Kirk Douglas, Spartacus Actor Dies At 103

Updated Thursday 6 February 2020 8:37
Kirk Douglas, Spartacus Actor Dies At 103
Kirk Douglas, the self-described "ragman's son" who became a global Hollywood superstar in the 1950s and '60s, died on Wednesday. He was 103. Douglas was often cast as a troubled tough guy in films, most famously as a rebellious Roman slave named Spartacus. Off-screen, he was devoted to family and to humanitarian causes.

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His son Michael Douglas announced the actor's death: "To the world he was a legend. ... But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad."

"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," Michael Douglas wrote.

Kirk Douglas was a classic Hollywood alpha male, with his cleft chin, his gritty voice and a set to his jaw that made him seem to be talking through clenched teeth. He made a conscious choice to go his own way by playing men who went theirs. In Stanley Kubrick's World War I epic, Paths of Glory, Douglas played the principled Colonel Dax, stepping into an iconic role of the good man fighting the establishment.

But Douglas seemed almost more comfortable playing what he liked to call "tough sons of bitches," or flawed men who were, one way or another, gaming the system. Two of his earliest title roles, as the backstabbing boxer in Champion and the self-destructive cornetist in Young Man With a Horn, portrayed stars who turn into heels just as the public embraces them.

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