Kirk Douglas is turning 100 on December 9th. He will be celebrating his milestone birthday this week alongside 200 of his closest friends and family at a party hosted by his son Michael and daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta Jones. And, right by his side, his 97-year-old wife Anne.
After serving in the Navy in World War II, Kirk got his first audition in 1946, for The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers. Douglas (right) has starred in over 90 films, such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Bad and the Beautiful, and Spartacus. He worked with Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Lana Turner, among others. Douglas also appeared in television and theater over his eight-decade career.
He also purchased the rights to the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest early in his career, turning it into a 1963 Broadway play. Kirk starred in the production, which ran for just five months and received mixed reviews from critics. After the play closed he tried to find a producer who was interested in making a film version of the novel, but gave up after 10 years and handed over the movie rights to his son Michael. Kirk believed he was too old for the lead role at that point, which instead, went to Jack Nicholson. The film opened in 1975 to universal praise, and it cleaned up at the Academy Awards, taking home five statuettes, including Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Picture. Kirk, a three-time Oscar nominee, received the Academy’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.
Gifts will not be necessary, Kirk revealing that he views his birthday as a chance to give back to others, rather than accept presents. For his birthday last year, the couple donated $15 million to Harry’s Haven, an Alzheimer’s treatment facility located just outside Los Angeles, and takes care of patients who previously worked in the motion picture or television industry. Thanks to that donation, the organization was able to expand, adding a two-story building that they named the Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion. He and Anne have stated that almost all of their fortune, reported to be around $80 million, will be given to charities and other organizations upon their deaths.
The birthday festivities will feature a surprise element, and Kirk admits that he has no idea what to expect.
Van Williams was the actor best known for his television role as Britt Reid, and his earlier leading part in the Warner Brothers detective series Bourbon Street Beat, and sequel, Surfside 6. Williams teamed for one season with the late Bruce Lee (right) in The Green Hornet, on ABC during the 1966–1967 season.
Williams was discovered in 1957 by producer Mike Todd, right before he died tragically in a plane crash. Van had a busy small screen career, guest starring in The Beverly Hillbillies, The Big Valley, Nanny and the Professor, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Streets of San Francisco, and The Rockford Files. He also made three memorable appearances with Lee on Batman, as The Green Hornet and Kato.
Van retired from acting in 1982, and he became a longtime reserve deputy sheriff in Los Angeles County. He worked at the Malibu substation.
Van Williams was 82.
Until next time> “never forget”