Hollywood Icon Kirk Douglas has died at age 103.
In a statement obtained by People, his son Michael Douglas said, “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.”
He continued, “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.”
Douglas was born in 1916 in Amsterdam, New York. His parents were Jewish immigrants who had recently arrived in the US. His father, Herschel, worked as a ragman, which is why Kirk named his 1988 autobiography, “The Ragman’s Son.”
The legendary actor was the only boy in his family, but he had six sisters. His website reads, “Kirk was the only boy among six sisters. To help ends meet in his desperately poor family, Kirk took on a variety of odd jobs while growing up. He began acting in plays in high school, where he excelled in both academics and sports. He worked his way through St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, where he was a prominent member of the wrestling team.”
Eventually, Kirk attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. He joined the Navy after World War II began.
Kirk married Diana Dill, who also attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, on November 2, 1943. Together, they had sons Michael and Joel. Unfortunately, their relationship ended in a divorce in 1951.
Michael Douglas has become a household name. The 75-year-old actor has received a number of accolades, including a Golden Globe Award, a Primetime Emmy, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the AFI Life Achievement Award.
At the beginning of his career, Kirk acted in Out of the Past, and A Letter to Three Wives. His next film was with Burt Lancaster, and was called I Walk Alone.
He nabbed his first Academy Award nomination in 1949 for the role of a boxer in Champion, directed by Mark Robson.
When he worked on Act of Love in 1953, he met the film’s publicist, who was Anne Buydens. The two married one year later and gave birth to two sons: Peter, and Eric.
One of his favorite roles came in 1962, in the film Lonely Are the Grave.
Beginning in the late ’80s, Kirk started to shift his focus to becoming an author. He wrote Dance with the Devil in 1990 and Last Tango in Brooklyn in 1994.
Over the course of his career, he has received a number of prestigious awards. In 1996, he won an Honorary Academy Award for “50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community.”
In his statement, Michael Douglas wrote, “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.”