Douglas’ Oscar winning son Michael flew in from New York just to be with his dad on the special day, and then was flying right back where oldest son Cameron is about to make him a grandfather, and Kirk a great-grandfather with the imminent arrival of a baby girl.
Daughter-in-Law Catherine Zeta-Jones couldn’t be at Douglas’ Beverly Hills home in person but via Facetime sang what I am told was an Oscar-worthy rendition of “Happy Birthday” . Kirk’s son Joel drove in from the desert and posed for a photo with Michael and Kirk by spelling out 101 with their fingers. Among other family there in addition of course to wife Anne , was granddaughter Kelsey Douglas who is about to turn 25 and is the latest of the clan to follow grandpa into the acting profession. Memorably three generations of Douglas thesps (Kirk,Michael , Cameron) appeared together in MGM’s It Runs In The Family (2003), which remains to date the last studio film of Kirk’s career, although another guest at the party, CAA’s
Fred Specktor I am told still considers himself the legendary star’s agent should he ever decide to go back to work. Douglas is still very active and his latest book, written with Anne, “Kirk And Anne: Letters Of Love, Laughter, And A Lifetime In Hollywood” was released in May.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, who has cited Kirk as his model for philanthropy , was there. It was just two years ago that I reported on the occasion of his 99th birthday that Douglas’ latest donation of $15 million was made toward the building of the new Alzheimer’s facility to be named The Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s (which Katzenberg chairs) Woodland Hills Campus. Universal Chairman Ron Meyer also came by the lunchtime event and I hear got the same question he always gets which is if he was keeping Kirk Douglas Way on the Universal lot free of potholes. The Spartacus set is still a staple on the studio tour.
Among others at the small gathering were producer George Schlatter and wife Jolene, Neile McQueen Toffel, producer David Permut, writer David Bender, and director Jeff Kanew who made 1986’s Tough Guys which represented the last teaming of Kirk and his good friend Burt Lancaster. Kanew also directed Douglas’ autobiographical piece, Before I Forget at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. Perhaps, the most important guest was Douglas’ cardiologist, Dr. P.K. Shah who per tradition at these annual birthday gatherings brought along the vodka for the one drink a year he allows Kirk to have. Everyone vowed to be back next year to do it all again for his 102nd.