As news of Kirk Douglas’ death spread Wednesday, social media lighted up with tributes to the beloved actor and producer, who received his first Oscar nomination for his role in the 1949 drama “Champion.”
“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,” filmmaker Steven Spielberg said in a statement. “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.”
A SAG-AFTRA member since 1942, Douglas was honored by the organization with a SAG Life Achievement Award in 1998.
“One of the last remaining legends of Hollywood’s golden age, Kirk Douglas was an extraordinary actor. He was also a powerful voice who helped end the blacklist in our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris in a statement. “With his extensive body of work, he made an indelible mark on cinema. But, as a true humanitarian, his lifelong dedication to quietly supporting worthy causes may have made an even greater impact. Kirk will be deeply missed and we send our condolences to his family, friends and fans.”
Douglas was also known for launching his own production company and helping to end the Hollywood blacklist.
“Kirk Douglas will always be an icon in the pantheon of Hollywood. He put himself on the line to break the blacklist,” Rob Reiner wrote on Twitter. “My love goes out to my friend Michael and the whole family.”
Douglas was also known for his philanthropic work. Center Theatre Group dimmed the lights at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in his honor Wednesday night.
“Kirk Douglas was a true hero of mine,” said Quibi Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is also chairman of the MPTF Foundation’s board of governors, in a statement. “From movie star to movie mogul to philanthropist, I never stopped being inspired by him and learning from him. He was one of the greatest...ever!”
Here’s a sampling of other salutes.
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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. 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. #KirkDouglas
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.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) February 5, 2020
KIrk Douglas will always be an icon in the pantheon of Hollywood. He put himself on the line to break the blacklist. My love goes out to my friend Michael and the whole family.— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) February 5, 2020
Condolences to the family of Kirk Douglas. What an incredible icon he was in this industry! 😞— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 5, 2020
Kirk Douglas was 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 💔 pic.twitter.com/snzoHPMtDr— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) February 6, 2020
Screen icon and Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas, has died at 103. The actor and producer had 75 films to his name, including the seminal Spartacus, and numerous awards. We remember him today for his priceless contribution to film and the film industry. pic.twitter.com/uCIDB2G4Wv— Paramount Network (@paramountnet) February 5, 2020
Hollywood doesn't make legends like Kirk Douglas anymore. Born into a Jewish immigrant family, his star rose In the golden age of film, when marquee lights were bright and movie houses palaces. My thoughts are with his family. May his memory be a blessing to them, and all of us.— Dan Rather (@DanRather) February 6, 2020