‘Incredible icon’ Kirk Douglas dies at 103
The actor was the star of the movie industry’s golden age
The actor and Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas has died aged 103.
His son Michael said in a statement: “It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today. To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies... but to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad.”
Michael's wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, posted a photo of her and her father-in-law, writing on Instagram: “I shall love you for the rest of my life. I miss you already.”
Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky to Russian-Jewish immigrants, Douglas said that he tried as many as 40 jobs before finding fame as an actor. He rose to prominence during Hollywood's “golden age”, earning his first of three Oscar nominations for the 1949 boxing story Champion.
Hit films, including Spartacus and The Vikings, made him one of the biggest box office stars in the 1950s and 1960s. The BBC says Douglas “prided himself on playing the tough guys, the sort of characters he once described as ‘sons of bitches’”.
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The actor William Shatner called Douglas “an incredible icon” of the film industry, while director Steven Spielberg said: “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.”
Star Trek actor George Takei wrote on Twitter: “Douglas was a champion for many just causes and lived a long and storied life. He was adored and beloved, and he shall be missed.”
CNN said: “The actor was a larger-than-life character, a titan of the entertainment industry, and - by virtue of his longevity - one of the last surviving links to a particular era of Hollywood's past.”
He is survived by his wife, Anne Buydens, and his three sons: Michael, Joel, and Peter. A fourth son, Eric, died in 2004.