The World's Reactions To Losing Kirk Douglas
The legend of the Hollywood golden era passed away on February 5th at the age of 103. The renowned actor was famous not because of his immense talent and iconic roles but because he was a philanthropist, a loving father, and a husband and Hollywood activist that fought for his co-workers at the darkest times of political repressions.
How Hollywood reacted
Here are touching memories and tributes from celebs and family expressing their grief but also sharing what they were most grateful for. A Hollywood veteran in his own right, Mark Hamill expressed his fascination for Douglas’ persona on screen and his courage and will for justice behind the camera.
Hamill Tweeted: “Kirk Douglas was one of the biggest stars of all time & a brilliant actor with an unforgettable, blazing charisma. He will also be remembered for putting his career on the line by defying the Hollywood Blacklist, hiring writer Dalton Trumbo for the classic Spartacus.”
Kirk Douglas was one of the biggest stars of all time & a brilliant actor with an unforgettable, blazing charisma. He will also be remembered for putting his career on the line by defying the Hollywood Blacklist, hiring writer Dalton Trumbo for the classic Spartacus. #RIP 💔 pic.twitter.com/snzoHPMtDr— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) February 6, 2020
Spartacus became a huge box office hit and won four Oscars in 1961. Kirk had the courage and great morality to include the writer’s real name in Spartacus’ credits believing that these artists deserve to be remembered just like we are going to honor and remember Kirk today.
As the director of “When Harry Met Sally” and “Princess Bride” Rob Reiner Tweeted: “Kirk Douglas will always be an icon in the pantheon of Hollywood. He put himself on the line to break the blacklist. My love goes out to my friend Michael and the whole family,”
Kirk’s fellow friend Danny DeVito also tweeted: “Kirk Douglas. The inspirational Scalawag. 103 years on this earth. That’s got a nice ring to it! Great hanging with you man.” Kirk was indeed a charming man that DeVito called Scalawag but not without reason.
Kirk Douglas. The inspirational Scalawag. 103 years on this earth. That’s got a nice ring to it! Great hanging with you man.— Danny DeVito (@DannyDeVito) February 6, 2020
Kirk Douglas’ Family
He was an infamous ladies man but who could withstand all that charisma from the handsome actor... We don't blame them. However, it all changed when he met his second wife Anne Buydens with whom he spent 66 years of happy marriage raising four children.
As his eldest son Michael Douglas tweeted: “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. A great actor and a great family man…”
As Michael Douglas' wife and Kirk’s daughter in law Catherine Zeta-Jones posted on Instagram: “To my darling Kirk, I shall love you for the rest of my life. I miss you already. Sleep tight…”
Friends and Colleagues’ reactions
Kirk is remembered for many reasons, all unique by each and every friend and colleague. His friend and professional tennis player Billie Jean King Tweeted:
"Kirk Douglas loved tennis. He attended many tournaments and I knew him back when I was playing junior tennis in the 1950s. He was a talented actor who truly loved his craft. He loved his family even more. May he Rest In Peace,"
Kirk Douglas loved tennis. He attended many tournaments and I knew him back when I was playing junior tennis in the 1950s.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) February 6, 2020
He was a talented actor who truly loved his craft. He loved his family even more.
May he Rest In Peace. https://t.co/lPUU2YqoGo
Kirk’s industry friend Star Trek actor, William Shatner aka Captain James T. Kirk also went on Twitter to express his feelings saying: “Condolences to the family of Kirk Douglas. What an incredible icon he was in this industry!”
Rocky’s star Carl Weathers known for his role of Apollo Creed was also heartbroken over the loss of such a Hollywood icon, tweeting: "Legends never leave us! RIP Kirk Douglas. We grew up watching you.”
Besides the huge box offices for Kirk’s movies Spartacus, Ace in the Hole, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and many others, Douglas was acknowledged by the Academy as well. He was nominated three times for Academy Awards but he was finally presented with an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for being such an influential creative and moral force in the Hollywood community for more than half a century.
As the Academy Awards tweeted the words of Kirk Douglas himself: “I wanted to be an actor ever since I was a kid in the second grade. I did a play, and my mother made a black apron, and I played a shoemaker. After the performance, [my father] gave me my first Oscar: an ice cream cone.”
The man with a big heart
Kirk has been acting in the industry for 62 years but was living his life not only for his passion and family but for the community, giving his heart and income to support those in need. Both, him and his wife, were planning to give away almost all their 80 million dollar net worth. The couple donated up to $40 million to an Alzheimer's treatment facility, $2.3 million to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles, 15 million dollars to help expand the Douglas Care Pavilion in Motion Picture Home retirement community, he also opened the Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2004 for talented youth and rebuilt over 400 Los Angeles Unified School District playgrounds.
And this is only a small part of the great things Kirk and his family have been doing for their community. As Kirk once said in his Esquire interview: “I came from abject poverty. There was nowhere to go but up.”
But when he became an A-listed star it didn’t stop him from caring about those who were in the position he once was in. Hollywood, Los Angeles community and the whole world have lost an amazing actor, activist, and loving friend. As Kirk said: “Acting is make-believe. I never believe I'm the character; I want you to believe.”
Rest in Peace Kirk Douglas.