When legendary actor Kirk Douglas died Feb. 5 at the age of 103, having amassed a fortune of $61 million over his long, storied career, he left nothing to his son, Michael Douglas.
Instead, he chose to leave his money to charities that were important to him, including one he founded, Culver City’s Kirk Douglas Theatre, which has been operated by the Center Theater Group since 2004 and this year is producing the one-man show “Sakina’s Restaurant,” from former “The Daily Show” correspondent Aasif Mandvi, among other shows.
Douglas, who has always been philanthropic according to the Instagram post written by Michael Douglas announcing his father’s death, asked that $50 million of the money he’d made over his film career, would be given away through the Douglas Foundation, the Mirror reported.
Other beneficiaries included Douglas’ alma mater, St. Lawrence University, which posted its own tribute to Kirk Douglas after learning of his death.
Westwood’s Sinai Temple and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles were also recipients of funding from the Douglas Foundation.
The Douglas Foundation was established in 1964 by Kirk and Anne Douglas and is considered one of the most expansive private philanthropic institutions in the entertainment industry. Douglas, whose career started in 1946, had already starred in several high-profile films including “The Glass Menagerie,” “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” and the movie for which he is perhaps most well known, “Spartacus,” a Stanley Kubrick film with the screenplay written by Dalton Trumbo, which allowed him to fund the foundation.
“Spartacus” was the first film Trumbo had been recognized as writing since being blacklisted as one of the Hollywood Ten during the years when politicians feared Communism was overtaking Hollywood, but Douglas himself announced that Dalton would be writing the screenplay, and President John F. Kennedy crossed picket lines to view the film, effectively ending the blacklisting. The movie won four Academy Awards, although none for Douglas, who never took home an Oscar until he received an honorary one in 1996, and was the biggest moneymaker in Universal Studios’ history until the 1970 disaster film “Airport.”
But Michael Douglas had no need for funds from his father’s estate. According to the website Celebrity Net Worth, Michael Douglas is worth an estimated $300 for movies such as “Wall Street” and “Basic Instinct,” as well as producing the now-classic movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which starred Jack Nicholson.
Along with the money raised by his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, the two have an estimated net worth of approximately $350 million.
Kirk Douglas’ health has been worsening since he suffered a stroke in 1996, although he had made a few movie appearances since then.