Hollywood lost an icon today, as Kirk Douglas died at age 103. The acting legend drew immediate comment from friends, industryites and fans who remembered him in such films as Spartacus, Lust for Life and The Bad and the Beautiful.
The outpouring for the actor on Twitter and other social media often called him “legendary.” But that notion was tempered by the very real heroism Douglas showed by standing up to the social pressures of his time to do the right thing,
SAG-AFTRA issued a statement mourning the loss of SAG Life Achievement honoree Douglas.
“One of the last remaining legends of Hollywood’s golden age, Kirk Douglas was an extraordinary actor. He was also a powerful voice who helped end the blacklist in our industry.” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “With his extensive body of work, he made an indelible mark on cinema. But, as a true humanitarian, his lifelong dedication to quietly supporting worthy causes may have made an even greater impact. Kirk will be deeply missed and we send our condolences to his family, friends and fans.”
The statement added: “Douglas was a generous philanthropist, donating millions of dollars to schools, hospitals and facilities that help the homeless. He also remembered his fellow performers. Douglas and his wife Anne gave more than $40 million to the Motion Picture & Television Fund over their lifetimes and were responsible for the creation of a care facility for Alzheimer’s patients. In 2015, in honor of Douglas’ 99th birthday, the MPTF announced that it would build a new facility to be named in the actor’s honor.
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg also issued a statement on Douglas’s death. “Kirk retained his movie star charisma right to the end of his wonderful life and I’m honored to have been a small part of his last 45 years. I will miss his handwritten notes, letters and fatherly advice, and his wisdom and courage – even beyond such a breathtaking body of work – are enough to inspire me for the rest of mine.”
Here is a sampling of tributes to Douglas. We’ll add more as they come in: