Actor Kirk Douglas died at the age of 103

By Helen Murphy
February 08, 2020 12:00 PM
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Jamie Lee Curtis is remembering Kirk Douglas.

On Friday, the actress shared a social media tribute to Douglas, who died on Wednesday at the age of 103. In her Instagram post, Curtis said that the late movie star was close with both of her parents, actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, and revealed he had once saved her life when she was a child.

Along with a touching caption, Curtis shared three black-and-white photos, including one of her parents in the 1958 movie The Vikings with Douglas, and two from her childhood.

“Kirk and [his wife Anne Buydens] were important to BOTH my parents. Here in The Vikings with both Tony and Janet,” the actress, 61, wrote. “I just remembered this morning that Kirk saved my life when I rode my tricycle into the pool at a party and he dove in and brought me up from the bottom, still peddling.”

Jamie Lee Curtis; Kirk Douglas
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Curtis continued by explaining that both her family and Douglas’ family had lost sons: “I was in school with their son, Eric who they lost in 2004. Tony lost his son, [Curtis’ half-brother] Nicholas in 1994. Families tied together in life and success and loss and struggle, past and present. Kirk is an example for us ALL.”

Curtis also gave a shout-out to Douglas and his wife’s foundation, writing, “See the work that they did for others. The playgrounds they built. Join them and me and honoring his legacy.”

Douglas’ son, Michael Douglas, shared the news of his father’s death with PEOPLE on Wednesday.

Kirk Douglas
Nancy R. Schiff/Getty Images

“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,” Michael said in a statement. “But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine, a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband.”

On Friday, Michael, along with his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and his son Cameron, attended Douglas’ funeral service at the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles.

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The Hollywood star, best known for his role in Spartacus and other classic films, had more than 92 acting credits throughout his storied career. After three Oscar nominations, Douglas was awarded an honorary Academy Award in 1996.

“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,” Michael added in his statement on Wednesday.