, he just didn't have the proportions of a 5'8" er. Brando on the other hand... Will try to see Seven Days in May soon and I'll let you know!!
Arch Stanton says on 17/Dec/13
Looks between 5'9 and 5'10 in 20,000 leagues too. LOL if Douglas was short what did he think of Peter Lorre?? Douglas looks about 8 inches taller in that film.
diavolo says on 18/Nov/13
Kirk Douglas was obsessed with height, his shoe-wearing habits were legendary. Watch Ace in the Hole, his enormous lifts are clearly visible, especially in the last scene. In Gunfight at OK Corrall, he has boots on with ca. 3-inch heels. And yes, the anecdote is true, as a practical joke Burt Lancaster stole his lifts during filming of Seven Days in May, which made him really angry. So, barefoot he was much shorter than what we see in the movies.
Yaspaa says on 27/Aug/13
No way 5'11, actors got billed taller ALL the time.
@rafe - He's not 5'5.
Arch Stanton says on 12/Aug/13
Seen some more of his earlier films recently and he honestly looked nearer 5'10" to me rather than 5'8". Brando could look 5'8" range a LOT but Kirk Douglas really didn't look under 5'9" to me and I could buy 177cm.
Tony says on 10/Aug/13
Mr Kaplan: I'm a well built 5ft 11 and boxed at super-middleweight (max weight 168), so i see no reason why Kirk couldn't have been 5ft 11, as described in his bio.
Sean says on 10/Aug/13
Kirk Douglas describes himself as being 5' 11 in his autobiography, THE RAGMAN'S SON. I see no reason for him to lie.
Knowitall says on 25/Jun/13
Check out the monster lifts on Kirk that he wore in the film In Harm's Way:

Click Here
Knowitall says on 3/May/13
Kirk was never more than five eight. He wore lifts in just about all his films. Huge lifts in Seven Days in May. His co-star Burt Lancaster used to poke fun at him for wearing lifts in that film.

Watch the film. Even with those lifts he's still shorter than five foot ten Fredric March. There's a shot where the two are standing face-to-face and it's clear Kirk is shorter by at least an inch. So it's quite possible his peak height was five seven.

In the documentary of the making of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, director Richard Fleischer mentions that Kirk was short which surprised him. On the other hand, James Mason was tall. Mason was five eleven.
leonari says on 1/May/13
Never has he seen 5'10 or 5'11. A good 5'9 for his generation was solid average and he looked it.
Arch Stanton says on 29/Apr/13
He could look 5 ft 10 that's true, but he always looked average range to me, never looked tall in his films. 5'9" ish is a good shout.
Reality says on 3/Dec/12
Rob, are you sure his peak height was 5'9? I thought he's a tall man because he looks so.

I personally think his claim of 5'11 was honest.
Mr. Kaplan says on 29/Nov/12
Kirk was a well-built guy in his youth, there no way he was only 167 lbs for 5'11". Weight might me accurate, not height.
Robby D says on 25/Oct/12
Rob. In Kirk Douglas autobiography, "The Ragman's Son" there is a photograph of his Broadway resume which states his age:27 height: 5'11" and weight: 167lbs. I doubt he was 5'11" so do you think this was his height in shoes or do you think he just added a couple of inches to make his resume more impressive?
RisingForce says on 22/Sep/12
Some interesting quotes about Kirk's height, including a 5'11" claim from himself (which he also claimed in a recent book) and a shoemaker claiming he made Kirk lifts in 1980.

" Everyone thinks actors are tall but I'm only 5-11,' he said once on a talk show. - 10/15/86 Dallas Morning News

"A custom shoemaker in Los Angeles once reported that among his lift customers were Kirk Douglas, Rod Steiger, Andy Williams and Burt Reynolds." Click Here

Not exactly news that Kirk wore lifts, but it's another source that has made that claim.

All heights are barefeet Estimates, derived from quotations by celebrities, official websites, agency resumes, actors I've met at conventions and pictures/films.

Vital statistics like weight, shoe or bra size measurements have been taken from quotes in newspapers, books and resumes.

Celebrity Fan Photos and Agency Pictures of stars are © to their respective owners.