>Born Issur Danielovitch and Robert Zimmerman, they went on to be prolific, larger-than-hype performers as Kirk Douglas and Bob Dylan. Each is honored this week.
A Salute to Kirk Douglas on CBS (Thurs., May 23, 10 P.M. ET) presents the celebrity-crammed March ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hilton, where the actor received the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. As host, Douglas's oldest son, Michael, recalls Kirk once confessing, "I guess I really learned how to act in a wrestling ring."
That college training is clear in the clips from some of his 79 films, including Lust for Life, The Bad and the Beautiful and the recently reissued Spartacus. You see an actor of ferocious intensity, with a flair for the grand gesture, an actor who always leads with his dimpled chin.
Cinemax marks Dylan's 50th birthday on Friday (May 24, 8 P.M. ET) with a showing of Don't Look Back. D.A. Pennebaker's film follows Dylan on his 1965 tour of England. At the time of its release, this documentary was more revelatory—Dylan is shown to have a firm grasp of his ranking on the pop charts—than Madonna
's Truth or Dare overexposure is now.
The sound from the performances, though, is generally poor. The best music comes in a hotel-room battle of the songwriters between Dylan and Donovan, whom the British press was hailing as "the next Dylan." Dylan, his competitive juices up, tears off a smug but electrifying version of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue."
More often, you see Dylan granting cryptic press interviews and then chortling over the distorted articles that follow. "I'm glad I'm not me," he comments after reading one story.