Kirk Douglas, one of the last great actors of Hollywood’s golden era, sadly passed away yesterday at age 103.
His son, actor Michael Douglas, shared a statement with People Magazine on behalf of his family:
It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103.
To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.
But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine, a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband.
Kirk’s life was well lived, and he leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist who worked to aid the public and bring peace to the planet,” Michael added.
Let me end with the words I told him on his last birthday and which will always remain true. Dad- I love you so much and I am so proud to be your son.
Kirk Douglas Onscreen
Douglas began his film career in the 1946 film The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. He was well known for starring in western and war films.
He was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Actor, one for the role of Vincent van Gogh in the 1956 film Lust for Life. Kirk Douglas finally received an Honorary Oscar in 1996 for “50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community”.
In 1960, he starred in arguably his best-known role, in the film Spartacus, in the title role. The film was a hit at the box office and became the highest grossing film in the US for the year.
Douglas’s production company, Bryna Productions, produced Spartacus and legendary director Stanley Kubrick helmed the film. Douglas also broke the Hollywood Blacklist by hiring Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten, to write the film an official on-screen credit.
Douglas’s final acting role was in the 2008 television movie, Empire State Building Murders. By the end of his career, he had appeared in more than 90 films.
KIRK DOUGLAS’ PERSONAL LIFE AND OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS
Douglas was born in 1916 to Jewish immigrants from present day Belarus and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as a communications officer in anti-submarine warfare. He married his first wife, actress Diana Dill, and had two kids, Michael Douglas and producer Joel Douglas.
After Douglas and Dill divorced, he met his second wife, producer Anne Buydens, while filming Lust for Life in Paris. They had two sons, producer Peter Douglas and actor Eric Douglas, who passed away in 2004. In 2019, Douglas and Dill celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
Kirk Douglas will always be remembered as one of the greatest actors of the 20th century.
How will you remember Kirk Douglas, and what was your favourite movie he starred in? Share your memories of him with The Illuminerdi in the comments below.