Diana Douglas, an actress for six decades and a model who was Kirk Douglas’s first wife and Michael Douglas’s mother, has died in Los Angeles. She was 92.
The cause was cancer, according to Michael Douglas’s production company, Furthur Films, citing Ms. Douglas’s husband, Donald A. Webster. Sources vary as to whether she died on Friday or Saturday.
Born Diana Love Dill on Jan 22, 1923, in Bermuda, where her father was the attorney general, Ms. Douglas moved to New York and met Kirk Douglas while they were both studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
She later went to California on a $200-a-week contract with Warner Bros. against Mr. Douglas’s advice that she try for Broadway instead.
She went on to have a long career as an actress and model, appearing in dozens of movies, including the 1987 Steve Martin film “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” On television, she had recurring roles in “The Waltons,” “Dynasty” and “The Paper Chase,” and appeared in “ER” and “The West Wing.” She also did stage roles, including some on Broadway.
In May 1943, she appeared on the cover of Life magazine, modeling spring fashions.
She married Kirk Douglas that November and went on to have two sons, Michael and Joel, before the couple divorced in 1951.
“We had brought to marriage such different concepts of what it constituted, what was expected due,” she wrote in her memoir, “In the Wings and Beyond.” The two remained on amicable terms. She even appeared with him in several movies, including her last film, “It Runs in the Family” (2003), which also starred Michael Douglas and one of her grandsons, Cameron.