Kirk grew up poor, the son of immigrants. He served in the Navy in World War 2, and then became one of the biggest Hollywood stars in the '50 and '60s.

His career highlights include: "Ace in the Hole" in 1950, "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" in 1957, "Paths of Glory" in 1957, "Spartacus" in 1960, "Lonely Are the Brave" in 1962, "Seven Days in May" in 1964, and "The Man from Snowy River" in 1982.

He was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar three times . . . for "Champion" in 1949, "The Bad and the Beautiful" in 1951, and "Lust for Life" in 1956. He didn't win those . . . but the Academy awarded him an honorary Oscar in 1996.

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Kirk almost didn't make it this long. He nearly died in a helicopter crash in 1991 . . . and then he suffered a stroke in 1996 that left him unable to speak. He was later able to teach himself to speak again, and he even became a big deal on MySpace.

Kirk was survived by his second wife, Anne, who herself is 100 years old.

Of course, he was also the father of MICHAEL DOUGLAS, who said, quote, "To the world he was a legend, but to me and my brothers he was simply Dad .

"[Here are] the words I told him on his last birthday and which will always remain true. 'Dad, I love you so much, and I am so proud to be your son.'"

Michael's wife CATHERINE ZETA-JONES said, quote, "To my darling Kirk, I shall love you for the rest of my life. I miss you already. Sleep tight."

Rob Reiner said, quote, "KIrk Douglas will always be an icon in the pantheon of Hollywood. He put himself on the line to break the blacklist. My love goes out to my friend Michael and the whole family."

Steven Spielberg said, quote, "Kirk retained his movie star charisma right to the end of his wonderful life and I'm honored to have been a small part of his last 45 years.

"I'll miss his handwritten notes, letters and fatherly advice, and his wisdom and courage . . . even beyond such a breathtaking body of work . . . are enough to inspire me for the rest of mine."

"Hollywood Reporter"