Kirk Douglas, one of the last of the iconic acting legends from the Golden Age of Hollywood, died today at age 103. Here’s an obituary.

The dynamic performer inspired lots of animated characters over the years, from the visual appearance of Charles Muntz in Disney-Pixar’s Up to the intense emotional characterizations in Nickelodeon’s The Ren & Stimpy Show. But if we had to choose just one piece of animation that best embodies the actor and honors his animation legacy, there’s no question it would have to be The Big Story.

This homage to the actor, in which multiple Douglases do verbal battle with each other, was created by British filmmakers Tim Watts and David Stoten, and would go on to win the 1994 BAFTA for best animated short. It was also nominated for a best animated short Oscar, and with a runtime of 1-minute-56-seconds (with credits), it ranks among the shortest animated films ever nominated for that honor. Frank Gorshin handled the vocal duties as Douglas. Watch the film below:

Prior to its final stop-motion form, the fimmakers created a hand-drawn pencil test version as a blueprint:

For more about the film’s genesis, read this interview with Watts or this other interview with Watts.

Kirk Douglas concept art for "The Big Story."
Kirk Douglas concept art for “The Big Story.”

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