Kirk Douglas passed away in his home in Los Angeles at the age of 103

Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas has passed away at the age of 103. He passed away in his home in Los Angeles, surrounded by family. While I am old, I’m not old enough to be part of the generation that grew up on Kirk Douglas’s movies. My dad was a big fan, and he had vivid memories of growing up in India and watching all of Kirk Douglas’s sword-and-sand epics, so that was basically my only association. Then, a few years ago, I watched Trumbo, about the Hollywood Blacklist, and how the Red Scare and McCarthyism sent an icy chill through Hollywood and how many writers, actors, directors, etc were blacklisted from working. An actor played a young Kirk Douglas in the film, and they showed how Douglas was the first major actor to break the blacklist by hiring Dalton Trumbo to work on the Spartacus script. It was a huge deal at the time and it made me rethink Kirk Douglas’s legacy in Hollywood. I’m sure tons of people already knew that history, but seeing it dramatized in Trumbo was educational for me (plus, that’s just a good movie).

Throughout his career, Douglas was nominated for three Oscars but he never “won” one. Then, in 1996, he received an honorary Oscar soon after he had a debilitating stroke. He also received an array of lifetime achievement awards (the Cecil B. DeMille, the AFI Lifetime, etc) and tons more. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Anne, and his four sons, Michael, Eric, Joel and Peter. Plus God knows how many grandkids.

As I’m sure many have seen on Twitter, almost as soon as the news about Kirk Douglas’s passing was made public, “Natalie Wood” began trending on Twitter. It’s a story that has been around for years, unverified by either family – you can read the allegation here. I do not know if it’s true, but the story has become part of the gossip zeitgeist.

Michael Douglas paid tribute to his dad:

View this post on Instagram

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

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Kirk Douglas

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red and Instagram.

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63 Responses to “Kirk Douglas passed away in his home in Los Angeles at the age of 103”

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  1. JByrdKU says:

    I’m sure he was a wonderful actor (don’t know), but whenever I see his face I think of all the gossip I’ve read about he sexually assaulted Natalie Wood.

    • Gen says:

      I heard that some where waiting for him to die. Now the truth will come out….

      • Mia4s says:

        Will the truth come out though? This is why the “oh they’re just waiting until they’re dead” thing never sat right with me. Someone will come out and say what they were told/heard…but that’s it. Those who don’t want to believe it can point out that the alleged perpetrator was right there for decades and now people speak up when he can’t defend himself. All I can take from this is we have to make the system and society as safe as possible for women to speak up at the time and speak their own truth. None of this does anything for Natalie who is long dead. It will more likely than not get brushed off.

      • holly hobby says:

        Both parties are dead and as Kaiser said, the families are not commenting on it. Not to say that it wasn’t true but who else is left to confirm this?

    • Tiffany :) says:

      The thing that bothers me about the Natalie Wood rumor is that I saw an article link to the comments from Crazy Days and Nights (CDAN) as the source. They think that Robert Downey Jr. was posting on a gossip site. It just seems really far fetched to me.

      Maybe it did happen, but I’d feel more comfortable believing it if a real person who knew Natalie was the source of the information, and not an anonymous comment on a gossip page that was notorious for lies.

      • BellaBella says:

        I once edited a book on Natalie Wood. I totally believe this story. She survived horrific behavior by multiple men.

        Why is it possible for you to believe something like this can happen now (Harvey Weinstein) and not back then? She was passed around like a bonbon. And her mother didn’t give a sh*t.

      • Hoot says:

        @BellaBella – I believe it because her sister, Lana (who is still alive, iirc), can confirm it. Allegedly, she was sitting in the car with their mother waiting for Natalie to return from Douglas’s hotel room. Sheesh, world’s worst stage mother is what this woman was. She forbid Natalie from reporting the assault because it would negatively impact her career! I despise him.

    • Alyse says:

      This is also my first thought whenever I hear his name

  2. Ennie says:

    One of the most unsettling pics I’ve seen is that 1955 black and white film , the Night of the Hunter, and of course, the original Cape Fear. He was an excellent film villain.

  3. Sarah says:

    Kirk is a #MeToo moment in waiting, several actually. Now that he is dead, the floodgates will open. Doubtful Natalie was the first or the last.

    • Janiet says:

      Wouldn’t most of his victims (if there are any) be long dead?

      • Mia4s says:

        Pretty much. We will see what if any skeletons there are to come out. Google “Jean Spangler” if you really want to have your mind blown.

        This could all get very complicated. Condolences to the family…and I guess we will see.

      • Dani says:

        Mia – what the HELL?!?!?! I’m so confused and invested now.

    • Shutterbug says:

      Didn’t Lana Wood say she would name names once the perpetrator had died? I guess we’ll see. Although it pretty much seems to be an open secret at this point (and has been for a long time).

      @Mia4s – I remember reading about the Jean Spangler case a while back (may have been on reddit). I think speculation centered around George Hodel (possibly an illegal abortion gone drastically wrong/possibly straight up murder). The Kirk Douglas connection being that Spangler was pregnant with his child?

      • Mia4s says:

        That seems to be one of the prevailing theories. She also had a shady as hell ex-husband allegedly. The “Kirk“ connection is definitely pure speculation but it’s….interesting.

      • ex-Mel says:

        If “Kirk” – whoever he was – was involved in her disappearance, wouldn’t he have removed the note bearing his name from her handbag?
        (Was it ever confirmed that it was, in fact, her handwriting? Probably? Because it would have been a very convenient way for the actual perpetrator to plant false leads.)

        Was the daughter ever found?

    • February Pisces says:

      I still can’t believe they rolled him out on the stage at the golden globes the year it was all about #metoo, considering people have been talking about what happened to Natalie Wood for years.

    • BeanieBean says:

      In Shirley Temple’s autobiography, she talked about dancing with Kirk Douglas at the Mocambo, or some such nightclub, and he said something vile to her (she didn’t reveal what he said, but clearly implied it was sexual in nature). She would have been in her late teens/early 20s at the time. I absolutely believe there are several MeToo moments in his past, with mostly very young women.

      • Granger says:

        Honestly, I think most men of his generation have/had several #MeToo moments in their past. That’s the way the world worked. As my mom once said to me while we were watching an episode of Mad Men and I made a comment about how horribly the women were treated, “Oh honey, it was *so much worse* than that.”

  4. SKF says:

    I’ve read a more detailed account of the rumoured incident with Natalie Wood. If true, it was absolutely brutal, dehumanising, and left permanent damage and scars.

    Her sister Lana has mentioned it on podcasts and in biographies. Supposedly, Lana was in the car with her mother, Natalie was 16 and Lana was 8. According to Lana it was brutal and went for hours. Their mother was an appalling stage mother (who ripped apart a live butterfly in front of Natalie on a set when she was a small child to get her to cry) and was convinced that reporting it or complaining would ruin her career. Also that it must have been Natalie’s fault somehow.

    Lana has said it was a big star – very powerful. She has also repeatedly said that she would reveal the name of the star when they died. Thus far she has not revealed any names and most people of that generation (established adults when she, a woman in her mid-70s, was a child) are long dead.

    Other friends of Natalie also made comments to this effect over the years. That she was raped, that it was someone famous and powerful.

    I wonder if any of those people will speak out now?

    Whoever the perpetrator was, it sounded horrific. Poor Natalie…

    • JRenee says:

      This is the version that I have heard as well.
      With family members still living and possibly willing to sue for libel/slander, not sure if anyone will be named…
      And o agree, whomever it was, I seriously doubt it was a 1 time incident…

    • lemonylips says:

      Natalie Wood was so beautiful and one of my favorite actresses. I remember seeing some biopic but I don’t remember the details. I think the biggest villain in her life was her mother. She supported the men using Natalie as an underaged girl. Such a tragic life, and yet she had this mesmerizing energy, positive one, if not a little scared at all times but still positive and reading all this just made me sad.

    • Steff says:

      In Natalie’s Too Young to Die episode, when they were talking about her being raped by a top Hollywood “exec”, they cut to a shot of the Kirk Douglas theatre. I remember thinking that was some bold editing.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      Poor Natalie indeed. I knew about the Douglas rape accusations. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit. I hadn’t heard the butterfly story! How horrible.
      Natalie was an amazing actress. Gypsy and Splendor in the Grass are among my favorite classic movies that I will always watch if they are on TCM.
      Eff Kirk Douglas and the entire Douglas family. They are trash.

    • Jerusha says:

      Natalie was treated horribly by most of the men in her life. Hi, Warren Beatty. And looking at you, Robert Wagner. What happened on the Splendour?

  5. Biqa says:

    He isn’t survived by Eric because Eric has already passed away

  6. manda says:

    Wow, just hearing about these Natalie Wood stories and they are awful. This morning on the radio they were talking about how someone said he was very handsy and would feel women up. So all of that is horrifying. I just don’t get how that behavior was/is overlooked or silently condoned. This is just an effed up world we live in

    I was actually coming here to say that we watched Sparticus and the Vikings in social studies in middle school, and they were good movies

    • MALCOLM JOHNSTON says:

      Yes, Kirk attacked Natalie, leaving her mother to take her to a clinic because she was still bleeding from his brutal rape (Natalie was both young and tiny, Kirk was much older and a savage rapist!). Someone should have protected Natalie, like Jennifer Lawrence she didn’t need Schlomo’s money but just like Jennifer, the power that comes with that wealth draws you in! TRUMP IS OUR CURRENT EQUIVALENT SLIMEBALL!

  7. Scal says:

    Just a sight correct that his son Eric Douglas died in 2004.

    103. That’s a long life lived.

  8. Scarlett says:

    So, is 2020 the year that the universe deals with rapists who got away with their original crime? As a survivor of sexual assault, I am perfectly ok with this.

  9. Lisabella says:

    In my parents home, he was always considered a piece of SHIT

  10. lucy2 says:

    While it’s sad for his family and loved ones, my thoughts instantly went to Natalie Wood.

  11. Marzipan says:

    I loved Kirk Douglas‘ movies, Spartacus and The Vikings were my favorites. I really miss this kind of guys and stunning women with unforgettable faces and dialogues to remember… nowadays it’s all about explicit sex scenes and violence, like blood and brain tissue literally thrown against your tv screen…

    I still love to watch historical movies, but even though the old ones were certainly not historically correct, the new ones miss the atmosphere and charisma of great actors. One thing I loved about Spartacus was the energy of the hero, Kirk Douglas literally turned into the person he played, and the chemistry between Jean Simmons and Kirk Douglas when she was given to him for pleasure when he was a gladiator…. the music, the dialogues and the longing looks…

    No nudity necessary (which, by the way, demands perfectly sculpted bodies, less acting skills). No constant foul language, no brutal scenes (it was understood that someone was dead or injured when the hero swung his sword) it was just breathtaking…even without heads flying and bowels spilling out the gut. It was clear what had happened, and still you didn’t leave the cinema with traumatic pictures burnt into your brain!

  12. Originaltessa says:

    This is literally the first time I’m hearing about the Natalie Wood allegations. Question for people who know more. Is this a blind item, hearsay of an 8 year old, and Kirk was never explicitly named? Or is there more evidence of this? Seems very likely, and probably true that Natalie was horribly exploited and abused as a teen in Hollywood. But are we SURE it’s Kirk, or is that just the most popular guess?

  13. A says:

    If the allegations against him are true then I hope he is burning in hell right now.

  14. Marzipan says:

    I didn’t know that Kirk Douglas was suspected of such horrible things, like brutal rape or even murder… I only knew he cheated on his wives (like probably every Hollywood star) Is there proof, or is it just a rumor…?
    How can you possibly find out the truth when all persons involved are dead…?
    I know that people can be two-faced, but I wonder if his wife never realized something was off, or even became a victim herself (besides the cheating) Can you live with someone for decades and not notice… or if she did, how can you keep that to yourself and never talk about it, always pretend everything is fine…?

  15. Marzipan says:

    @Scarlett: if you refer to my comment about old movies… I was just talking about the quality of older historical films versus new ones.
    In fact I think there were more “manly” actors in the fifties and sixties who exuded sex appeal, regardless of how these guys acted in private.

    • BellaBella says:

      And so many of those “manly” actors back then were gay. LOL

      Not that gay men can’t be manly, but so many of those actors were in the closet.

  16. tealily says:

    Wondering why everyone seems cool talking about the accusations re: Natalie Wood now, but people were completely NOT COOL about bringing up the accusations against Kobe Bryant in the days after his death. Why is this different?

    • Gen says:

      Kobe’s was an one off whereas Kirk was known to rape and beat up starlets… Many victims….

      I

      • tealily says:

        So we shouldn’t talk about it?

      • maya8 says:

        So you were there then Gen, do tell.

        Tealily, didn’t you know? When the alleged abuser is one of our idols he is always innocent and the alleged victim is a money hungry fame whore looking to bring him down. But when we don’t care about the alleged rapist, well then, it’s easy: of course we support the victims and believe them, we are woke after all.

      • ChillyWilly says:

        Yes, a man who commits one rape isn’t that bad! Wtf? A rapist is a rapist whether they have 1 or 100 victims. Rape is unforgivable and rapists cannot be reformed, IMO. Even if they write checks and apologize to their victim. I could give two craps about Kobe but my heart breaks for his wife and children and the other people who died that day.

      • tealily says:

        @maya8 Sadly, I *did* know that. :(

        I had comments on this site deleted where I just brought up the idea that I felt conflicted about Kobe’s death. I know we’re meant to be sensitive of those mourning, but people mourn 103-year-olds too.

      • maya8 says:

        @tealily, the comment section under that post about his death was in one word nauseating. Out of all blogs i didn’t expect to find that kind of thing here. Most of them were practically ready to apply for his canonization if you go by what they were writing. I was shaking all over.

      • sue denim says:

        no offense Gen, and I get that this may be a common sentiment, but this makes me want to scream, one-off?!!! It’s still a vicious crime…the accusation credibly supported by his own statements…can you imagine if we said that about any other violent crime… and to tealily, same here…

  17. Shannon says:

    @Gen Your comment turned my stomach. A ‘one off’? That woman was only 19 years old when Kobe sexually assaulted her. She was still a person whose life was forever changed by his actions. The fact his list isn’t as long as Douglas’s in no way excuses his actions?? Disgusting.

    • Léna says:

      Agree with you. I asked on the second (I think) Kobe post related to his death if he was treated differently because it was “just” one victim. I guess I was right. And as a rape victim it makes me really angry

      • sue denim says:

        I commented above too but yeah, it’s like women’s lives and bodies are literally and figuratively up for grabs in this culture…

      • Melody calder says:

        Maybe the hesitancy to discuss Kobe was more that it was a tragic death that involved many others, including children. Making the conversation about the rape would pull focus and headlines from everyone as well. There are a lot of people who are mourning those lost in this tragedy who will be searching the news feeds. Maybe it’s best to not have their families Legacy tainted by Kobe’s as well just because they were in the same Helicopter. Nothing tragic about a guy living to a hundred and three. Sad he passed. Yes. But nothing tragic, I feel like he’s free game.

      • tealily says:

        @Melody calder, I think that’s a generous take.