Kirk Douglas, Still Bruised from a Copter Crash, Reaffirms His Lust for Life at a Starry Tribute to His Career
Still shaky from a helicopter crash three weeks earlier, Douglas, 74, was there to receive the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. The $1,000-a-plate dinner was capped by a culinary salute to the actor's Oscar-nominated role as Van Gogh in the 1956 movie Lust for Life: palette-shaped cookies bearing "paint dabs" of red, green and yellow sorbet, accompanied by chocolate paintbrushes. Douglas's family turned out in force, notably his wife of 36 years, Anne, his four sons, Michael, 46, Joel, 44, Peter, 35, and Eric, 32, and Michael's son, Cameron, 12, who skipped baseball practice in Santa Barbara for the occasion.
Michael handled the emcee duties as one star after another rose to offer tableside testimonials. Said Sly Stallone, who stars in the forthcoming Oscar (in which Douglas makes a cameo appearance): "Kirk, you were one of the reasons I went into films." Actress Patricia Neal confessed that, while shooting 1965's In Harm's Way with Douglas in Honolulu, "we only had one scene together, and I kept trying to mess it up so we might get to shoot it a second day."
After a screening of clips from some of the 78 movies that Douglas has made over the past 45 years, the deeply moved guest of honor told the crowd that, unconscious after his accident, he had failed to see his life flash before him. "But thank God," he said, "I got a second chance to see it tonight."
On Newsstands Now
- Kim's Delivery Room Drama!
- Katie: A Year After Split
- Princess Kate: Palace's Baby Plan Revealed
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine