LOS ANGELES – Kirk Douglas, the last great leading man of Hollywood’s golden age, turned 101 Saturday without a lot of fanfare but surrounded by his loved ones and after recently meeting Judi Dench, who received the prize named after the actor at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
Douglas and Dench, Hollywood royalty, got together at his home in Los Angeles a day before the British dame was to receive the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film last Nov. 30 in Santa Barbara, People magazine reported.
“I will never forget this moment. He is a legend in our family,” said Dench, born on the same date as Douglas 83 years ago.
Douglas, together with another centenarian, Olivia de Havilland – she turned 101 last July – forms part of a select if scant group of still living stars from Hollywood’s classic era.
In November he was seen at a ceremony where his daughter-in-law, Catherine Zeta Jones – married to Michael Douglas – received an honor named after Kirk’s wife, the Anne Douglas Award at the Los Angeles Mission Legacy of Vision Gala, one of the very few occasions when the actor has attended a public event in recent years.
Nonetheless, in April, Douglas said in an interview with USA Today, accompanied by Anne, his wife of 63 years, that she is “the most difficult woman I ever met.”
“I mean, I was a big movie star! And I invited her to dinner and she said, ‘Oh thank you very much, but I’m so tired,’” Douglas remembered about meeting his wife on the set of “Act of Love,” when she was working as a publicist for the film.
“With no romance in the picture, I stopped trying to impress Anne. Instead, I stopped talking about myself and began to listen to her,” Douglas wrote in his book “Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood.”
At age 101, Douglas easily handles the iPad Anne gave him for his centennial, and doesn’t let a day go by without a small shot of alcohol.
“I was lucky enough to find my soul mate 63 years ago, and I believe our wonderful marriage and our nightly ‘golden hour’ chats have helped me survive all things,” Douglas wrote recently in an ode to Anne.