Dad, movie star, blacklist breaker: Hollywood remembers Kirk Douglas

Los Angeles, Feb 6 (PTI) Hollywood personalities including filmmaker Steven Spielberg, actors Lee Grant, Mitzi Gaynor, Sylvestor Stallone and Brian Cranston, paid their last respects to Kirk Douglas, one of the biggest actors and stars in the pantheon of Hollywood's Golden Age, who passed away at the age of 103.

The legendary icon and 'Spartacus' star died peacefully at home on Wednesday surrounded by his children, grandchildren and his wife of 65 years, Anne Buydens Douglas, the actor's longtime agent Marcia Newberger told USA Today.

Actor Micheal Douglas, son of Kirk Douglas, shared the news of his father's death on social media.

'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,' the actor wrote alongside pictures of Kirk Douglas through the ages.

Michael Douglas said his father leaves a rich cinema legacy behind but he will also be remembered for his contribution to public service.

'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,' he wrote.

His daughter-in-law, actor Catherine Zeta-Jones also shared a loving photo with Kirk Douglas.

'To my darling Kirk, I shall love you for the rest of my life. I miss you already. Sleep tight...' she wrote.

Spielberg, who presented Kirk Douglas with an honorary Oscar at the 1996 Academy Awards, remembered the actor's life-long charm.

'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,' Spielberg said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

Grant, who co-starred with Kirk Douglas in the 1951 movie 'Detective Story,' said the actor was 'one of those rarest creatures'.

'A movie star as well as an incredible actor. A man who forged his own destiny & used his notoriety in an attempt to make some difference in the world. He was a gift, we were lucky to have him, and in some ways, we always will,' she wrote on Facebook.

Gaynor, who starred alongside Kirk Douglas in 1963's 'For Love or Money,' said her co-star had an 'incredible life'.

'Thank you for so generously sharing your amazing talent with all of us. The film we made together will always hold a special place in my heart. My love to Anne & your beautiful family. #KirkDouglas,' she tweeted.

Stallone posted a picture from the actor's 1949 film 'Champion', in which he played a boxer.

'KIRK DOUGLAS! The last great giant of my cinema heroes has passed on to Infinite glory. Amazing artist! The likes of which we will never ever see again!' the 'Rocky' star captioned the photo.

Kirk Douglas will always be remembered for defying the McCarthy Era establishment by producing and starring as a slave in 'Spartacus', written by blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

Cranston, who played the blacklisted Hollywood writer in the 2015 biopic 'Trumbo', praised the veteran actor for risking his career for doing the 'right thing' by breaking the blacklist.

'Thinking about Kirk Douglas and his family tonight. Not only was he a towering presence in film history. He also risked his career and financial stability to do the right thing to help break the Blacklist. That kind of heroism makes all of us stand up and shout, 'I AM SPARTACUS',' the 'Breaking Bad' star tweeted with a picture with the icon.

Actor Rob Reiner said Kirk Douglas 'will always be an icon in the pantheon of Hollywood.' '(Kirk) put himself on the line to break the blacklist. My love goes out to my friend Michael and the whole family,' he added.

'Star Wars' icon Mark Hamill called Kirk Douglas '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,' Hamill tweeted.

'Seinfeld' star Jason Alexander said he's 'heartbroken' by the news.

'Kirk Douglas was a friend and an absolute legend of a star and human. He got better with every passing day. So honored to have known him. My love to his family. We could use a true Spartacus,' Alexander said.

'Star Trek' stars George Takei and William Shatner said the actor will be missed.

'Legendary actor Kirk Douglas has passed on today at the age of 103. An Academy Award winning actor and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Douglas was a champion for many just causes and lived a long and storied life. He was adored and beloved, and he shall be missed,' he tweeted.

Shatner offered condolences to the Douglas family.

'What an incredible icon he was in this industry!' he added.

'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 tweeted.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also bid adieu to the Hollywood legend by sharing a quote by the actor on its official Twitter page.

'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. - Kirk Douglas,' the post read.

The Golden Globes referred to Douglas as 'one of the most famous actors of all time.' PTI BK BK