Aster-Obit: Kirk Douglas
On February 5th, 2020, Academy Award nominee Kirk Douglas died at the age of 103. He was a film icon in the ‘50s and ‘60s, with starring roles in such notable films as “Champion” (1949), “Young Man with a Horn” (1950), “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1952), “Lust for Life” (1956) and “Spartacus” (1960). Nominated as Best Actor three times, Douglas never snagged that top accolade, but was given an honorary Oscar in 1996 for “50 years as a moral and creative force in the motion picture community.” Not merely an on-screen presence, Douglas also wrote and produced, and founded a Hollywood dynasty, including his son, actor/producer Michael.
Born 10:15 AM EST on 9 December 1916 in Amsterdam, New York (Rodden Rating AA), Kirk Douglas’ career path is easy to see, with asteroid Actor at 26 Cancer conjunct Saturn at 29 Cancer. These square a combination of Jupiter with asteroid Douglass at 25 and 28 Aries, personalizing the choice to pursue a film career. Jupiter/Douglass conferred a degree of fame and with Saturn created an expansive work product, with more than 90 films to his credit.
Douglas’ Sun at 17 Sagittarius conjoins asteroid Kirik (for Kirk) at 20 Sag, and is trined to both Jupiter/Douglass and asteroid Douglas at 11 Leo, with all three points at station. Not an official Grand Trine (the Douglass to Douglas angle is too wide to be considered in orb of the trine aspect), nevertheless the embedded quality of the stations conferred an ability to impact others personally and powerfully. Having asteroid referents for either name in aspect to the Sun is typical of PNA interaction in the birth chart, but having both is more rare, and two “Douglas” variants at station further encouraged an aura of Hollywood entrenchment for his surname. All of Kirk Douglas’ children entered show business, with Michael and Eric as actors, Joel and Peter as producers; grandsons Cameron and Dylan also act. Asteroid Douglas also conjoins natal Neptune at 4 Leo, ruler of film, another strong pull toward acting.
Asteroid Kirkland, another Kirk variant, appears at 24 Scorpio, exactly on the MC, guaranteeing Kirk Douglas a high public profile and widespread attention. All these PNA (Personal-Named Asteroid) placements are the more remarkable for the fact that “Kirk Douglas” is a stage name; the actor was born as Issur Danielovitch, the son of immigrant Russian Jews. That his chosen names reflect so well in his birth chart shows how attuned the cosmos was to his eventual identity.
Douglas’ screen debut came in 1946, opposite box office sensation Barbara Stanwyck in “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers”; just three years later he received his first Oscar nomination for “Champion,” playing boxer Midge Kelly. Asteroid Kelley conjoins the Sun and Kirik from 25 Sagittarius, while asteroid Champion is in trine from 9 Aries, allowing Douglas to reach deep within to portray the character authentically, to critical acclaim. Perhaps his most identifiable role for the general public was in 1960’s “Spartacus”, where he portrayed the leader of the rebel slave army who terrorized ancient Rome; asteroid Spartacus at 25 Virgo squares the Sun and Kirik, again providing an identifying role.
When Kirk Douglas received his honorary Oscar on 25 March 1996, asteroid Douglas at 3 Gemini conjoined asteroid Oskar at 5 Gemini, with asteroid Douglass in exact square from 5 Virgo, doubly cementing the actor in the public consciousness for the award. Asteroid Kirik at 19 Sagittarius conjoined the natal Sun, one degree shy of a return to its own natal degree, and was embedded at station, about to turn retrograde. PNA stations often elicit meaningful, even transformative life events, which can become very much a part of one’s identity. The potential for an Academy Award which is latent in an exact semisquare from natal Oskar at 2 Scorpio to the 17 Sagittarius Sun had finally been realized.
When Kirk Douglas passed away on 5 February 2020, asteroid Douglas at 26 Sagittarius conjoined the Galactic Center (granting universal notice and attention) and asteroid Osiris at 21 Sagittarius (named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead). Douglas is also squared asteroid Nemesis at 25 Virgo, noted for ruin or downfall, and widely squared asteroid Anubis (named for the Egyptian deity governing funerary rites) with Neptune, planetary ruler of film, both at 17 Pisces.
Asteroid Kirik was exactly conjoined Jupiter at 14 Capricorn, within orb of death-related asteroids Requiem (named for the funeral mass for the dead) and Rip (as the acronym “RIP”) at 20 and 21 Cap, with Pluto and Saturn, modern and ancient planetary lords of death, at 23 and 25 Cap. Jupiter/Kirik also opposed natal asteroid Atropos at 13 Cancer, named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death. Asteroid Douglass was exactly conjoined Uranus at 2 Taurus (a sudden death? the family has not released the details), with asteroid Kirkland in square from 5 Leo, broadly conjoined asteroid Lachesis, named for the Greek Fate who determines the span of life, at 13 Leo. These straddle the natal Neptune/Douglas pairing at 4 and 11 Leo, bringing together Kirk (Kirkland) Douglas (Douglas) the actor (Neptune) with his mortality (Lachesis).
Transit Damocles at 25 Aquarius, the doom hanging overhead, formed a T-Square of the natal opposition from asteroid Kirkland at 24 Scorpio to Anubis at 24 Taurus, while transit Actor with Mercury at 2 and 3 Pisces squared natal Rip/Lachesis at 29 Scorpio and 0 Sagittarius, bringing news (Mercury) of the actor’s (Actor) death (Rip/Lachesis). Transit Venus at 27 Pisces had recently conjoined natal Requiem at 23 Pisces, which was also squared by the transit Osiris/Douglas pairing.
Kirk Douglas was perhaps the last significant survivor of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and his passing during Oscar Week was no more than appropriate. Douglas projected a bold, explosive, sometimes impetuous, but deeply feeling style of masculinity which was a departure from the common portrayals of the day. My personal favorite of his roles is an atypical one, as Ann Sothern’s husband in Joe Mankiewicz’ “A Letter to Three Wives”, where he plays an earnest schoolteacher cynically underwhelmed and emasculated by his wife’s popular success as a radio soap opera writer. Check it out sometime; no sword play, high drama, torrid romance or lariats, but worth a view.
[Author’s Note: June 2020
Apparently Kirk Douglas has an asteroid named for him, #19578, Kirkdouglas. I came across the name by accident in June, but was unable to determine when this point was named, so I’m unsure if I missed this when I wrote the obit above, or if it was named subsequent to his death, in his honor. Regardless, in the birth chart, Kirkdouglas appears at 5 Scorpio, squared the 0 Aquarius Ascendant, semisquare the 17 Sagittarius Sun and sesquiquadrate the 18 Gemini Moon, also very broadly conjoined asteroid Actor at 26 Cancer.
When he died February 5, 2020, transit Kirkdouglas at 27 Gemini was in a T-Square with Osiris at 21 Sagittarius and Nemesis at 25 Virgo, also inconjunct Pluto and Saturn at 23 and 25 Capricorn, and trine Damocles at 25 Aquarius as well as asteroid Actor at 2 Pisces.]