Celebrities around the world responded with an outpouring of grief on Thursday at the death of Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas, star of the film ‘Spartacus.’ His son Michael Douglas announced his death at the age of 103 on Facebook and Instagram the previous day.
‘It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today,’ he wrote in a post on Instagram.
‘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.’
‘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.’
Douglas was the son of Jewish Russian immigrants, born Issur Danielovitch - later changed to Demsky - and grew up in New York state. The son of a ragman, he grew up in poverty and was able to study dramatics thanks to loans and scholarships.
He starred in more than 80 films over the course of a decades-long career, including in ‘Champion,’ which first won him widespread fame. Later hits included the large-scale production ‘Spartacus’ directed by Stanley Kubrick, ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral,’ ‘Paths of Glory,’ ‘Lonely Are the Brave,’ ‘The Vikings’ and ‘Lust for Life.’ He won numerous awards, including an Academy Award in 1995 for his lifetime achievements and a National Medal of the Arts in 2002.
Douglas is also remembered for his work as a producer and tributes also noted he helped break the 1950s anti-communist blacklist by insisting a writer, Dalton Trumbo, should be credited for his screenplay under his real name.
Tributes poured in to the man they called a Hollywood legend.
The Walt Disney Family Museum wrote on Twitter, ‘We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Kirk Douglas. His performance of Ned Land in '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' (1954) anchored the first all live-action feature film at The Walt Disney Studios. Our condolences are with his family and all who cherished his work.’ ‘Kirk Douglas. The inspirational Scalawag. 103 years on this earth. That's got a nice ring to it! Great hanging with you man,’ wrote Danny DeVito on Twitter.George Takei, known for his roles in ‘Star Trek,’ tweeted: ‘Douglas was a champion for many just causes and lived a long and storied life. He was adored and beloved, and he shall be missed.’ Catherine Zeta Jones, his daughter-in-law, wrote on Instagram, ‘To my darling Kirk, I shall love you for the rest of my life. I miss you already. Sleep tight.’ The tweet by the Academy quoted Douglas himself. ‘'I wanted to be an actor ever since I was a kid in the second grade. I did a play, and my mother made a black apron, and I played a shoemaker. After the performance, [my father] gave me my first Oscar: an ice cream cone.' -Kirk Douglas.’ Douglas is survived by his three sons and his wife, Anne. A fourth son died in 2004.
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