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Kirk Douglas, whose career spanned seven decades, has passed away. He was 103.
Born Issur Danielovitch in New York on December 9, 1916, Douglas rose to prominence during Hollywood’s “golden age”, earning his first of three Oscar nominations for the 1949 film “Champion.”
“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today,” said his son Michael Douglas in a statement. “To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies… but to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad.”
In addition to his most famous role in Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 historical epic “Spartacus,” in which he played the leader of a slave revolt against the Roman republic, his leading turns included defense attorney Major Steve Garrett in Gottfried Reinhardt’s “Town Without Pity,” journalist Chuck Tatum in Billy Wilder’s “Ace In The Hole,” and Colonel Dax in Stanley Kubrick’s anti-war story “Paths of Glory.”
Douglas was also a producer who established the label Bryna Productions in 1955. The company collaborated with Stanley Kubrick on both “Paths Of Glory” and “Spartacus.” And he wrote 12 books, including 2002’s “My Stroke of Luck,” in which he chronicled how he beat depression after suffering a stroke in 1996 and found salvation in his wife, his family, and in returning to work.
The actor converted to Judaism, the religion in which he was raised, following a near-fatal helicopter crash in 1991 in which two people were killed. He once commented that there was an underlying theme in several of his films about a man who ignores his Jewishness but eventually finds it.”
Alongside Michael, Douglas had three other boys: the producers Joel and Peter, and the actor and stand-up comedian Eric, who died from an accidental drug overdose in 2004. He was married to the actress Diana Webster from 1943 to 1951, having Michael and Joel, and then the producer and philanthropist Anne Buydens, now age 100, from 1954 to the present day.