US silver screen legend Kirk Douglas, the son of Jewish Russian immigrants who rose through the ranks to become one of Hollywood’s biggest-ever stars, has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 103.
One of the last survivors of the golden age of cinema and the father of Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker Michael Douglas, the “Spartacus” actor was renowned for the macho tough guy roles he took on in around 90 movies over a six-decade career. “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 to Facebook. “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.” Douglas was Oscar-nominated for his roles as a double-crossing and womanizing boxer in “Champion” (1949), a ruthless movie producer in “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1952) and tortured artist Vincent Van Gogh in “Lust for Life” (1956). But his only Academy Award came in 1995 — an honorary lifetime achievement statuette “for 50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community.” Douglas is survived by second wife Anne Buydens, 100, and three sons. A fourth child, Eric, died of a drug overdose in his 40s, in 2004.