Kirk Douglas says in a new book that he reached out to the drug-addicted and prison-bound Robert Downey, Jr., with an encouraging letter back in 1999 — and the Hollywood legend used his note to admit his own failure as a father!
Years before the “Iron Man” star emerged as the world’s highest paid actor, he was nearly unrivaled as moviedom’s No. 1 screw-up, going from broad acclaim — including a Best Actor Oscar nomination for “Chaplin” — to a series of drug busts, failed rehabs, parole violations and, ultimately, a three-year prison sentence.
The 100-year-old “Spartacus” star, who wrote to the young hellion in December of 1999, shares the missive in the upcoming book “Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter and a Lifetime in Hollywood,” co-authored with his wife Anne Buydens and revealed in advance to The National ENQUIRER.
“You have great talent,” Kirk gushed to Robert in his letter. “A talent such as yours is given to you by God. You have the responsibility of preserving that talent…. I pray that God will give you the strength to deal with your problems so that we may enjoy your talent in the future.”
After signing off “Sincerely, Kirk Douglas,” the father of four — including Oscar-winner Michael Douglas (“Wall Street”) — added a bittersweet confessional postscript. “P.S. I must admit that I have one son that I have not been very successful with my advice,” he wrote. “But maybe I will be more successful with you.”
Douglas’s youngest son Eric Douglas, who struggled mightily with alcohol and drugs through the 1990s, died in 2004 after and accidental overdose of alcohol, tranquilizers and painkillers, according to the autopsy and toxicology reports. In years since, Kirk lamented in interviews that “nothing helped” his son — including multiple interventions, tough love and 20 rounds of rehab.
Maybe it ultimately did work with Robert, who claims to have been drug free since July 2003 and received a full and unconditional pardon for this drug convictions in 2015. In a three-line reply that the book reprints, he addresses Kirk as “KD” and jokes “I’m no schmuck. When advice comes from a good man, I take it!”