In The Wings and Beyond
Much has been written about my father, Kirk Douglas, over the course of his fifty-year career, including his own best-selling autobiography, but I knew little about my mother's past. Hearing about her early life and the history of the Dill family, I discovered that Mom had a great story to tell. Her recollections were not the usual scandalous celebrity "kiss-and-tell" adventures one has become accustomed to from Hollywood. The stories of her family, Bermudian childhood, and years in the theatre and the movie business were fascinating; peopled with great characters. They were packed with love, humor, and tragedy. Here is her story.
About the author
Writer/actress Diana Douglas was born Diana Dill on Jan. 22, 1923, in Bermuda. Her very proper British father, who was the island's attorney general, woke the family at 5:30 a.m. with a bugle. From an early age, Diana was rebellious. "I broke all the rules," she said in a 1999 New York Post interview. "If a sign said, 'Walk, don't run,' I definitely ran."
She was sent to boarding school in England and graduated from the Upper Chine School for Girls on the Isle of Wight. Though her father wanted her to become a lawyer, she enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. It was there she met Kirk Douglas at 16. Before graduating, she signed a contract with Warner Brothers and moved to Los Angeles. In her six-decade-long stage, TV and film career, she was best known for her work in television, stretching back to the late 1940s, when she appeared in live dramas. She went on to roles in episodes of hit series such as "Naked City," "The Waltons," "Ben Casey," "The Streets of San Francisco" (with son Michael) and "The Paper Chase," on which she had a recurring part as a law professor.
In her memoir, In The Wings and Beyond, she tells of life experiences that were, as her son Michael wrote in the preface, “…not the usual scandalous celebrity “kiss-and-tell” adventures one has become accustomed to from Hollywood. The stories of her family, Bermuda childhood, and years in the theatre and the movie business were fascinating; peopled with great characters. They were packed with love, humor, and tragedy.”