It’s been a few weeks since Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas sadly died and famed director Jeff Kanew can’t help but reminisce on the decades worth of good memories. The American film director, who knew the late actor for over 38 years and worked together on movies like Tough Guy and others, reveals some details inside Kirk’s relationship with son Michael Douglas.

“He was out at work a lot when the kids were growing up, but when he was there, he was very attentive,” Jeff, 75, exclusively tells Closer Weekly, noting the late Sparatus star — who shared sons Michael, 75, and Joel Douglas, 73, with ex-wife Diana Douglas, and Peter Douglas, 64, and late son Eric Douglas with longtime wife Anne Buydens — struggled with a bit of tension between his blended family.

Michael Douglas and father Kirk Douglas

“With Michael, Kirk was married previously and that’s where Michael and Joel were from and I guess there was some sense of disruption and loss,” Jeff continues. “But he and Michael got in. In recent years, they became extremely close. They became very tight.”

The Revenge of the Nerds director — who also worked with Kirk’s family in 2009 to create the incredible documentary Kirk Douglas: Before I Forget — explains how the father-son duo managed to get their relationship back on track.

“I think Michael, in some sense, was motivated to get Kirk’s attention or show Kirk what he could do,” Jeff dishes. “He went out and forged his own career and it was quite a good one so there was no longer this competitive sense between them. They were more like father and son, than the overpowering and overshadowing father, which allowed them to have a very loving relationship.”

Alex Berliner/BEI/Shutterstock

Despite any typical family issues throughout the years, Michael couldn’t have been more heartbroken to announce the passing of his beloved father. The Basic Instinct actor took to Instagram to share the news that Kirk died at his home on February 5.

“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” the Kominsky Method star emotionally wrote. “To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.”

“Kirk’s life was well lived, and he leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist who worked to aid the public and bring peace to the planet,” the Academy Award winner continued. “Let me end with the words I told him on his last birthday and which will always remain true. Dad — I love you so much.”

We will miss you always, Kirk!

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