Oscar-winning actor-producer Michael Douglas on Wednesday paid tribute to his father, the legendary star Kirk Douglas, on the elder’s passing at age 103.
“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” Michael Douglas said in a statement posted 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 then Michael Douglas noted that his father — a three-time Oscar nominee renowned for his starring role in 1960’s “Spartacus” and his behind-the-scenes efforts to use that Roman epic to end the Hollywood Blacklist — took a more personal turn.
“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 Douglas continued. “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.”
In addition to his work in the golden age of Hollywood, Kirk Douglas was also celebrated for his philanthropy.
Though he never won a competitive Oscar, Kirk Douglas accepted an honorary Academy Award in 1996. He also received lifetime achievement awards from the AFI, the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild, the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts from George W. Bush in 2002 and has an achievement award named for him at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. As a testament to his longevity and renown decades after he stopped working, Douglas sits at No. 17 on AFI’s list of the greatest male screen legends.
He is survived by his three sons, Michael, Joel and Peter, and his wife of 64 years, producer Anne Buydens. His fourth son Eric died in 2004.