When actor Kirk Douglas passed away at age 103 [in 2020], he left more than a legacy of incredible films behind him. He also donated his entire fortune to charity.
The son of Jewish Russian immigrants, Douglas rose from being a ragman’s son to a silver screen superstar during Hollywood’s golden age.
His acting career spanned 60 years and over 90 movies, including Spartacus, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Bad and the Beautiful, and The Vikings.
But the three-time Oscar Nominee and Hollywood Walk-of-Famer also made a name for himself as a philanthropist and humanitarian. Douglas and his wife Anne founded the Douglas Foundation to help the poor, with a focus on education, health, and opportunities for disadvantaged children.
The actor became a Goodwill Ambassador for the U.S. State Department in 1963 and received the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’ for his efforts in 1981. Later, he won the Jefferson Award for public service and the French Legion of Honor.
Of his father, his also famous son, Michael, stated, “He leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist who worked to aid the public and bring peace to the planet.”
The Douglas Foundation will distribute $50 million of the actor’s fortune to help those in need. Recipients include his alma mater, St. Lawrence University, to fund the Kirk Douglas Scholarship for underprivileged students.
Contributions will also go to Culver City’s Kirk Douglas Theatre, the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Westwood’s Sinai Temple, which houses the Kirk and Anne Douglas Childhood Center.
Kirk Douglas lived a full and prosperous life and has set a beautiful example of how, since you can’t take it with you, you leave a more powerful legacy when you leave it to those who need it most.
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