Every American moviegoer knew Kirk Douglas. He died February 5, 2020 at the age of 103 after a long and full life.
Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch Demsky, was the epitome of the American dream that anyone, with hard work and good luck, can succeed. The son of impoverished immigrants, he became a world-famous award-winning star, and later an author and blogger.
He was born December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York, and died February 5, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. In between he was married twice and had four sons. He served in the U. S. Navy during WWII and appeared in almost a hundred movies and TV shows, as well as on stage and on radio. He was nominated three times for Oscars for Best Actor, and in 1996 received an Honorary Academy Award just because of who he was – then in 1999 he was granted a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Screen Actors Guild.
All Hollywood knew Kirk Douglas as Spartacus in the film of the same name and Einar Ragnarson in The Vikings.
Douglas not only starred in Spartacus, but produced it, hiring the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo to write the script – helping to break the Hollywood Blacklist by giving him screen credit. He was a lifelong Democrat and supported many liberal causes with both his influence as a celebrity and his money. Jimmy Carter awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981.
His son, actor Michael Douglas, said “It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” wrote on his Instagram account. “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.”
At Krypton Radio we mourn Ned Land from Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Peter Sandza in The Fury, General Kalthrob from Tales from the Crypt, Captain Yelland from The Final Countdown, Dr. Jekyll from the musical version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Ulysses in Ulysses, and Adam in Saturn 3. As Michael Douglas pointed out, his family are mourning a father, husband, and grandfather.
“To me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and greatgrandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne a wonderful husband.”
He was married to actress Diana Dill from 1943 to 1951. They had two sons, Michael and Joel. He remarried Anne Buydens in 1954; they had two sons, Peter and Eric. Eric predeceased his father in 2004. Kirk Douglas is survived by his widow, Anne, sons Michael, Joel, and Peter, and his grandchildren. Douglas wrote a surprising eleven books, including both fiction and nonfiction. Most of them were autobiographical, but he penned the novels The Gift, Last Tango in Brooklyn, The Broken Mirror and Dance with the Devil, as well as a book of poetry called Life Could Be Verse.
Rest well, Mr. Douglas. If anyone has earned that rest, it’s you.