4,414 friends and counting: how Kirk became a slave to his blog

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The Independent US

Kirk Douglas, the square-jawed hero famed for saving the world, getting the girl and in moments of toga-clad inspiration declaring "I am Spartacus!" has a new string to his bow – as MySpace's oldest celebrity blogger.

The 92-year-old actor, who retired from the screen five years ago, is cutting a fresh swath through Hollywood with a page on the social networking website that reflects on his "years of living, loving and learning" and records the genteel details of his life.

The site features his thoughts on US politics (he's a fan of Barack Obama), notes that his favourite films are Champion, Spartacus, Paths to Glory and Lonely are the Brave ("I just happen to be in these movies"), and reveals that his greatest remaining ambition in life is to meet Angelina Jolie, "provided my wife lets me".

Douglas boasts 4,414 "friends" on his page, from Biscuit to SnakeMannn, and says that, in common with the rest of the internet, he believes that his blog's key purpose is to stimulate discussion with the thousands of readers who subscribe to it.

"I express my opinion, and I tell them that they don't have to agree with me because it's a free country," he said this week.

"And their answers are very, very interesting. I take it seriously. Otherwise I wouldn't do it. I don't have to do it, I don't make money. It's something that gives me personal satisfaction."

Douglas, who became famous in the 1950s, has an almost royal status in Hollywood. He is the father of the actor Michael and father-in-law to Catherine Zeta-Jones. He dedicates the site to his seven grandchildren.

He began blogging last year, as part of a temporary initiative to promote his memoir Let's Face It, but decided to continue after seeing the level of interest his comments sparked.

In one entry, he writes that he now receives too many messages to answer them personally, his goal at the start. "But I want you to know that I appreciate each comment that I receive – positive or negative. And I enjoy the opportunity to talk to so many people much younger than I am."

Douglas's recent entries include a musing on the meaning of Thanksgiving, together with an item, written shortly before his 92nd birthday, about teaching his housekeeper's seven-year-old daughter, Victoria, to swim.

The child now insists that they take part in daily swimming races. "She always gives me a head start, and she always beats me," he writes.

"Don't tell her what I said, but sometimes I feel too tired to race her in the pool. She doesn't know that I'm 92 years old. Or if she does, she doesn't care. So be careful what you teach young kids. You may regret it later." MySpace celebrated the status of its oldest celebrity blogger this week. "All the comments that he gets on his page are so supportive," the MySpace director of talent relations, Angie Allgood, said. "People really find him inspirational."

Douglas's work: Entries from his blog

* "I'm really an actor, but I like writing books because I can play all the parts, men, women, boys, and girls; and no director to criticise me. I work on a scene in my mind, I say 'Kirk, that's terrific!' I write it down."

* "Every Thanksgiving Day I think of the special Thanksgiving Day in 1982. I was in Pakistan... with refugees from Afghanistan on the border of the Khyber Pass. We sat on the ground with elders of an Afghan tribe. Gunfire could be heard across the border in Afghanistan. We were eating with our fingers out of a common bowl. Through the interpreter, I told them, 'In my country, today is Thanksgiving Day, one day every year we set aside to give thanks for all that we have in life.' The leader of the elders, a man with a long white beard, nodded his head. Through the interpreter, he said, 'In my country, we give thanks every day.' "

* "The paperback edition of my new book Let's Face It arrived today. It looks good. I think I will read it."

* "I must admit, I'm very happy that our country has made such a historical move. The world will be astounded that the United States has elected a black man to lead them. I never imagined that such an event would be possible during my lifetime. I think our country will now go on a course that permits us to work with other countries."

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