Movies & TV / News

Film Icon Kirk Douglas Passes Away at 103

February 5, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Kirk Douglas

The film world has lost one of its biggest icons, as the legendary Kirk Douglas has passed away. Michael Douglas posted to his Instagram account to announce that his father, who starred in such films as Spartacus, Paths of Glory, and The Bad and the Beautiful, passed on Wednesday. He was 103 years old.

Kirk Douglas was one of the final surviving stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, with a lengthy film career that spanned from 1946’s The Strange Love of Martha Ivers to 2008’s Empire State Building Murders. In between that time he established himself as one of the leading legends of the silver screen, with three Academy Award nominations for Best Actor (Champion, The Bad and the Beautiful, Lust for Life, an honorary Oscar in 1996 and a litany of other awards.

Douglas first found stardom in that first Oscar-nominated role, 1949’s Champion. That film set the stage for how the actor would be known on the screen, while off-screen he would be famous as a man who bucked the system. He broke his contract with Warner Bros. to establish his own production company, Bryna Productions, in 1955. He would become a major star in the 1950s and 1960s with roles in films like the aforemention Bad and the Beautiful, Lust For Life, Detective Story, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and the anti-war film Paths of Glory.

His most famous role was 1960’s Spartacus, another film that showed his willingness to stand up to the institutions of power to do what he felt was right. Douglas publicly announced that Spartacus was written by Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted at the time due to Joe McCarthy’s House of Un-American Activities Commission (HUAC) hearings. The move was incredibly controversial but helped to break the Hollywood blacklist. Douglas would go on to produce and star in the classics Lonely Are the Brave in 1962 and Seven Days in May in 1964.

Not one to go quietly as he grew older, Douglas remained prolific in his later years with almost forty credits to his name from 1970 to 2008. He also became known as a philanthropist, donating to many charitable causes. He was a published author with ten novels and memoirs to his name, and earned both the Presidental Medal of Freedom and American Award, among other honors, for his humanitarian efforts.

Douglas is survived by his sons Michael (a legendary actor in his own right) Joel, and Peter, as well as his second wife Anne Buydens.

On behalf of 411, our condolences to the family, friends and many, many fans of Mr. Douglas. The film world would not even be close to the same without him.

View this post on Instagram

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. 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. #KirkDouglas

A post shared by Michael Douglas (@michaelkirkdouglas) on

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Kirk Douglas, Jeremy Thomas