Actor Kirk Douglas, star of classic films Spartacus, Lust for Life and Paths of Glory, has celebrated his 100th birthday.
Douglas, who became a major star in the 1950s and has long been a member of Hollywood royalty, celebrated the milestone in Beverly Hills with friends and family, including his wife of more than 62 years Anne Douglas, his son actor Michael Douglas and daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones.
“One of the things that I find most incredible about Dad is the third act of his life,” Michael Douglas said.
“After all he accomplished in his professional career and what he’s given for his country, at the point in his life where he’s faced adversity, losing a son, having a helicopter crash, having a stroke, and what he’s accomplished in this third act in his life, I find quite extraordinary.”
Kirk Douglas responded, joking: “I wonder who he was talking about? He said some nice things about someone I don’t know.”
His youngest son Eric Douglas, who had struggled with longtime drug and alcohol abuse, died aged 46 in 2004.
Kirk Douglas has two other sons, Joel and Peter Douglas — both producers — and seven grandchildren.
His Rabbi and his doctor, who had promised Kirk Douglas if he lived to 100, he could have a glass of vodka, attended his birthday party.
Actor and comedian Don Rickles lightened the reverent and respectful mood, poking fun at Kirk Douglas’s good looks and physique and saying he had to hear the “I’m Spartacus crap” every day, and how Burt Lancaster used to advise him that Kirk Douglas “doesn’t know what he’s talking about”.
“You are an outstanding man because you’ve been blessed with warmth and love and class, and ah, forget it, you’re all of that and more,” Rickles said.
“May God give you strength and may you be with us for 100 more. If that’s his wish, so be it, if not, I know in heaven you’ll be in charge.” Director Steven Spielberg paid tribute to the actor: “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.”
“There is something that you have that no-one else ever had.”