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Movies & TV

06th Feb 2020

Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas dies aged 103

Paul Moore

Kirk Douglas

His son Michael confirmed the news.

Kirk Douglas, one of the last superstars of Hollywood’s golden age of cinema, has died at the age of 103.

“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.

“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,” son Michael Douglas wrote on his Instagram account.

The actor, producer and director came to prominence in the late 1940s and was a consistent presence on screen, starring in over 80 films over a six-decade career.

During his career, he was nominated three times for best actor by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – Champion (1949), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and Lust for Life (1956). Douglas was the recipient of an honorary Oscar in 1996, several months after he suffered a severe stroke.

Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch to Jewish-Russian immigrants in New York in 1916, began his career as a stage actor before serving in the US Navy during WWII.

He graduated to movies in 1946 and became a star for his portrayal of a double-crossing and womanising boxer in 1949’s Champion. However, it’s arguable that his performance in Spartacus is the role that he’s best known for.

“Kirk retained his movie star charisma right to the end of his wonderful life, and I’m honoured 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,” said Steven Spielberg in a statement.

Douglas is survived by his wife, three sons, grandchildren and great-grandchild.