Updated: Nov 19, 2020
The great and legendary actor died today, 5 Feb 2020 at the age of 103. He was not just a wonderful actor but a great human being.
His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. When they came to the US they were faced with sheer poverty. He was raised along with his six sisters. In his 1988 autobiography, The Ragman's Son, Douglas wrote about the hardships that he and his family endured during their early years in Amsterdam, New York:
“My father, who had been a horse trader in Russia, got himself a horse and a small wagon and became a ragman, buying old rags, pieces of metal, and junk for pennies, nickels, and dimes.... even on the Eagle Street, the poorest section of town, where all the families were struggling. The ragman was on the lowest rung of the ladder. And I was the ragman's son.”
He started his career as a stage actor and later joined the movies when his friend Lauren Bacall introduced him to the producer – Hal B. The rest is history, as he was getting leading roles in western movies and serious dramas. Up till 1950, he had worked in 90 movies.
He later became an international star and his image entirely changed when he produced and worked in a movie called Spartacus, by breaking the Hollywood blacklist and having a scriptwriter Dalton turbo.
As an actor and philanthropist, Douglas received three Academy Award nominations, an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. As an author, he wrote ten novels and memoirs. He is No. 17 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest male screen legends of classic Hollywood cinema, the highest-ranked living person on the list until his death. After surviving a helicopter crash in 1991 and then suffering a stroke in 1996, he focused on renewing his spiritual and religious life. He lived with his second wife (of 65 years), Anne Buydens, as a producer, until his death on February 5, 2020, at the age of 103. A centenarian, he was one of the last surviving stars of the film industry's gold.
The actor is survived by his wife Anne Buydens and 3 children. All of them belong to film professions and highly successful and regarded. In the movie “it runs in the family” all three generations of Douglas had worked. They got the roles to the relations they are having in real lives, i.e. Kirk Douglas (grandpa), Michael Douglas (son to Kirk) Cameron Douglas (grandson). It was very interesting to watch all the Douglas worked together like that.
Kirk Douglas has two sons from the second wife, Eric, and Peter, Unfortunately, Eric died in 2004 from a drug overdose. Anne Buydeens, who fled Germany during World War 2, met Kirk in Paris, they got married in 1954. Douglas and his wife donated to various non-profit organizations. They traveled to more than 40 different countries on their own expenses as goodwill ambassadors for US information agency.
Michal Kirk Douglas announced on his Instagram account that his father has left them on Wednesday. He will always be missed not just for being a great actor but a wonderful man (RIP).