Some of the biggest names in the movie business took to social media to remember the Spartacus actor, sharing both images and memories of the silver-screen legend.
His son and acting icon Michael Douglas confirmed his Oscar-winning father’s death and led tributes, describing him as a “humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to”.
Star Wars actor Mark Hamill called Douglas “one of the biggest stars of all time & a brilliant actor with an unforgettable, blazing charisma,” adding: “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.”
Catherine Zeta Jones, who married Douglas’s son Michael in 2000, also paid tribute. Alongside a black-and-white picture showing her kissing him on the cheek, she wrote: “I shall love you for the rest of my life. I miss you already. Sleep tight…”
Revered director Steven Spielberg said Douglas left behind a “breathtaking body of work”.
“Kirk retained his movie star charisma right to the end of his wonderful life and I’m honoured to have been a small part of his last 45 years,” Spielberg said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter.
“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.”
Rob Reiner, the celebrated director of films such as A Few Good Men, called Douglas an icon.
“Kirk Douglas will always be an icon in the pantheon of Hollywood,” he tweeted. “He put himself on the line to break the blacklist. My love goes out to my friend Michael and the whole family.”
Mitzi Gaynor, who starred alongside Douglas in the 1963 film For Love or Money reflected on their time working together: “Bravo Kirk Douglas on 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.”
Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander tweeted: “Heartbroken. 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.”
Star Trek actor William Shatner paid his respects to Douglas’ family. “Condolences to the family of Kirk Douglas. What an incredible icon he was in this industry!,” Shatner said.
Actor Danny DeVito was upbeat in his reflection of Douglas’ career, tweeting: “Kirk Douglas. The inspirational Scalawag. 103 years on this earth. That’s got a nice ring to it! Great hanging with you man.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tweeted a picture of Douglas from his best-known film Spartacus alongside his quote: “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.”
They followed up with the message: “Goodbye to a Hollywood legend.”
As he shared family photos of his father on Instagram, Douglas’s son Michael also paid tribute, saying: “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.”
Douglas tried to discourage his children from following him into acting. Still, Michael became a superstar and a successful producer, Joel and Peter also were producers and Eric was an actor until his 2004 death from a drug overdose.
Douglas was born in New York in 1916 and rose to fame during Hollywood’s “Golden Age”.
He received critical acclaim for his role in the 1960 classic Spartacus and was later nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in 1959 for Champion.
The acting legend also earned two Oscar nominations for producing The Bad and the Beautiful in 1953 and Lust for Life in 1957.
But he wait almost 50 years before receiving the golden statuette, which he picked up for lifetime achievement.
Douglas also starred in a number of Westerns, including Along The Great Divide (1951) and Lonely Are The Brave (1962), as well as early Stanley Kubrick film Paths Of Glory in 1957.
The most recent film he appeared in was 2004’s Illusion, about an ailing movie director, and in 2008 he featured in TV movie Empire State Building Murders.
Concluding his emotion tribute, Michael said: “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.”