By Mandi Bierly
Updated September 30, 2010 at 09:38 PM EDT

Kirk Douglas and Kim Novak have issued the following statements to EW about the passing of Tony Curtis, their friend and former co-star.

“This is a personal loss for me,” Douglas says. “Tony and I were two Jewish kids from poverty-level families who could not believe our luck in making it as big Hollywood stars. We had a lot in common, and shared a warm friendship and many adventures both on and off the screen for more than half a century. I still have one of Tony’s first paintings which he gave me years ago. I did three movies with him, and he was a much better actor than people realize: look at Some Like It Hot or The Defiant Ones. It’s hard for me to believe he’s gone because we had a long phone visit not too long ago. My heart goes out to Jill and all of his children.” Douglas and Curtis costarred in 1960’s Spartacus, 1958’s The Vikings, and 1963’s The List of Adrian Messenger.

“He was such a charming man,” says Novak, Curtis’ costar in 1980’s The Mirror Crack’d and the 1973 TV movie The Third Girl from the Left. “He always had an upbeat outlook on life. We got along very well because we both were interested in the visual arts and we had a unique perspective on life.”