“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” Michael Douglas said in a statement. “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.”
After three Academy Award nominations for Champion, The Bad and the Beautiful, and the biopic Lust for Life, Douglas was finally awarded an honorary Oscar in 1996 for 50 years as a creative force in the motion picture community.
With more than 92 acting credits, including 75 movies, Douglas also made strides behind the scenes as a producer. He played a part in ending the McCarthy era Hollywood Blacklist by choosing to hire blacklisted screenwriter Douglas Trumbo to write the screenplay for Spartacus and insisting on giving him credit.
For the last years of his life, Douglas focused on charity work, and his role as goodwill ambassador for the United States State Department, a post he has held since 1963. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981, the Jefferson Award for public service in 1983, and the French Legion of Honor in 1985.
He is survived by his wife Anne Buydens, their son Peter Douglas; two sons from his first marriage, Michael and Joel Douglas; and seven grandchildren.