Kirk Douglas, longtime influential movie star, dies at 103

The name Kirk Douglas, has been a household word for many years and his son, Michael, is making a name of his own. Michael is pictured with his father, Kirk Douglas, at a New York social function shown in a 1976 photo. Michael produced the Oscar-winning “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.” (AP)
Singer Aretha Franklin listens to composer Morton Gould, as actor Kirk Douglas looks on following a dinner at the State Department in Washington Saturday, Dec. 3, 1994. (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Doug Mills)
Honoree and actor Michael Douglas, from right, poses with his father actor Kirk Douglas and his son actor Cameron Douglas following a ceremony honoring him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Chris Pizzello)
Actor Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne are shown with their 2-month-old son, Peter Vincent, at Palm Spring, Ca., on Jan. 25, 1956. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Actor Kirk Douglas displays the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award prior to the 19th annual salute honoring Douglas in Beverly Hills, Calif., Thursday, March 7, 1991. (Associated Press/JULIE MARKES)
Actor Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne, right foreground, join other volunteers, including Mort Smiley, third right, and actor Robert Stack and his wife Rosemarie, center, in serving pre-Easter dinner at the Los Angeles Mission on Saturday April 10, 1991. (ASSOCIATED PRESS/John Gaps III)
American actor Kirk Douglas is greeted by his sons, Joel, left, 6, and Michael, 9, after arrival from Europe at Idlewild airport, Queens, New York City on Dec. 15, 1953. (AP Photo)
Anne Douglas, the wife of actor Kirk Douglas, recoils in surprise as her husband pops out of her birthday cake at a party celebrating the occasion at Palm Springs, Calif., on April 23, 1959. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Actor Kirk Douglas, right, visits Debbie Allen, star of Bob Fosse’s Broadway hit “Sweet Charity” backstage Tuesday, June 4, 1986 in New York. (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Frankie Ziths)
FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2018 file photo, actor Kirk Douglas attends a ceremony honoring his son actor Michael Douglas with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Chris Pizzello)
Dressed for his title role of Ulysses, actor Kirk Douglas buys a baseball ticket from Virginia Dolan, member of the U.S. Embassy staff in Rome, Italy, July 6, 1953. Miss Dolan, of Arlington, Va., visited the movie set to sell tickets for the Fourth of July baseball game in Naples between the U.S. Navy team and the Lazio, Italy, team. (AP)
American actor Kirk Douglas in 1977. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Kirk Douglas
FILE – This Aug. 9, 1962 file photo shows actor Kirk Douglas in New York. Douglas died Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 at age 103. (AP/DAB)
FILE - This Dec. 19, 1969 file photo shows actor Kirk Douglas and his wife, Anne, attending the premiere of "Hello Dolly" in Los Angeles. Kirk Douglas died Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 at age 103. (AP Photo/David F Smith, File)
FILE – This Dec. 19, 1969 file photo shows actor Kirk Douglas and his wife, Anne, attending the premiere of “Hello Dolly” in Los Angeles. Kirk Douglas died Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 at age 103. (AP/David F Smith)
Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anne Douglas, Carys Zeta Douglas, Dylan Douglas
FILE – This Dec. 9, 2016 file photo shows actor Kirk Douglas, seated left, holding hands with his wife Anne Douglas, seated right, as they pose with family members, their son Michael, standing second left, his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, standing second and their children, Carys, left, and son Dylan during Kirk’s 100th birthday party in Beverly Hills, Calif. Kirk Douglas died Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 at age 103. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
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Kirk Douglas
FILE - This Dec. 19, 1969 file photo shows actor Kirk Douglas and his wife, Anne, attending the premiere of "Hello Dolly" in Los Angeles. Kirk Douglas died Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 at age 103. (AP Photo/David F Smith, File)
Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anne Douglas, Carys Zeta Douglas, Dylan Douglas
WTOP's Jason Fraley remembers Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas, the intense, muscular actor with the dimpled chin who starred in “Spartacus,” “Lust for Life” and dozens of other films, helped fatally weaken the blacklist against suspected Communists and reigned for decades as a Hollywood maverick and patriarch, died Wednesday, his family said. He was 103.

“To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to,” his son Michael said in a statement on his Instagram account.

Kirk Douglas’ death was first reported by People magazine.

His granite-like strength and underlying vulnerability made the son of illiterate Russian immigrants one of the top stars of the 20th century. He appeared in more than 80 films, in roles ranging from Doc Holliday in “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” to Vincent van Gogh in “Lust for Life.”

He worked with some of Hollywood’s greatest directors, from Vincente Minnelli and Billy Wilder to Stanley Kubrick and Elia Kazan. His career began at the peak of the studios’ power, more than 70 years ago, and ended in a more diverse, decentralized era that he helped bring about.

Always competitive, including with his own family, Douglas never received an Academy Award for an individual film, despite being nominated three times — for “Champion,” “The Bad and the Beautiful” and “Lust for Life.”

But in 1996, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded him an honorary Oscar. His other awards included a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute.

He was a category unto himself, a force for change and symbol of endurance.

In his latter years, he was a final link to a so-called “Golden Age,” a man nearly as old as the industry itself.

In his youth, he represented a new kind of performer, more independent and adventurous than Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and other giants of the studio era of the 1930s and 1940s, and more willing to speak his mind.

Reaching stardom after World War II, he was as likely to play cads (the movie producer in “Bad and the Beautiful,” the journalist in “Ace in the Hole”) as he was suited to play heroes, as alert to the business as he was at home before the camera. He started his own production company in 1955, when many actors still depended on the studios, and directed some of his later films.

A born fighter, Douglas was especially proud of his role in the the downfall of Hollywood’s blacklist, which halted and ruined the careers of writers suspected of pro-Communist activity or sympathies. By the end of the ‘50s, the use of banned writers was widely known within the industry, but not to the general public.

Douglas, who years earlier had reluctantly signed a loyalty oath to get the starring role in “Lust for Life,” provided a crucial blow when he openly credited the former Communist and Oscar winner Dalton Trumbo for script work on “Spartacus,” the epic about a slave rebellion during ancient Rome that was released in 1960. (A few months earlier, Otto Preminger had announced Trumbo’s name would appear on the credits for “Exodus,” but “Spartacus” came out first.)

“Everybody advised me not to do it because you won’t be able to work in this town again and all of that. But I was young enough to say to hell with it,” Douglas said about “Spartacus” in a 2011 interview with The Associated Press. “I think if I was much older, I would have been too conservative: ‘Why should I stick my neck out?'”

Douglas rarely played lightly. He was compulsive about preparing for roles and a supreme sufferer on camera, whether stabbed with scissors in “Ace in the Hole” or crucified in “Spartacus.”

Critic David Thomson dubbed Douglas “the manic-depressive among Hollywood stars, one minute bearing down on plot, dialogue and actresses with the gleeful appetite of a man just freed from Siberia, at other times writhing not just in agony but mutilation and a convincingly horrible death.”

Douglas’ personal favorite was the 1962 Western “Lonely are the Brave,” which included a line of dialogue from a Trumbo script he called the most personal he ever spoke on screen: “I’m a loner clear down deep to my very guts.”

The most famous words in a Douglas movie were spoken about him, but not by him.

In “Spartacus,” Roman officials tell a gathering of slaves their lives will be spared if they identify their leader, Spartacus. As Douglas rises to give himself up, a growing chorus of slaves jump up and shout, “I’m Spartacus!”

Douglas stands silently, a tear rolling down his face.

As Michael Douglas once observed, few acts were so hard to follow. Kirk Douglas was an acrobat, a juggler, a self-taught man who learned French in his 30s and German in his 40s.

Life was just so many walls to crash through, like the stroke in his 70s that threatened — but only threatened — to end his career. He continued to act and write for years and was past 100 when he and his wife published “Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood.”

He was born Issur Danielovitch to an impoverished Jewish family in Amsterdam, New York. His name evolved over time. He called himself Isidore Demsky until he graduated from St. Lawrence University.

He took the name Kirk Douglas as he worked his way through the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, choosing “Douglas” because he wanted his last name still to begin with “D” and “Kirk” because he liked the hard, jagged sound of the “K.”

Douglas was a performer as early as kindergarten, when he recited a poem about the red robin of spring. He was a star in high school and in college he wrestled and built the physique that was showcased in many of his movies. He was determined, hitchhiking to St. Lawrence as a teen and convincing the dean to approve a student loan. And he was tough. One of his strongest childhood memories was of flinging a spoonful of hot tea into the face of his intimidating father.

“I have never done anything as brave in any movie,” he later wrote.

Beginning in 1941, Douglas won a series of small roles on Broadway, served briefly in the Navy and received a key Hollywood break when an old friend from New York, Lauren Bacall, recommended he play opposite Barbara Stanwyck in “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.”

He gained further attention with the classic 1947 film noir “Out of the Past” and the Oscar-winning “A Letter to Three Wives.”

His real breakthrough came as an unscrupulous boxer in 1949’s “Champion,” a low-budget production he was advised to turn down.

“Before ‘Champion’ in 1949, I’d played an intellectual school teacher, a weak school teacher and an alcoholic,” Douglas once said in an interview with the AP. “After ‘Champion,’ I was a tough guy. I did things like playing van Gogh, but the image lingers.”

He had long desired creative control and “Champion” was followed by a run of hits that gave him the clout to form Bryna Productions in 1955, and a second company later.

Many of his movies, such as Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory,” “The Vikings,” “Spartacus,” “Lonely Are the Brave” and “Seven Days in May,” were produced by his companies.

His movie career faded during the 1960s and Douglas turned to other media.

In the 1970s and 1980s, he did several notable television films, including “Victory at Entebbe” and “Amos,” which dealt with abuse of the elderly.

In his 70s, he became an author, his books including the memoir “The Ragman’s Son,” the novels “Dance With the Devil” and “The Gift” and a brief work on the making of “Spartacus.”

“We are living in a town of make-believe,” he told The Associated Press in 2014. “I have done about 90 movies. That means that every time I was pretending to be someone else. There comes a time in your life when you say, well, `who am I?'” he said. “I have found writing books a good substitute to making pictures. When you write a book, you get to determine what part you are playing.”

Douglas also became one of Hollywood’s leading philanthropists. The Douglas Foundation, which he and Anne Douglas co-founded, has donated millions to a wide range of institutions, from the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

In 2015, the foundation endowed the Kirk Douglas Fellowship — a full-tuition, 2-year scholarship — at the American Film Institute.

As a young man, Douglas very much lived like a movie star, especially in the pre-#MeToo era. He was romantically linked with many of his female co-stars and dated Gene Tierney, Patricia Neal and Marlene Dietrich among others.

He would recall playing Ann Sothern’s husband in “A Letter to Three Wives” and how he and the actress “rehearsed the relationship offstage.”

He had been married to Diana Dill, but they divorced in 1951. Three years later, he married Anne Buydens, whom he met in Paris while he was filming “Act of Love” (and otherwise pursuing a young Italian actress) and she was doing publicity.

He would later owe his very life to Anne, with whom he remained for more than 60 years. In 1958, the film producer Michael Todd, then the husband of Elizabeth Taylor, offered the actor a ride on his private jet. Douglas’ wife insisted that he not go, worrying about a private plane, and he eventually gave in. The plane crashed, killing all on board.

Douglas had two children with each of his wives and all went into show business, against his advice.

Besides Michael, they are Joel and Peter, both producers, and Eric, an actor with several film credits who died of a drug overdose in 2004.

Later generations came to regard Kirk as Michael’s father. Michael Douglas not only thrived in Hollywood, but beat his dad to the Oscars with a project his father had first desired.

Kirk Douglas tried for years to make a film out of Ken Kesey’s cult novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

In the 1970s, he gave up and let Michael have a try. The younger Douglas produced a classic that starred Jack Nicholson (in the role Kirk Douglas wanted to play) and dominated the Oscars, winning for best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay.

“My father has played up his disappointment with that pretty good,’’ Michael Douglas later told Vanity Fair. “I have to remind him, I shared part of my producing back-end (credit) with him, so he ended up making more money off that movie than he had in any other picture.”

“And I would gladly give back every cent, if I could have played that role,” the elder Douglas said.

Kirk Douglas’ film credits in the ’70s and ’80s included Brian De Palma’s “The Fury” and a comedy, “Tough Guys,” that co-starred Burt Lancaster, his longtime friend who previously appeared with Douglas in “Seven Days in May,” “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” and other movies.

A stroke in 1996 seemed to end his film career, but Douglas returned three years later with “Diamonds,” which he made after struggling to overcome speech problems.

“I thought I would never make another movie unless silent movies came back,” he joked.

In 2003, Douglas teamed with son Michael; Cameron Douglas, Michael’s 24-year-old son; and ex-wife Diana Douglas, Michael’s mother, for “It Runs in the Family,” a comic drama about three generations of a family, with a few digs worked in about the elder Douglas’ parenting.

In March 2009, he appeared in a one-man show, “Before I Forget,” recounting his life and famous friends. The four-night show in the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City was sold out.

“I’ve often said I’m a failure, because I didn’t achieve what I set out to do,” Douglas told the AP in 2009. “My goal in life was to be a star on the New York stage. The first time I was asked by Hal Wallis to come to Hollywood, I turned him down. ‘Hollywood? That trash? I’m an actor on the Broadway stage!'”

___

The late Associated Press writer Bob Thomas contributed to this report. Biographical material in this story also was written by former AP staffer Polly Anderson.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Katherine Johnson
FILE – In this Feb. 26, 2017, file photo, Katherine Johnson, the inspiration for the film, “Hidden Figures,” poses in the press room at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Johnson died Feb. 24, 2020. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File) (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
In this Jan. 14, 2012 file photo, former model and restaurateur B. Smith arrives at the BET Honors red carpet in the Warner Theatre in Washington. Smith died Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, at her Long Island, New York, home, after battling early onset Alzheimer's disease, according to a family statement on social media. She was 70.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
In this Jan. 14, 2012 file photo, former model and restaurateur B. Smith arrives at the BET Honors red carpet in the Warner Theatre in Washington. Smith died Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, at her Long Island, New York, home, after battling early onset Alzheimer’s disease, according to a family statement on social media. She was 70. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
<p>The up-and-coming rapper known as Pop Smoke was fatally shot during a break-in early Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at a Hollywood Hills home,<a href="https://wtop.com/national/2020/02/man-fatally-shot-in-hollywood-hills-home-during-break-in/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> the Los Angeles Times reported</a>.</p>
Pop Smoke performs at the Pop Smoke Listening Party at Villain on Feb. 6, 2020 in New York City. (WireImage/Johnny Nunez)
Zoe Caldwell
In this June 2, 1996, file photo, Zoe Caldwell holds her award for Leading Actress in a Play for her role in “Master Class” at the 50th Annual Tony Awards in New York. Caldwell, a four-time Tony Award winner famous for portraying larger-than-life characters, has died. Her son Charlie Whitehead said Caldwell died peacefully Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, at her home in Pound Ridge, New York. She was 86. Whitehead said her death was due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. (AP Photo/Ron Frehm, File) (AP/Ron Frehm)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 28: Actress Ja'Net Dubois attends the Black Business Association's Salute to "Black History Awards Dinner" at California African American Museum on February 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images)
Actress Ja’Net Dubois attends the Black Business Association’s Salute to “Black History Awards Dinner” at California African American Museum on February 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Dubois died Feb. 18 at age 74. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Robin L Marshall)
Actress Kellye Nakahara Wallet arrives at the 7th Annual TV Land Awards held at Gibson Amphitheatre on April 19, 2009 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Actress Kellye Nakahara Wallet died Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. She famously played Nurse Kellye in “M*A*S*H,” which ran from 1972-1983. In this 2009 photo, she is seen arriving at the 7th Annual TV Land Awards held at Gibson Amphitheatre on April 19, 2009 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic) (FilmMagic/Jeff Kravitz)
FILE - In this Nov. 18, 2013 file photo, Lynn Cohen arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" at Nokia Theatre LA Live.   Cohen, an actress best known for playing the plainspoken housekeeper and nanny Magda in “Sex and the City,” has died. She was 86. Cohen died Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 in New York City, said her manager, Josh Pultz.  (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
FILE – In this Nov. 18, 2013 file photo, Lynn Cohen arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” at Nokia Theatre LA Live. Cohen, an actress best known for playing the plainspoken housekeeper and nanny Magda in “Sex and the City,” has died. She was 86. Cohen died Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 in New York City, said her manager, Josh Pultz. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) (AP/Jordan Strauss)
Caroline Flack
FILE – In this file photo dated Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011, British TV personality Caroline Flack arrives for the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women of the Year Awards in London. The host controversial reality TV show “Love Island,” has died aged 40, according to a statement from her family Saturday Feb. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Jonathan Short, FILE) (AP/Jonathan Short)
In this March 1993 file photo, Joseph Shabalala, front left, founder of South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo, stands with the group and Paul Simon, front right, as they pose for a photograph. The founder of the South African multi-Grammy-Award-winning music group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala, has died at age 78. Shabalala died at a hospital in the capital Pretoria Tuesday Feb. 11, 2020, his family confirmed to local media. (AP Photo/File)
In this March 1993 file photo, Joseph Shabalala, front left, founder of South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo, stands with the group and Paul Simon, front right, as they pose for a photograph. The founder of the South African multi-Grammy-Award-winning music group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala, has died at age 78. Shabalala died at a hospital in the capital Pretoria Tuesday Feb. 11, 2020, his family confirmed to local media. (AP Photo/File) (AP)
Robert Conrad
FILE – In this June 13, 2013, file photo, actor Robert Conrad poses for photographers during the closing ceremony of the 2013 Monte Carlo Television Festival, in Monaco. Conrad, the rugged, contentious actor who starred in the hugely popular 1960s television series “Hawaiian Eye” and “The Wild, Wild West,” has died at age 84. A family spokesperson says the actor died Saturday morning, Feb. 8, 2020, in Malibu, Calif., from heart failure. (AP/Lionel Cironneau)
KAHN
In this April 25, 1997, file photo, Author Roger Kahn, author of the bestseller “The Boys of Summer”, poses at his home in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Kahn, the writer who wove memoir and baseball and touched millions of readers through his romantic account of the Brooklyn Dodgers died Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, at a nursing facility in Mamaroneck, N.Y., according to his son Gordon Kahn. He was 92. (AP/TODD PLITT)
Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas has died at age 103 on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. His son, actor Michael Douglas, wrote in an Instagram post: “Kirk’s life was well-lived, and 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.” (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
In this undated file photo shows Willie Wood of the Green Bay Packers. Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Wood, captain of the 1959 USC football team who played in the first 2 Super Bowls, died Monday, Feb. 3, 2020 of natural causes in Washington, D.C. He was 83. (AP)
CLARK
In this June 3, 2004 file photograph, author Mary Higgins Clark poses in her home in Saddle River, N.J. Clark, the tireless and long-reigning “Queen of Suspense” whose tales of women beating the odds made her one of the world’s most popular writers, died Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, at age 92. Clark’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, announced that Clark died in Naples, Fla, of natural causes. (AP/MIKE DERER)
Bob Shane, the last surviving original member of the popular folk group the Kingston Trio and the lead singer on its million-selling ballad “Tom Dooley” and many other hits, has died. (AP/Ellis R. Bosworth)
In this April 15, 2014 file photo, Nicholas Parsons poses for the media with his Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) medal given to him by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, Berkshire. British broadcaster Nicholas Parsons, who hosted the witty, wordy radio program “Just a Minute” for more than 50 years, has died at the age of 96. Parson’s agent, Jean Diamond, said he died Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 morning after a short illness. (AP/Steve Parsons)
Kobe Bryant
In this Nov. 26, 2013 file photo Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant smiles during a media availability before an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards in Washington. The Retired NBA superstar has died in helicopter crash in Southern California, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (AP/Alex Brandon)
Jim Lehrer
Moderator Jim Lehrer addresses the audience before the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver. Lehrer died Jan. 23, 2020. He was 85. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
This Sept. 21, 1986 file photo shows actor John Karlen, center, who portrays the husband of detective Mary Beth Lacey on the TV show “Cagney & Lacey, ” posing with presenters Stacy Keach, left, and Angie Dickinson after Karlen won an Emmy for best supporting actor at the Emmy Awards in Pasadena, Calif. Karlen, known for his roles on the television series “Dark Shadows” and “Cagney & Lacey,” died Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, of congestive heart failure in Burbank, Calif. He was 86. (AP/Douglas C. Pizac)
Terry Jones
FILE – This April 24, 2015 file photo shows Terry Jones at a special Tribeca Film Festival screening of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” in New York. Jones was diagnosed in 2015 with a form of dementia that impairs the ability to speak. He died Jan. 22, 2020. (Andy Kropa /Invision/AP/Andy Kropa)
"Mean" Gene Okerlund, Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson
“Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson. Johnson, a WWE Hall of Fame wrestler who became better known as the father of actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, died Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. He was 75. (AP)
Neil Peart, the renowned drummer and lyricist from the band Rush, has died. His rep Elliot Mintz said in a statement Friday that he died at his home Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 67. (Rich Fury/Invision/AP/Rich Fury)
Edward "Kookie" Byrnes, Edd Byrnes
This 1959 file photo shows Edward “Kookie” Byrnes. Edd Byrnes, who played cool-kid Kookie on the hit TV show “77 Sunset Strip,” scored a gold record with a song about his character’s hair-combing obsession and later appeared in the movie “Grease,” has died at age 87. Byrnes died Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, at his home in Santa Monica, Calif., his son, Logan Byrnes, said in a statement. (AP)
Buck Henry, the versatile writer, director and character actor who co-wrote and appeared in “The Graduate,” has died in Los Angeles. He was 89. Henry’s wife, Irene Ramp, told The Washington Post that his death was due to a heart attack. (AP/Dima Gavrysh)
Controversial UK Author Elizabeth Wurtzel wrote “Prozac Nation,” “Bitch” and “The Bitch Rules.” (Corbis via Getty Images/Neville Elder)
David Stern
FILE – In this Wednesday, May 15, 2013 file photo, NBA Commissioner David Stern takes a question from a reporter during a news conference following an NBA Board of Governors meeting in Dallas. David Stern, who spent 30 years as the NBA’s longest-serving commissioner and oversaw its growth into a global power, has died on New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. He was 77. (AP/Tony Gutierrez)
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Katherine Johnson
In this Jan. 14, 2012 file photo, former model and restaurateur B. Smith arrives at the BET Honors red carpet in the Warner Theatre in Washington. Smith died Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, at her Long Island, New York, home, after battling early onset Alzheimer's disease, according to a family statement on social media. She was 70.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
<p>The up-and-coming rapper known as Pop Smoke was fatally shot during a break-in early Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at a Hollywood Hills home,<a href="https://wtop.com/national/2020/02/man-fatally-shot-in-hollywood-hills-home-during-break-in/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> the Los Angeles Times reported</a>.</p>
Zoe Caldwell
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 28: Actress Ja'Net Dubois attends the Black Business Association's Salute to "Black History Awards Dinner" at California African American Museum on February 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images)
Actress Kellye Nakahara Wallet arrives at the 7th Annual TV Land Awards held at Gibson Amphitheatre on April 19, 2009 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
FILE - In this Nov. 18, 2013 file photo, Lynn Cohen arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" at Nokia Theatre LA Live.   Cohen, an actress best known for playing the plainspoken housekeeper and nanny Magda in “Sex and the City,” has died. She was 86. Cohen died Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 in New York City, said her manager, Josh Pultz.  (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Caroline Flack
In this March 1993 file photo, Joseph Shabalala, front left, founder of South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo, stands with the group and Paul Simon, front right, as they pose for a photograph. The founder of the South African multi-Grammy-Award-winning music group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala, has died at age 78. Shabalala died at a hospital in the capital Pretoria Tuesday Feb. 11, 2020, his family confirmed to local media. (AP Photo/File)
Robert Conrad
KAHN
CLARK
Kobe Bryant
Jim Lehrer
Terry Jones
"Mean" Gene Okerlund, Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson
Edward "Kookie" Byrnes, Edd Byrnes
David Stern

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