Kirk Douglas, one of the most famous actors of all time and father to actor Michael Douglas, has died. He was 103.
Douglas’ son, Michael, confirmed the news in an statement obtained by multiple outlets, like PEOPLE Wednesday evening.
Actor Michael Douglas poses with his father Kirk Douglas and son Cameron Douglas during the unveiling of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 6, 2018 (photo credit: MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)
“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. “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 multi-decade film career began in 1946. He is best known for his roles in films like Tough Guys, Spartacus, and Saturn 3. He had 92 acting credits, including 75 movies.
Kirk survived a helicopter crash in 1991 that killed two other passengers. Additionally, in 1996, the actor recovered from a stroke.
Zeta-Jones posted a photo that shows her celebrated father-in-law sitting on her knee. “This guy on my knee, is 103!!!!!Happy Birthday Pappy!!! I love you with all my heart,” she wrote.
Michael Douglas appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show last month and said that his father had requested not to have a big party. “He’s begging me, he’s got tears down his eyes. ‘Let’s just have dinner, the family together. Bring the kids.'”
Born Issur Danielovitch (also known as Izzy Demsky) to Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Douglas became a star during Hollywood’s golden age, appearing in nearly 100 movies. He was nominated for three Oscars: for his roles as a boxer in Champion, as a producer in The Bad and the Beautiful and as Vincent Van Gogh in Lust for Life. He received an honorary Oscar in 1996, to celebrate his “50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community.”
Always open about and proud of his Jewish heritage, he played Colonel David “Mickey” Marcus in Cast a Giant Shadow. Marcus was a US army veteran who came to fight for Israel in the War of Independence and was killed in Abu Ghosh in 1948. In his memoir, Climbing the Mountain: My Search for Meaning, Douglas wrote about how he rediscovered Jewish spirituality late in life, following a visit to Jerusalem that moved him. When he returned home he began studying Torah with a rabbi. Although he worried that the Bible would be “gibberish… I found riveting stories filled with adventure, fratricide, murder, incest, adultery. Now I understood why it was the best-seller of all time.”
He is survived by his wife Anne, and his kids Michael, Joel and Peter, and seven grandchildren.