Kirk Douglas to pay tribute to his late friend Burt Lancaster

Kirk Douglas will be paying tribute to his old friend and frequent co-star Burt Lancaster at the UCLA Film & Television Archive's June 7 screening of their classic 1957 western, "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood.

"Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" is part of the archive's "Burt Lancaster: A Centennial Celebration" films series.


Directed by John Sturges, the western was the second on-screen pairing of the two tough guys. Lancaster plays Wyatt Earp and Douglas is his friend, Doc Holiday, the alcoholic dentist, gunfighter and gambler who had tuberculosis. Rhonda Fleming, Oscar-winner Jo Van Fleet and young Dennis Hopper also star in the film.

Lancaster, who died in 1994 at the age of 80, and Douglas, 96, made seven films together over a four-decade period. Besides "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," they starred in 1948's "I Walk Alone," 1959's "The Devil's Disciple," 1963's "The List of Adrian Messenger," 1964's "Seven Days in May," 1976's "Victory at Entebbe" and 1986's "Tough Guys."

The two were also the toast of the 30th Academy Award on March 26, 1958, performing the comedic tune "It's Great Not to Be Nominated," penned by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen. The duo were such a hit, they performed it on the ceremony the following year.

In 1981, they also appeared as the senior citizen versions of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in Bernard Sabath's play "Boys in Autumn" at the Marines Memorial Theatre in San Francisco.

At a press conference during the run of the play, Lancaster recalled a preview audience cheering for five minutes when they made their entrance.

"The thing of it is," said Lancaster, "and we're perfectly aware of it -- they're cheering for Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster, not really for Tom and Huck."