Kirk Douglas, a Hollywood legend known for his iconic roles in films like Spartacus and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, passed away on February 5, 2020, at the age of 103.
His son, fellow actor Michael Douglas, broke the news on his Instagram account. “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.”
You can read the whole statement in the post below:
Born IIssur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916, Douglas grew up in Amsterdam, New York, as one of seven children born to Russian immigrant parents. The family often struggled to make ends meet and his father was forced to earn a living as a ragman, someone who collects rags and other discarded items from homes to try re-selling them. As Douglas described in his 1988 autobiography The Ragman’s Son ($25.92, Amazon), even in parts of the town where most people were poor, “the ragman was on the lowest rung on the ladder. And I was the ragman’s son,” he wrote.
Of course, he rose from those humble beginnings to become one of the most beloved members of Hollywood’s Golden Age — and was one of the last surviving actors from that era. Douglas received three Academy Award nominations for his work in Champions (1949), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), and Lust for Life (1956). He was given an honorary Oscar in 1996 for 50 years as a “creative and moral force” in the motion picture community.
Douglas survived a stroke in 1996 and wrote about it in his aptly titled memoir, My Stroke of Luck ($11.39, Amazon). “I was only 80; how can a stroke happen to me? Does that mean there will be no golf tomorrow?” The book speaks to both his longevity and ability to embrace a sense of humor even in the face of troubling health problems. Although the stroke left his speech impaired, he went on to star in three films and made a few guest TV appearances. As he said in his memoir, “You can’t stop an actor.”
Douglas truly proved to be unstoppable throughout his long and impressive life and career. We know his legacy will remain in our hearts even longer.
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