Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne in Jerusalem in 2000. Douglas. (AP Photo/Eyal Warshavsky)

Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yisrael Katz joined stars and fans from around the world in mourning the passing of movie star Kirk Douglas at the age of 103.


“I mourn with the family and America the passing of Hollywood legend and father of Michael, Kirk Douglas,” Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yisrael Katz tweeted Thursday.

Douglas was “a proud Jew and great supporter of Israel,” Katz added while lauding his memorable portrayal of US Colonel Mickey Marcus, a Jewish US Army officer who helped the struggle for Israel’s Independence, in the movie Cast a Giant Shadow.”

Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in December 1916, Douglas became an international star who embraced his Judaism at an old age after a near-death air accident in 1991.

In his autobiography “The Ragman’s Son,” he recalled that “years back, I tried to forget that I was a Jew,” but later in his career, he began “coming to grips with what it means to be a Jew,” which became a theme in his life.

Douglas donated a number of playgrounds in Jerusalem, as well as the Kirk Douglas Theater at the Aish Center across from the Kotel, Western Wall.