Kirk Douglas, ‘Spartacus’ Actor and Montecito Resident, Dies at 103

Excellence in Film Award in Santa Barbara Festival Long Named After Iconic Actor

Actor Kirk Douglas died on February 5, 2020. Here, he presents in 2011 the film excellence award that bears his name to his son actor Michael Douglas. | Credit: Michael Buckner, WireImage

Kirk Douglas, the swashbuckling hero and steely eyed villain of post-WWII Hollywood, died Wednesday. He was 103.

“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” his son actor Michael Douglas wrote on Instagram. “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 Douglas split his time between Beverly Hills and a home in Montecito. Since 2006, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has given the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film to lifelong contributors to cinema through their work in front and behind the camera. In 2019 it went to director Martin Scorsese.

The son of Russian immigrant parents, Douglas parlayed his good looks and athleticism into an acting career. Known for his iconic roles in films like Spartacus and Paths of Glory, he earned Oscar nominations for his roles in Lust for Life, Champion, and Bad and the Beautiful but never won. He received an honorary Oscar in 1996.

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