Kirk Douglas lived to the age of 103 – key to longevity

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As a leading star of Hollywood’s golden age, Kirk Douglas was nominated for three Academy Awards, for Champion (1949), The Bad And Beautiful (1952), and Lust for Life (1956). Born into a Jewish family on December 9, 1916, in New York, Kirk went on to train in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He made his Broadway debut in Spring Again, before his career was interrupted by World War II.

Joining the Navy in 1941, Kirk resumed his acting profession by 1946 in The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers.

In 1951, Kirk was divorced from his first wife, Diana, who he had two children with: Joel and Michael.

It was his son, the famed actor Michael Douglas, who shared with People magazine that his father had passed away on February 5, 2020.

“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” Michael said.

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“To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years.

“[He was] a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.”

Kirk had two other children during his lifetime – Eric and Peter – who he shared with his second wife, Anne, who he was with until his death.

“To me and my brothers… he was simply Dad,” Michael said of his father.

“To Catherine, [he was] a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband.”

Loved by many generations, it even “shocked” Kirk that he would live to be 100 and beyond.

“That’s shocked me, really. And it’s sad, too,” Kirk had told The Guardian in 2017.

“I miss Burt Lancaster – we fought a lot, and I miss him a lot. And John Wayne, even though he was a Republican and I was a Democrat.”

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While his secret to longevity has been tight-lipped, the best way to live longer is to avoid disease.

Experts at Harvard Health recommend five tips for increasing the chances of a long, healthy life.

These include not smoking, being physically active every day, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough vitamin D and calcium.

The National Institutes of Health warned that a sedentary lifestyle raises your risk of disease, disability and death.

“Research shows that genes account for less than one third of your chances of surviving to age 85,” said Doctor Thomas Perls.

“The vast majority of variation in how old we live to be is due to our health behaviours.”

Thus, if you want to live a long and healthy life, you need to craft healthy habits.

Kirk Douglas stars in The Heroes Of Telemark, showcasing on BBC Two on Saturday, October 1 at 2pm.

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