Today, at 12:30pm on ITV 4, Gunfight at the OK Corral hits TV screens. The iconic cowboy movie stars Douglas and Lancaster, who were two of the biggest Hollywood actors around in the 1950s and 1960s. Douglas became a cinema legend with his portrayal of Spartacus, while Lancaster, wowed viewers in The Rainmaker and Run Silent, Run Deep.
Although the pair crossed paths often, they were not great friends at first. Eventually, things got too hard to handle for Douglas during one fan event.
The two incredible actors worked together numerous times, including in seven films and one play. So, Lancaster and Douglas knew one another very well, whether they wanted to or not.
Lancaster wasn’t afraid to use this against Douglas when the right moment came up, however. According to the actor’s biography – An American Life, by Kate Buford – the two stars were attending an event which had them standing in front of a group of fans.
Their leading-man bravados no doubt got the better of them as they started teasing one another – before Lancaster began getting really personal. (Via Guardian, Factinate)
Lancaster started picking on Douglas’ height.
The actor was around five foot seven inches tall – which dipped well under looming Lancaster’s six foot two inches. In particular, though, Lancaster began telling their fans how Douglas used “lifts” in his shoes to elevate his status higher than he really was.
This incessant teasing apparently hit a nerve for the American actor, who burst into tears in front of the onlookers.
Lancaster died of a heart attack on October 20, 1994, at 80-years-old. Shortly after the star’s death, Douglas said his death was the “passing of a giant”.
The actor was later interviewed in 2017 when he was asked about his friends from old Hollywood.
He confessed: “I miss Burt Lancaster. We fought a lot, and I miss him a lot.”
The two actors had a great time with one another on set. During the filming of Gunfight at the OK Corral, they forced filming to be stopped because of their uncontrollable laughter.
In his memoir, Douglas recalled: “We go out on the porch and Burt says to me: ‘Thanks, Doc’. I was supposed to say: ‘Forget it.’ When I came to ‘forget it’, the ridiculousness of the scene, our great bravery, our machismo, made us howl. We did the scene over and over. It just made us laugh harder.”