We continued on Saturday night to join family and close friends toasting Kirk Douglas on his 90th birthday. A spectacular dinner party at L’Orangerie was perfectly planned and hosted by wife Anne. Dennis Miller hosted a celebration program and proclaimed Kirk Douglas “IS Spartacus!”
Long-time best friend Jack Valenti said he’d arrived from Washington, “The entertainment capital of the world.” Sons Joel, Michael and Peter serenaded their father with a songfest intertwining his film titles, including “Spartacus,” “Ulysses,” “Lust for Life,” “I Walk Alone” and “Cast a Giant Shadow” in tribute to “Issur Danielovitch Demsky” (Kirk’s real name)
“If it weren’t for him — the three of us wouldn’t be here tonight, said Michael.” The gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones serenaded him and a duet by Neile Toffel and Pat Gelbart added Kirk to sing with them in trio on “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”
George Schlatter produced the mini-show.
Don Rickles nixed his expected tirade of insults, closing with, believe it or not, a tender salute to Kirk. Larry Gelbart delivered his tribute to Kirk’s many accomplishments and continuing contributions. But it was Kirk, who stole his own show reciting, totally from memory, a loving sonnet by Shakespeare to wife Anne. He announced to the adoring crowd, “I’ve got to go home now, I just took a Viagra.” He stole his own show.
Among the many longtime friends applauding Kirk was Nancy Reagan with Mere Griffin, also Rabbi David Wolpe, who had officiated at Kirk’s renewed Bar Mitzvah and renewal of wedding vows with Anne on their 50th wedding anniversary. All departing guests were gifted with a box of chocolates from Arthur Cohn, who was overseas. And we all agreed to be on hand for Kirk Douglas’ 100th birthday.