Legendary actor Kirk Douglas, known for his roles in movies Champion and Spartacus, has died, according to his son, actor Michael Douglas. He was 103.
In an Instagram post, Michael Douglas wrote, “It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103.” He continued, “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.”
A handsome and charismatic man, he was one of Hollywood’s leading actors in a career that spanned five decades, appearing in more than 90 films. He was nominated for an Academy Award three times – one of which, his first nomination, was for Best Actor for his leading role in Champion.
Douglas was born in 1916 in New York – his parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. He was married twice and had four sons; his eldest, Michael, became an actor as well. He is survived by his wife, Anne Buydens.
Many of his movies, such as Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory,” “The Vikings,” “Spartacus,” “Lonely Are the Brave” and “Seven Days in May,” were produced by his companies.
In the 1960s, in addition to his extensive acting reel, Douglas began to become known for his humanitarian work, serving as a goodwill ambassador for the U.S. State Department, according to the actor’s website. He and his wife Anne also established The Douglas Foundation, a philanthropic organization committed to helping those who might not otherwise be able to help themselves.”
At the 1996 Academy Awards, Douglas received the Lifetime Achievement Award, just two months after a stroke, which severely impaired his ability to speak. Most expected him to just say “thank you,” but his short acceptance speech made the crowd roar: “I see my four sons, they are proud of the old man…”
“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,” wrote Michael Douglas on his Instagram post.
Joseph Olmo is a bilingual multimedia freelance journalist in the Washington D.C. Metro area. He is a digital storyteller and content writer for DCW50.