Kirk Douglas, Passing of a Hollywood Icon

Kirk Douglas with Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, December 12, 1977. Photograph by Andy Hanson, DeGolyer Library

One of the last survivors of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Kirk Douglas died on February 5, 2020 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 103.  After an impoverished childhood with Jewish immigrant parents and six sisters, Douglas made his film debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) with Barbara Stanwyck. Douglas’s rugged good looks and muscular intensity made him known for commanding roles in westerns, war movies and Roman-era spectacles, notably in celebrated films like  “Lust for Life,” “Spartacus” and “Paths of Glory.” In 80 movies across a half-century, Douglas was equally at home on city streets, in jazz clubs and, as artist Vincent van Gogh. He was an actor, producer, director, philanthropist and writer. In addition to his many roles, Douglas received three Academy Award nominations, an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Anne E. Peterson,

Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library Photograph by Andy Hanson, DeGolyer Library