Thursday, February 20, 2020


Kirk Douglas leaves behind legacy of golden years
IFP Bureau | First Published: February 8, 2020 13:36:29 pm

Actor Kirk Douglas, a global icon in world cinema from the golden era, lived to a great age of 103 and left behind a rich legacy of not only classic cinema in Hollywood but also service to bring peace to the planet earth.

Actor Michael Douglas announced the sad news of the passing away of his father on Wednesday in a long post on social media.

“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,” Michael wrote along with photos of Kirk Douglas through the golden years that he posted.

Kirk Douglas appeared in more than 90 films during his film career and made his mark as cinema icon with films such as The Bad and the Beautiful, Champion, Lust for Life and Spartacus among others. But he was also much loved by his fans the world over for the humanitarian service he gave to the people struggling for justice and peace.

“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… 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,” Michael wrote.

Actor Catherine Zeta-Jones also shared a photo with Kirk Douglas and captioned: “To my darling Kirk, I shall love you for the rest of my life. I miss you already. Sleep tight…”

Kirk Douglas was born on December 9, 1996 in Amsterdam as Issur Danielovitch Demsky. He changed his name to Kirk Douglas legally before enlisting in the US Navy during the Second World War. Until 1944, he served as a communications officer on anti-submarine patrol in the Pacific. He was honoured as a Lieutenant when he was discharged from his service in the Navy.

The only son of the seven children born to his Jewish parents, he worked his way to support his family. After graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1941, he made his Broadway debut in Spring Again, starring Grace George and C Aubrey Smith.

After appearing in strings of broadway post war such as Kiss and Tell, Trio and Star in the Window and The Wind Is Ninety, Kirk made his Hollywood debut in 1946 with the film The Strange Love of Martha Ivers with Barbara Stanwyck. He gained popularity after landing himself in lead roles in several films.

Post war, apart from his lifetime in acting, he also dabbled with productions and writing. He launched Bryna Productions in 1995 and had authored 11 books. He wrote his first book in 1988 – an autobiography –The Ragman’s Son. He wrote through his old age. His last book was published in 2017 – Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood.

Having lived life to the fullest, Kirk was honoured with several awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Cecil B DeMille Award at the 1968 Golden Globes. He also received the Honorary Award for 50 years as a creative and moral force in the film community in 1996. Oscar nominated him three times for the best actor award.

In 1996, Kirk Douglas suffered a stroke. Undeterred by it, he continued to work and starred in Illusion (2004) as an ailing film director. In 2009, In 2009, he acted in a show Before I Forget, at the Center Theater Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

Kirk Douglas is survived by four sons – Michael and Joel from his first marriage with actor Diane Dill, and Peter and Eric from wife Anne Buydens.

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