Kirk Douglas, one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood’s golden age, died today. Kirk’s son Michael Douglas confirmed the news. Kirk was 103 years old. Somewhere in the Dolby Theater, the Oscar producers are scrambling to put together a Kirk Douglas montage while they text Brad Pitt, Joaquin Phoenix, Laura Dern, and Renee Zellweger with, “Keep it short, bitches!”
Kirk survived a helicopter crash in 1991, and suffered a stroke in 1996, but mostly recovered. Michael gave a statement to People:
“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.
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.
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.”
Kirk Douglas grew up in Amsterdam, New York and was the son of Jewish immigrants from what is now known as Belarus. Kirk worked dozens of jobs before realizing that his true calling was acting. Kirk did some plays in high school and later got a scholarship to American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC where Lauren Bacall was one of his classmates. Kirk’s acting career really didn’t go anywhere at first, because he joined the Navy, and was later medically discharged. When he got back to NYC, he did radio, commercials, and theater, and wanted to stay a stage actor until Lauren convinced him to do movies and he made his movie debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers in 1946.
From then until the 2000s, he starred in around 75 movies including The Glass Menagerie, Champion, The Bad and the Beautiful, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Spartacus, Lust for Life, The Villain, Saturn 3, In Harm’s Way, and (insert anything I missed, and I’m sure I missed a lot). He was nominated for three Oscars (for Champion, The Bad and the Beautiful, and Lust for Life) and was given an honorary Oscar in 1996.
Kirk helped break the Hollywood blacklist by acknowledge that Dalton Trumbo, who was on the blacklist, wrote the screenplay for Spartacus. He was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 by Jimmy Carter, and wrote ten novels and memoirs.
Kirk had two sons with his first wife Diana Douglas: Michael and Joel. And he also had two sons with his second wife Ann Buydens: Peter and Eric. Eric died in 2004. Kirk and Ann were married for almost 66 years (which is 98,984,999 in Hollywood years) until his death today.
Natalie Wood is also trending on Twitter, and if you’re wondering why, it’s not for anything good. Kirk was accused of raping Natalie Wood when she was 16 years old. Natalie’s sister Lana Wood claimed that she was assaulted by a big Hollywood figure at the Chateau Marmont. Lana didn’t name names. And on Crazy Days and Nights, a commenter, many thought was Robert Downey Jr., also claimed to know that Kirk Douglas raped Natalie Wood. RDJ eventually denied he was that commenter. Kirk Douglas has never commented on the accusation, as far as I know. So I’m sure a lot of people are hitting up Lana Wood’s phone today with the 👀 emoji.