How do you celebrate a living legend’s 101st birthday? With family, of course! Actor and legend Kirk Douglas recently celebrated his 101st birthday! The screen megastar was with his wife, Anne, who is 98, and his family, including sons Michael and Joel, and granddaughter Kelsey.
The actor is best known for movies such as Spartacus, Champion, The Bad and the Beautiful, and played such characters as Vincent van Gogh in Lust for Life and Randle McMurphy of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest on Broadway. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Oscars, and was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
His cake featured a large ‘101’ and was decorated with an elaborate sunflower, a tribute to his role in Lust For Life. He also had a second cake decorated with a pair of red boxing gloves to celebrate his Academy Award nominated role in Champion. It read “Happy Birthday to the Champion.”
The astonishing milestone comes after a life full of experience, breakthrough stardom (he is the highest ranked living person on the American Film Institute’s list of greatest male screen legends), and trauma.
In 1991, Douglas was involved in a harrowing helicopter crash that killed two people and nearly two more, including himself. With the near-death experience, Kirk Douglas began focusing on his priorities: his family and his faith.
Douglas returned to Judaism, which he had not practiced in adulthood, leading to a Bar Mitzvah at age 81. His wife converted and they renewed their vows in the same faith together.
His family went all out to celebrate his 101st year. While he spent his birthday party with some family members, others couldn’t make the festivities, so they sent Instagram birthday messages. Catherine Zeta Jones, Douglas’s daughter-in-law, sent him a lovely message. She had just recently accompanied him on stage to help present the award for Best Screenplay at the 75th Golden Globes. Grandson Dylan Douglas posted a humorous picture of he and his grandfather on Instagram, writing “Happy birthday 101 years and still sexy love you with all my heart Pappy.”
He was also visited by Dame Judi Dench a few days before his birthday. They spoke and bonded on their shared birthday–December 9–and actress Dench was honored with the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film in late November.
“I will never forget this moment,” Dench said of meeting Douglas. “He is a legend in our family.”
Congratulations to Kirk Douglas on the big 1-0-1 birthday bash!