Hollywood star Kirk Douglas dies aged 103

Kirk Douglas death

American actor Kirk Douglas has died aged 103, his son Michael said in a statement.

Douglas, best known for films including Spartacus and Ace In The Hole, was one of the last remaining stars of Hollywood's golden age.

He died on Wednesday, according to his son Michael, also a Hollywood actor.

"It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103," Michael's statement said.

"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."

Michael, married to Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones, said his father was a "wonderful husband" and a "loving grandfather".

He added: "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."

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Kirk Douglas the slave Spartacus, ready to fight in a scene from the film 'Spartacus', 1960. (Photo by Universal Pictures/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 13: Actor Kirk Douglas attends the last 70mm film screening of "Spartacus" at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on August 13, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 31: Kirk Douglas on stage at the Starz celebration of Kirk Douglas and the impact of "Spartacus" at Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on May 31, 2012 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Kirk Douglas, longtime influential movie star, dies at 103
***FILE PHOTO*** Kirk Douglas Has Passed Away At 103 Years Of Age. KIRK DOUGLAS. Credit: SMPGlobe Photos / MediaPunch /IPX
Actress Jean Simmons clasping co-star Kirk Douglas's chin at premiere of their restored 1960 film Spartacus. (Photo by Kevin Winter/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
***FILE PHOTO*** Kirk Douglas Has Passed Away At 103 Years Of Age. Kirk Douglas *Filmstill - Editorial Use Only* CAP/NFS Image RTNCAP/ Media Punch. *** USA ONLY *** /IPX
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 12 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kirk Douglas as Spartacus, Bill Murray during the 'What If?' skit on February 23, 1980 -- (Photo by: Fred Bronson/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Kirk Douglas and Eric Douglas Undated Photo By Adam Scull/PHOTOlink /MediaPunch /IPX
5th December 1960: Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne Budyens arriving in London for the premiere of his new film, 'Spartacus'. (Photo by Dennis Oulds/Central Press/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) This is the World Premiere of Spartacus which was shown at the DeMille Theater at 47th Street and 7th Avenue in New York City. Here crowds reach out to shake hands with Kirk Douglas.
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Actors Kirk DOUGLAS and John IRELAND in a scene of the film SPARTACUS, directed by Stanley KUBRICK in 1960 and after the novel by Howard FAST. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Kirk Douglas, still in costume while filming Spartacus, mails off his ballot for the Academy Awards in 1960.
***FILE PHOTO*** Kirk Douglas Has Passed Away At 103 Years Of Age. KIRK DOUGLAS. Credit: SMPGlobe Photos / MediaPunch /IPX
Actor Kirk Douglas crucified on the set of the 1960 film 'Spartacus'. (Photo by Richard C. Miller/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)
Actor Kirk Douglas on the set of the 1960 film 'Spartacus'. (Photo by Richard C. Miller/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)
Actor Kirk Douglas on the set of the 1960 film 'Spartacus'. (Photo by Richard C. Miller/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)
1960: Actor Kirk Douglas on the set of the 1960 film "Spartacus". (Photo by Richard C. Miller/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)
American actor Kirk Douglas on the set of Spartacus, directed by Stanley Kubrick. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
American actor Kirk Douglas on the set of Spartacus, directed by Stanley Kubrick. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Kirk Douglas the slave Spartacus, ready to fight in the ring in a scene from the film 'Spartacus', 1960. (Photo by Universal Pictures/Getty Images)
Woody Strode (1914-1994), US actor, Kirk Douglas, US actor, and in the background on the balcony, Laurence Olivier (1907-1989), British actor, John Gavin, US actor, and Nina Foch (1924-2008), Dutch actress, in a publicity still issued for the film, 'Spartacus', 1960. The historical drama, directed by Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999), starred Strode as 'Draba', Douglas as 'Spartacus', Olivier as 'Crassus', Gavin as 'Julius Caesar', and Foch as 'Helena Glabrus'. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
***FILE PHOTO*** Kirk Douglas Has Passed Away At 103 Years Of Age. Kirk Douglas With His Wife Anne At The Academy Awards 3-1985. Credit: 1903194Globe Photos/MediaPunch /IPX
***FILE PHOTO*** Kirk Douglas Has Passed Away At 103 Years Of Age. Washington, DC. 12-4-1994 Kennedy Center Honors reception at the White House hosted by President William Jefferson Clinton and FIrst Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Kirk Douglas with his wife Anne Buydens and son Eric arrive at the North Protico of the White House to attend the reception for the Kennedy Center Honorees. Credit: Mark Reinstein /MediaPunch /IPX
***FILE PHOTO*** Kirk Douglas Has Passed Away At 103 Years Of Age. CA, USA. Kirk Douglas in the © Universal Pictures film: Man Without a Star (1955). Supplied by Landmark / MediaPunch. /IPX
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Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch in Amsterdam, New York, in 1916 to mother Bryna and Herschel Danielovitch, Jewish immigrants from what is today Belarus.

He endured an impoverished childhood and legally changed his name to Kirk Douglas before joining the US Navy during World War II.

He made his film debut in 1946 noir The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers, opposite Barbara Stanwyck.

Douglas, with his explosive acting style and masculine persona, soon established himself as a Hollywood leading man and throughout the 1950s starred in serious dramas, westerns and war movies.

His first best actor Oscar nomination came for his role in 1949 boxing drama Champion, while his second was in recognition of his part in 1952's The Bad And The Beautiful, in which he starred opposite Lana Turner.

His third followed for the 1956 biopic Lust For Life, in which he portrayed Vincent Van Gogh.

But it is for 1960 historical epic Spartacus for which Douglas is best known.

He partnered with the then relatively unknown director Stanley Kubrick to play the leader of a slave revolt in ancient Rome.

Spartacus features one of the most quoted scenes in cinema. Towards the end of the film the captured slaves are told to identify Spartacus in exchange for leniency – they respond by all claiming to be Spartacus, sealing their own fate.

It is a scene that has been endlessly imitated and parodied, most notably by Monty Python's Life of Brian in 1979.

The Douglas family is a Hollywood dynasty. Michael, 75, is a two-time Oscar winner known for films including Wall Street, Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction.

During Michael's Hollywood Walk Of Fame ceremony in November 2018, a proud Douglas watched on from his wheelchair.

The father and son shared a poignant moment and a kiss shortly after Michael's star was unveiled.

During the ceremony, Michael turned to his father and said: "I know, no son of yours is celebrating his 50th anniversary in the business, it means so much to me Dad that you're here today.

"I thank you for your advice, your inspiration and I'll say it simply with all my heart, I'm so proud to be your son."

Douglas was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1996 while the American Film Institute placed him number 17 on their list of the greatest male screen legends of classic Hollywood cinema.

He narrowly survived a helicopter crash in 1991 and suffered a stroke in 1996, following which he lived with a renewed focused on spirituality and religion.

Douglas, a father of four, is survived by his second wife, Anne Buydens, who he married in 1954.

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