The legendary actor, who died at the age of 103, had a close relationship with his son

By Mia McNiece
February 05, 2020 08:50 PM
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Kirk Douglas was a legendary star beloved by moviegoers around the world. But one of his biggest fans was his son, Michael, 75, and the two shared a special bond throughout Kirk’s life.

On Wednesday, Kirk died at the age of 103 and Michael released a heartfelt statement to PEOPLE saying, “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.”

“But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad,” he added.

Michael followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming an award-winning actor.

In December, when he received a Golden Globe nomination for The Kominsky Method, his thoughts were on his father who was celebrating his 103rd birthday that same day.

Michael shared a sweet Instagram photo of his famous father and himself, thanking the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for nominating him on the same day as Kirk’s milestone birthday.

Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas
| Credit: KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/AP/Shutterstock

“What a great day,” he said. “Thank you HFPA for the Golden Globes nomination and for making my Dad proud.”

Douglas previously took home the Golden Globe for his performance in The Kominsky Method in 2019 and in the pressroom, revealed that his father imparted some wisdom on him, which stuck as one of the greatest lessons he had ever learned.

“Stamina and tenacity,” he shared. “He was out of the school where you give your best shot, you give the best thing you can, and then f— it. That was the best advice I got.”

Cameron Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Diana Douglas and Michael Douglas
| Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In November 2018, Kirk attended Michael’s induction into the Hollywood Walk of Fame — where the Basic Instinct star honored his father.

“It means so much to me, Dad, that you’re here today,” Michael said, tearing up. “Thank you for your advice, inspiration, and I’ll say it simply and with all my heart: I’m so proud to be your son.”

Although family patriarch at first didn’t want his son to follow in his footsteps, he eventually changed his mind. “I didn’t want Michael to be an actor,” he told PEOPLE. “I wanted him to be a lawyer or a doctor, like many fathers. But he’s a good actor, he’s my favorite actor.”

Following Kirk’s death, Michael said in his emotional statement to PEOPLE that he later shared on Instagram: “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.”