Kirk Douglas and his wife, Anne, continue to give generously to the art form that the legendary screen actor calls his first love. To help develop and produce new work for the theatre, the Douglases have recently awarded a $1 million challenge grant to Center Theatre Group (CTG) to be combined with their earlier $1 million seed grant for new work, which results in a $2 million investment in the future of Los Angeles theatre.
According to Peter Douglas, president of The Douglas Foundation, “This challenge grant will be active for the next 10 years. For every $2 that CTG raises, the Foundation will add another $1. This has a potential of yielding up to $4 million to support new theatre.”
“Theatre was always my first love,” said Kirk Douglas. “In fact, when I came to Hollywoodto make my first picture, I thought it was just a temporary detour. I would earn enough money to tide my family over only until my first long-run hit on Broadway. That never happened, and I soon resigned myself (believe me, it wasn’t hard!) to being a movie star. My second-choice career gave my wife and me an opportunity to give a lot of money to the Center Theatre Group over the years, a joyous commitment of which we continue to be extremely proud.
“When Gordon Davidson told us about the opportunity to shape a defunct movie house in Culver Cityinto CTG’s first Westside outpost,” Douglascontinued, “Anne and I jumped on board. (After all, it was one way for this old thespian to get his name up in lights at last.) Michael Ritchie took over the reins from Gordon and shepherded the dream into a splendid small theatre which has enriched the environment of its host community as well as premiering extraordinary works, two of which made it to Broadway this season. Even an old-timer like me was able take to the boards with my autobiographical show, ‘Before I Forget.’
“Anne and I hope this additional gift will enable the Kirk Douglas Theatre to further its mandate of supporting new talent. We challenge others to join us in meeting that goal.”
The Douglases’ strong relationship with CTG began with Anne Douglas, who was a longtime member of CTG’s board of directors. Then, in 2004, the couple donated $2.5 million to help transform the Culver Theater into the live theatre venue, the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Michael Douglas also contributed a $1 million capital gift in honor of his father for the project.
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