Here's Who Inherited Kirk Douglas' Money After He Died

Few embodied the spirit of Hollywood like the late Kirk Douglas. On February 5, 2020, the beloved actor passed away at the astounding age of 103 and left in his wake a lifetime of films that showcased his unrivaled talent. Douglas appeared in over 90 movies during his life and worked closely with some of cinema's most renowned icons, including directors Stanley Kubrick and Vincente Minnelli (via Through the Clutter). He was the last surviving entity of Hollywood's Golden Age, and perhaps its most exceptional. 

As a young man, Douglas worked modest jobs to get by during school (he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York City from 1939-1941) and later spent time in the U.S. Navy (per Britannica). Large sums of money didn't arrive until later on, and at the time of his death, Douglas' vast achievements had accrued him a fortune of around $60 million, according to The U.S. Sun.

Kirk Douglas left most of his money to charity

"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," said Michael Douglas, Kirk's oldest son and himself a distinguished actor, following his father's passing. "Dad — I love you so much and I am so proud to be your son." There seemed to be no bitterness or confusion from Michael Douglas or the rest of his family when it was made public that Kirk's significant fortune had gone almost entirely to charity (via The U.S. Sun). 

St. Lawrence University, Westwood's Sinai Temple, and The Douglas Foundation were a few of the organizations that received large shares of Kirk Douglas' fortune after he died. Throughout his life, Douglas had spearheaded charitable efforts and was as much a philanthropist as he was a legend of the screen (per The U.S. Sun).

The Douglas Foundation (est. 1964)

In 1964, Kirk Douglas and his second wife, Anne Douglas, established The Douglas Foundation, a private charitable institution that focuses its efforts — financially and otherwise — on giving to those in need. On their website, the organization states that its "principal goal is to help those who cannot otherwise help themselves." Education, accessible health care, medical research, and granting underprivileged children opportunities to build a brighter future for themselves are among The Douglas Foundation's paramount priorities. There are 13 different grants showcased on the website, including the Anne & Kirk Douglas Recreation & Playground Awards, The Heart Foundation, and The Douglas Family Early Childhood Center.

Before his death, Kirk Douglas personally donated $2.3 million to the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. On his 99th birthday, in 2015, he also donated $15 million dollars to the Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion, a sector of his philanthropic efforts geared toward helping individuals from the entertainment industry who have been afflicted with Alzheimer's (via Good News Network).

Kirk Douglas was born into poverty

"I came from abject poverty. There was nowhere to go but up." Kirk Douglas once shared with Esquire. He was born Issur Danielovitch in 1916 (later changing his name for professional purposes) in Amsterdam, an impoverished neighborhood of New York. Douglas' parents were of Russian-Jewish origin and had immigrated to the United States a few years before his birth with little money to their names. He was one of six children that the couple had to provide for, and in order to make ends meet, Douglas' father earned what he could as a ragman (via Kirk Douglas). (Kirk titled his 1988 memoirs "The Ragman's Son.")

As a teenager, Kirk did what he could to help support his family and worked small jobs throughout high school. It wasn't until after his time in college and a short stint in the military that his acting career took off and he became one of the most prolific film personalities of the 20th century.

Anne Douglas died in 2021

Just over a year after Kirk Douglas died, Anne Douglas passed on as well, on April 29, 2021, at the age of 102. The two had been married for 66 years. In 2017, the couple co-authored a book titled "Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood" in which they recounted the saga of their love through personal reflections. "We talked for hours, and I had a strange feeling in my heart that I could fall in love with this man," Anne shared in one of her sections (via The Hollywood Reporter). 

Her altruistic efforts during her life continue to help those in need through The Douglas Foundation and other charitable enterprises that bear her namesake, like the Anne Douglas Center for Women. "Anne was more than a stepmother, and never 'wicked'. She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father," Michael Douglas shared following the passing of his step-mother (per People).