Still the Oldest Celebrity Alive: Hollywood Icon Kirk Douglas Turns 103, Wants It to Be ‘Just Family’

December 14, 2019 Updated: December 15, 2019
FONT BFONT SText size

On Dec. 9, 2019, legendary actor Kirk Douglas celebrated his 103rd birthday, making him still perhaps the oldest celebrity still living.

The veteran Hollywood icon had pleaded with his son, actor Michael Douglas, not to go overboard with party planning for his most recent birthday bash. It was to be strictly family.

Epoch Times Photo
Kirk and Michael Douglas at the premiere of “It Runs In The Family” at the Bruin Theater in Los Angeles on April 7, 2003 (Copyright Getty Images | Kevin Winter)

Speaking with talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Michael explained that after huge parties for his 101st and 102nd birthdays, his father was exhausted by the prospect of another. “So he’s begging me, he’s got tears down his eyes, ‘Let’s just have dinner, the family together. Bring the kids,’” Michael joked.

On the occasion of Kirk’s 102nd birthday in 2018, Michael told Good Morning America that his father was doing fantastically. “I just can’t get over it. His memory is all there,” Michael explained. “He’s in good health. He’s got a walker and a wheelchair.”

Epoch Times Photo
Kirk Douglas looking at a globe with two of his sons, Joel (C) and Michael (R), circa 1956 (Copyright Getty Images | Arnold M. Johnson)

As his father turned 103, Michael, now 75, once again paid public tribute to his father’s astonishing life, career, and role as a father by posting a touching message on Instagram. “Happy birthday Dad,” Michael wrote, as quoted by People. “You are a living legend and your entire family sends you all the love in their hearts!”

Michael’s wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, 50, also took to Instagram. The Welsh actress posted a sweet picture of herself with her famous father-in-law, captioned: “This guy on my knee, is 103! Happy Birthday Pappy,” she wrote, as quoted by People. “I love you with all my heart.”

Epoch Times Photo
Kirk Douglas (R) with his son Michael on the set of the movie “Cast a Giant Shadow” in Rome in 1965 (Copyright Getty Images)

Kirk Douglas, born in 1916, is one of the last surviving stars of the film industry’s Golden Age. The revered actor, director, and producer confirmed his iconic status over the course of a decades-long career, having ascended to worldwide fame in film classics such as “Spartacus,” “The Bad and The Beautiful,” and “Paths of Glory.”

For his acting and philanthropy, Kirk has received three Academy Award nominations, an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Epoch Times Photo
Kirk Douglas and his wife, Anne Budyens, arriving in London for the premiere of “Spartacus” on Dec. 5, 1960 (Copyright Getty Images | Dennis Oulds)

He married producer Anne Buydens in 1954. The pair had two sons together and have enjoyed almost seven decades of marriage and companionship.

“I was lucky enough to find my soul mate 63 years ago,” Kirk explained, speaking to Closer Weekly in 2016, “and I believe our wonderful marriage and our nightly ‘golden hour’ chats have helped me survive all things.”

Epoch Times Photo
Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Sunset Tower in West Hollywood, Calif., on March 7, 2010 (Copyright Getty Images | Craig Barritt)

Kirk and Anne have, in fact, always used birthdays as an excuse to indulge in their shared love of charitable giving. Kirk explained: “Anne and I always use these happy occasions to give presents to the institutions we support through our foundation.

“Giving is a selfish act, I maintain, because it makes you feel so good.”

Epoch Times Photo
Kirk Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones speak onstage during the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Jan. 7, 2018 (Copyright Getty Images | Paul Drinkwater)

On Dec. 9, the occasion of Kirk’s 103rd birthday, there was another treat in store for the star’s family: Kirk’s son Michael collected yet another Golden Globe nomination ahead of the 2020 awards ceremony.

Michael was nominated for the Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series award for his role in “The Kominsky Method,” having won the very same award for his role in the Netflix original series in 2019.

Epoch Times Photo
Cameron (L), Kirk, (C), and Michael Douglas pose at Michael’s “Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame” ceremony on Nov. 6, 2018 (Copyright Getty Images | Gregg DeGuire)

Proud father Kirk, musing upon life and longevity, told Closer Weekly: “I am always asked for advice on living a long and healthy life. I don’t have any,” he stated.

“I do believe, however, that we have a purpose for being here,” the living legend explained. “I was spared after a helicopter crash and a stroke to do more good in the world before I leave it.”

At 103, Kirk Douglas is still setting a powerful example to friends, family, and fans around the world.