Kirk Douglas, one of the most iconic actors of the Golden Era of Hollywood, passed away last week at the age of 103. He left behind a loving family and an incredible legacy that paved the way for many famous actors working today.
RIP Kirk Douglas, Dead At 103
After 103 fruitful years, many spent as the most famous face in Hollywood, actor Kirk Douglas passed away. He leaves behind his wife, Anne Buydens, his sons, Michael, Joel, Peter and Eric, many grandchildren, and a large extended family. One of his sons, actor Michael Douglas, announced his father’s death in an Instagram post. “It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” he wrote. “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.”
As the star of nearly 100 films, Douglas became a legendary actor during the Golden Age of Hollywood (1920s-1960s). He started in many critically-claimed and loved movies, earning Best Actor nominations for three of them: Champion (1949), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), and Lust for Life (1956). Then, in 1996, the actor received an honorary Oscar.
A Star Who Took His Fate Into His Own Hands
While working, Kirk Douglas became known for picking projects carefully. For instance, he thought carefully about one of his most famous roles, Spartacus (1960). In the film, he portrays a slave, something considered risque and even forbidden in the age of McCarthyism. Still, Spartacus became one of Universal’s biggest hits, thanks to Douglas.”
The actor also had good reasons for taking a role in Champion, another controversial pick. “When I was new in pictures, I defied my agents to make Champion rather than appear in an important MGM movie they had planned for me,” he once said. “Nobody had ever heard of the people connected to Champion, but I liked the Ring Lardner story, and that’s the movie I wanted to do. Everyone thought I was crazy, of course, but I think I made the right decision.”
Douglas made history once again by becoming the first actor to found his own production company, Bryna Productions. Doing so allowed the actor to remain in charge of his own fate, stay independent, and have the freedom to pick his roles and movies. Meanwhile, though he had no idea at the time, Douglas was paving the way for future actors to do the same.
Hollywood Paying Tribute To Douglas
After his passing, many mourned the loss of the iconic Kirk Douglas. Steven Spielberg wrote, “Kirk retained his movie star charisma right to the end of his wonderful life, and I’m honored to have been a small part of his last 45 years. I will miss his handwritten notes, letters, and fatherly advice, and his wisdom and courage – even beyond such a breathtaking body of work – are enough to inspire me for the rest of mine.”
Meanwhile, fellow actor Danny Devito put it simply and lovingly: “Kirk Douglas. The inspirational Scalawag. 103 years on this earth. That’s got a nice ring to it! Great hanging with you, man.” Before the 2020 Oscars, the Academy shared a photo and quote from the actor: “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.” They finished the tweet with the poignant words, “goodbye to a Hollywood legend.”
Rest in peace, Kirk Douglas.