Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas – star of stage and screen, prolific author, and producer has passed away. He was 103.
Kirk Douglas – A Life Well Lived
Douglas, perhaps best known for his eponymous role in the Stanley Kubrick directed feature film Spartacus, was preceded in death by his son, Eric Anthony, and is survived by his wife of 65 years, Anne, and his three eldest children – Michael, Joel, and Peter.
In a statement released exclusively to People magazine, Michael said in part, “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.”
Born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916, Douglas was reared in Amsterdam, New York and harbored ambitions of becoming an actor on the Great White Way. The advent of World War II saw him enlisting in the United States Navy and serving as a communications officer aboard a submarine chaser classified as USS PC-1137.
After a medical discharge, Douglas’s career was jump-started with roles on radio programs – including so-called washboard weepers, or soap operas (a genre whose eventual decline disappointed the actor) – theatrical shows, and commercials.
An Incredible Career
His two biggest breaks occurred in 1943 – when he replaced Richard Widmark in the play Kiss and Tell – and 1946 when he landed a role in the Barbara Stanwyck-starring thriller The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.
Subsequent achievements included his 1949 Broadway debut in Katherine Cornell’s Three Sisters; his Academy Award nominations for Champion, The Bad and The Beautiful, and Lust for Life; his collaborations with Stanley Kubrick; and the formation of his own movie company Byrna Productions.
In 2008, after appearing in more than 60 films and countless television programs, Douglas effectively retired from acting. His last credit was the French faux-documentary Empire State Building Murders.
Outside of his performances, Douglas was also a well-respected author, having penned a number of autobiographical works – The Ragman’s Son, Climbing the Mountain: My Search for Meaning, and My Stroke of Luck – as well as works of fiction including Dance With the Devil, The Gift, and The Broken Mirror.
Entertainment Hub sends our sincerest condolences to Kirk Douglas’s family and friends during this difficult time.