Kirk Douglas Turns 101: Hollywood Says ‘Happy Birthday’ To A Legend

Chris Pizzello / InvisionAP Images

Kirk Douglas has turned the big 101. The legendary movie star was born on Dec. 9, 1916, and many fans and friends turned to social media to pay tribute to him on his 101st birthday.

Kirk Douglas is the last living leading man from Hollywood’s golden age. Douglas was a top box-office star throughout the 1950s and 1960s, appearing in over 90 movies in an acting career that spanned more than 60 years.

According to IMDB, Kirk Douglas made his film debut opposite Barbara Stanwyck in the 1946 movie The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. Kirk’s last acting credit was in 2008 in the TV movie Empire State Building Murders. The Academy Award-nominated actor may be best known for playing the title character in the epic 1960 movie Spartacus.

In honor of Kirk Douglas’ milestone birthday, many famous fans took to social media to pay tribute to the man who dominated Hollywood’s golden era. Douglas’ daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones shared a poignant post in which she called Kirk her “hero.” Catherine has been married to Kirk’s oldest son, Michael Douglas, since 2000, and she is notoriously close to her famous father-in-law.

“101 today!!!! My darling Pappy on my knee,” Catherine captioned a pic of herself and Kirk. “Happy Birthday to my wonderful, inspirational and loving father in law, Kirk. Love you with all my heart. #Hero.”

Kirk Douglas With his Family
Featured image credit: Evan AgostiniAP Images

In addition, actor Bruce Boxleitner, who co-starred with Kirk Douglas in the 1992 movie The Secret, wrote that working with the legendary actor was one of the top moments in his career.

“It was one of my career highlights to have worked with him, but he will always be Spartacus to me. Happy 101st birthday to a movie icon! #KirkDouglas,” Boxleitner tweeted.

Many other stars pointed to Spartacus in their tributes, including Blindspot star Jamie Alexander, who tweeted, “Happy 101st Birthday to one of the best actors of all time,#KirkDouglas, His performance in #Spartacus is legendary. My favorite movie to this day.”

Kirk Douglas of Spartacus
Featured image credit: Albert E. RodriguezGetty Images

While the social media tributes were aplenty, Kirk Douglas’ 101st birthday was decidedly lower-key than last year’s 100th birthday bash. In honor of his entry into the Centenarian decade, Douglas was feted by his family and friends in a private room at the Beverly Hills Hotel. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the guest list included DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, and longtime friend, comedian Don Rickles.

“I’ve been shooting movies and television shows for now 47 years and I’ve worked with the best of them, and you’re the only movie star I ever met,” Spielberg told Douglas in his tribute speech. “There is something that you have that no one else ever had.”

Rickles poked fun at a young Kirk Douglas’ good looks and physique, saying that he had to hear the “I’m Spartacus crap” every day back in the day. Rickels also said that he hopes Kirk has another 100 years on earth, but if not, “I know in heaven you’ll be in charge.”

In honor of Kirk Douglas’ 101st birthday, here’s a clip from one of his most famous films, Spartacus.