BEVERLY HILLS—On Wednesday, February 5, actor, writer, director and producer, Kirk Douglas, the father of Oscar-winning actor and producer Michael Douglas died at his Beverly Hills home at the age of 103 of natural causes. Douglas’ family announced his passing via social media on February 5.
“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. 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,” said Michael Douglas in a statement from the family.
Kirk was born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York. He made his film debut in 1946’s “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.” He starred in over 90 movies during his career and was nominated three times for a Best Actor Academy Award for his performances in “Champion,” “The Bad and the Beautiful” and “Lust for Life.” He received an Honorary Academy Award in 1996. He won a Golden Globe in 1957 for Best Actor for “Lust for Life.”
Before starting his acting career, Douglas served in the United States Navy in 1941, and later served in World War II as a communications officer. One of Douglas’ biggest films was 1960’s “Spartacus” which was nominated for six Academy Awards winning a total four including Supporting Actor for Peter Ushinov. Douglas was responsible for giving screenwriting credit to Dalton Trumbo who had been blacklisted in Hollywood at the time.
Douglas married his first wife Diana Dill in 1943, with whom he shared two sons, Michael and Joel Douglas. They divorced in 1951, where he later met producer Anne Buydens who he married in 1954. They had two sons, Peter and Eric Douglas. Eric died from a drug and alcohol overdose in 2004. Kirk was known for his philanthropic work which included donations to St. Lawrence University, the Los Angeles Unified School District and Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles to name a few.
He survived a helicopter crash in 1991 that left two people dead, and suffered a stroke in 1996 that impacted his ability to speak. Kirk has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Jimmy Carter in 1981. He also received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Golden Globes in 1968 and the Screen Actors Guild in 1999.
He celebrated his 100th birthday at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2016 amongst of Hollywood elite and family. Other notable films that Douglas starred in included “Ace in the Hole,” “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “Paths of Glory.” He is survived by his wife Anne, and children, Michael, Joel and Peter.
Written By Brenda De La Cruz and Casey Jacobs