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Entertainment & Arts

‘Kirk Douglas will always be an icon.’ Hollywood remembers one of its giants

Kirk Douglas in a promotional photo for the 1949 film “Champion.”
Kirk Douglas in a promotional photo for the 1949 film “Champion.”
(Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images)

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.”

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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.

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“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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