Honoring Kirk Douglas


Congressman Paul Tonko and Mayor Michael Cinquanti both wrote tributes to Amsterdam native and iconic actor Kirk Douglas, who passed away yesterday at the age of 103.

Tonko wrote:

Amsterdam mourns the news that the lifelong winning performance of our favorite celebrity son Kirk Douglas has come to an end.

Kirk Douglas was many things to many fans, but to the people of Amsterdam he was a reminder that even small towns can produce great legends.

I will always treasure the memory of marching in the streets of Amsterdam as a young assemblyman next to Kirk Douglas and Governor Mario Cuomo for our city’s 200th anniversary parade.

Kirk started his great career on the stage of Amsterdam High School and today he is immortalized across Amsterdam, including his name emblazoned on the deck of our iconic Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook as a reminder of his roots, his strength and the values and spirit of community that come from growing up in the Mohawk Valley.

Kirk’s Amsterdam roots gave us an enduring pride and faith to know the kid next door could make it in the bright lights of Hollywood.

His humble beginnings were a statement of the uniquely American dream that touched many of our immigrant ancestors, and his life of service was a testament to the deep humanitarian spirit of our hometown.

My heartfelt condolences to Kirk’s family and all who knew and loved him. May his spirit rest forever in peace.

Cinquanti wrote:

It is a sad day in our city as we mourn the death of our most famous native son, the brilliant actor Kirk Douglas. At the same time it is a proud day because his passing yesterday at the age of 103 caused people around the world to once again focus on and celebrate his amazing legacy.
Though he was best known for his work as an actor, Douglas was also a best-selling author, a trailblazing producer and a passionate defender of human rights. He left Amsterdam after he graduated from high school in 1934 but he never forgot his family or his hometown. Though he insisted on anonymity, he has been most generous to many worthy charitable causes and old Amsterdam friends over the years.
As far as I’m concerned however, his most valuable contribution to our city was the lesson and inspiration he provided to thousands upon thousands of folks who were born here. Whenever I’ve traveled around the country and been asked what my hometown is famous for, I’ve always answered that Kirk Douglas was born here. So thank you Mr. Douglas for providing me with such a great response and for representing our city with so much class these many years.
On behalf of the citizens of Amsterdam, I extend our deepest sympathies to his family and have ordered the flag at city hall and the public safety building lowered to half staff in his honor. May he rest in peace.