Kirk Douglas “acted like a star when he was a nobody,” producer Stanley Kramer once remarked. “He came at you, center stage, and there it was.” Douglas vibrated cocksure masculinity, bringing a beguiling blend of charisma and menace to an impressive collection of cinematic antiheroes during a seven-decade career.
The star of such films as Spartacus, The Bad and the Beautiful, and Lust for Life, and an instrumental figure in breaking the McCarthy-era Hollywood blacklist, Douglas died Wednesday at 103, his family announced exclusively to PEOPLE.
“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” son Michael Douglas said in a statement. “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.”