In 1996, Kirk won an Honorary Academy Award “for fifty years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community.” He has been nominated for the Academy Award as Best Actor three times: for Champion in 1950, The Bad and the Beautiful in 1953, and Lust for Life in 1957. He received the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award in 1991. In 1999, the AFI also placed him on its list of the top fifty stars of American cinema.
In 1981, Kirk was presented with the Presidential Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest civilian award, in recognition of his work as a goodwill ambassador for the U.S. State Department throughout the world. The French government presented him with the Legion of Honor in 1985. In 2001, he received the National Medal of the Arts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Kirk has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard, one of the few ever to be stolen and replaced. In 2004, a street in Palm Springs, California was named “Kirk Douglas Way” in his honor.