Legendary actor and former Palm Springs resident Kirk Douglas has died. Known for his roles in iconic films such as “Spartacus” and the father of actor Michael Douglas, Kirk died Wednesday at age 103.
In a statement obtained by People magazine, 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.”
“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.
“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. 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.”
Douglas is considered one of the last surviving stars of Hollywod’s Golden Era. His film credits date back to 1946 when he made his acting debut in “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers,” co-starring with Barbara Stanwyck.
He appeared in 75 films and authored more than 10 books. He was also well known here in the Coachella Valley, living on and off in the Las Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs.
Late this afternoon, another son, Joel Douglas contacted NBC Palm Springs confirming his fathers death today in Los Angeles. In a previous interview, Joel told NBC Palm Springs about their life here in Palm Springs when this truly was the playground of the stars.
“That was part of the beauty really of Palm Springs. It put everybody in a common denominator. Everybody relaxed. So when we were out here, it was much more family. I knew Dean Martin’s kid well, we used to go over to Frank Sinatra’s for barbecues. It was loose, it was comfortable, because I think they felt protected out here too,” says Joel.
Kirk Douglas was a three-time Oscar nominee, for his leading roles in the films “Champion,” “The Bad and the Beautiful” and “Lust for Life.” He received an honorary Oscar in 1996, and received the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1968.
In addition to his on-screen success, Douglas played a critical role in ending Hollywood blacklisting of the 1950s, insisting on the hiring and provision of on-screen credit to blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo for the 1960 epic “Spartacus.”