'Hollywood royalty': Stars react to Kirk Douglas's death

By Zach Harper

If it seems like everyone in Hollywood has something to say about Kirk Douglas after the icon passed away at age 103 on Feb. 5, it's because there's a pretty high chance that's true. The star's incredible body of work was an inspiration to many, and the entire industry was touched by his talent, generosity and spirit.

Actor Michael Douglas, Kirk's eldest son, led the tributes when he announced his father's death.

"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," he wrote on Instagram.

Kirk with a very young Michael around 1950. Photo: © Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

"But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine [Zeta-Jones, actress and Michael's wife], 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."

Kirk and Catherine together at a gala in 2017. Photo: © Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

Catherine paid tribute to her father-in-law on Feb. 5 by taking to Instagram to share a photo of her planting a kiss on his cheek.

"To my darling Kirk, I shall love you for the rest of my life," she wrote. "I miss you already. Sleep tight..."

Former All My Children star Susan Lucci told Entertainment Tonight she was always impressed by how loving Kirk was and how supportive he was of Catherine.

"He is Hollywood royalty and, well, deservedly so," she said. "He was really an inspiration for many people in the industry and a good man. I wish his family all the best."

"I remember seeing Catherine Zeta-Jones, his daughter-in-law, at an event with him, and she was so lovely with him," she finished.

Steven Spielberg with Kirk at the 1996 Academy Awards, where Kirk was given a lifetime achievement award. Photo: © TIM CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Steven Spielberg, who himself was voted the greatest film director of all time by Empire magazine in 2011, praised Kirk and said he would never forget how the Hollywood veteran had helped his career.

"Kirk retained his movie star charisma right to the end of his wonderful life and I'm honoured to have been a small part of his last 45 years," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I will miss his handwritten notes, letters and fatherly advice, and his wisdom and courage – even beyond such a breathtaking body of work – are enough to inspire me for the rest of mine."

Mitzi Gaynor, who worked with Kirk on For Love or Money in 1963, also paid tribute to her co-star.

"Bravo Kirk Douglas on an incredible life," she tweeted. "Thank you for so generously sharing your amazing talent with all of us. The film we made together will always hold a special place in my heart. My love to Anne and your beautiful family."

The Douglas family has yet to announce funeral arrangements or memorial details for Kirk. It's also expected that given the legend died so close to the Oscars, he will receive a pretty massive tribute during the 92nd Academy Awards, which take place Feb. 9.

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