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Michael Douglas grows emotional during TV appearance with revelation about late father Kirk's passing at 103

The Franklin actor, 79, opened up about his relationship with his father Kirk Douglas

Michael and Kirk Douglas at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in 2012
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
16 April 2024
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Michael Douglas is reflecting on his late father's admirable legacy, their evolving relationship before his passing, and one of his final gifts to him.

The Franklin actor's father was legendary actor Kirk Douglas – best known for his work in westerns and war movies – who had an over 60 year career in Hollywood before he passed away aged 103 in 2020.

Four years later, his Oscar-winning son continues to honor his memory, and grew a little emotional during his latest TV appearance while recalling their relationship.

Speaking on The View Tuesday morning while promoting his new period series Franklin, in which he stars as Benjamin Franklin, host Whoopi Goldberg brought up the collection of "leather-bound scripts" Douglas left his son before his passing.

Michael then explained: "In those days, I mean – now as you know they just keep sending you copies of rewrites and rewrites – but in those days, when I started, you had your script [where] you wrote your notes."

After recalling some of his dad's most famous roles, from Vincent Van Gogh in 1956's Lust for Life to the titular character in 1960's Spartacus, Michael reflected: "To see his notes and everything was a very special moment."

He then spoke of how their relationship evolved from when he was a kid and later adult – and a successful actor – noting: "Of course that was an age when I was so young and missed my father, him doing these pictures, but now when you get there yourself, you look back and see what he's done…"

Kirk Douglas pays surprise visit to his son Michael Douglas on the movie set, "Hail, Hero" © Getty
The Douglases on the set of Hail, Hero! circa 1969

"As a child we didn't see him [as much] we had a little more distance," he explained, before adding: "But certainly later in life we became very, very close."

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He maintained: "I just admire him so much for what he's accomplished," and emphasized: "He was an extraordinary man, just extraordinary, [with] incredible stamina."

Diana Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas and Cameron Douglas© Getty
Michael with his parents and son Cameron

And when host Joy Behar couldn't help but wonder: "Is it difficult to have dinner with Spartacus?" Michael couldn't help but point out one of his favorite jokes from his father, who would say: "If I knew how successful Michael was going to be, I would have been nicer to him!"

MORE: Catherine Zeta-Jones is glowing as she reveals incredible wedding pictures with daughter Carys

Kirk Douglas and his daughter-in-law/actress Catherine Zeta-Jones arrive at the premiere of "The In-Laws" at the Cinerama Dome May 19, 2003© Getty
Catherine Zeta-Jones with her father-in-law in 2003

He capped off his appearance on the morning show with a sweet shout-out to Whoopi, telling her how much his father "loved" her.

"We both saw you when you were first on Broadway, does your audience know what a great stand-up comedian you are?" Michael wondered, to which the Sister Act actress aptly replied: "They might know, they might not, but they know how brilliant you are."

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