Michael Douglas’ mother Diana, the first wife of Kirk Douglas, has died at the age of 92.
Diana Douglas died of cancer at a motion picture industry retirement home in Los Angeles’ Woodland Hills neighbourhood, according to an obituary from Michael’s production company, Furthur Films.It cited Diana’s husband of 15 years, Donald Webster, of Washington DC.
Born Diana Love Dill in Bermuda, where her family had lived for centuries and her father was attorney general, she later moved to New York and met Kirk Douglas while they were studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
She later went to California on a 200 dollar-a-week contract with Warner Bros against Kirk Douglas’ advice that she try for Broadway instead.
She went on to have a six-decade career as an actress and model, appearing in dozens of movies and television episodes, including the 1987 Steve Martin film Planes, Trains And Automobiles and the TV shows ER and The West Wing, as well as playing stage roles, including some on Broadway.
In May 1943, she appeared on the cover of Life magazine, modelling spring fashions and the obituary released by Michael said: “Kirk Douglas, by then serving in the Navy during World War II, saw her on the cover and told his shipmates he would marry her.”
They wed that November and went on to have two sons, Michael and Joel, before divorcing in 1951.
She wrote in her autobiography, In The Wings And Beyond: “We had brought to marriage such different concepts of what it constituted, what was expected due.”
The two remained on friendly terms and Diana even appeared with Kirk in several movies, including her last film, 2003′s It Runs In The Family, which also starred Michael Douglas and one of her grandsons, Cameron.
She was also married to actor Bill Darrid from 1956 until his death in 1992.