Kirk Douglas Dies, Oscar Winning Legend Passes Away At 103
Kirk Douglas, beloved actor, producer, director and author, has died after health complications. He was 103.
“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” the actor legend's son Michael Douglas said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “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.”
The actor continued, “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,” Michael added. “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 was born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York – the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia.
He grew up as “Izzy Demsky” and legally changed his name to “Kirk Douglas” before entering the Navy during World War II. He was medically discharged in 1944 for war injuries sustained from the accidental dropping of a depth charge.
After the war, Kirk returned to New York City and found work in radio, theater and commercials. He also married Diana Dill on November 2, 1943. They had two sons, now famous actor Michael in 1944 and producer Joel in 1947, before they divorced in 1951.
Not long after, he met and fell in love with producer Anne Buydens in Paris. They married on May 29, 1954 and would go on to have two sons, Peter, a producer, and Eric, an actor who died on July 6, 2004, from an overdose of alcohol and drugs.
Ann lived to be a centenarian as well, and RadarOnline.com cameras caught the still-in-love couple getting some sun together during a date in 2018.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Kirk was a major box-office draw, appearing in more than 90 movies. He received three Academy Award nominations, an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
On January 28, 1996, Kirk suffered a severe stroke, which impaired his ability to speak. After months of therapy and recovery, his ability to speak eventually returned, although it was still limited.
In 2011, at the age of 94, Kirk made a surprise appearance at the Oscars!
He had the crowd rolling in laughter as he joked with host James Franco and flirted with co-host Anne Hathaway.
“She’s gorgeous!” he remarked about the young actress. “Where were you when I was making pictures?”
He is survived by his wife of 65 years Anne Buydens, and his three sons: Michael, Joel and Peter.