Anne Douglas, widow of Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas, died on April 29 at her Beverly Hills home days after turning 102, her family announced. Disappeared in February 2020 at the age of 103, Kirk Douglas had met Anne in 1953 in Paris, while he was shooting the film An act of love. After a frenzied court, he had gotten married to her in Las Vegas on May 29, 1954.
“It wasn’t romantic but it was legal and her new husband promised her that one day he would marry her again with great fanfare.“, recalls his family in the death notice sent to AFP. Kirk Douglas had kept his promise for their 50th wedding anniversary in 2004.
The Douglas couple were married for 66 years and had two sons, Peter and Eric. They formed a family with two other sons, Michael and Joel, whom the actor had from a previous union with Diana Dill. Anne Douglas called the latter “our ex-wife“.
Anne Douglas was born Hannelore Marx to a German family in Hanover on April 23, 1919. Sent to a Swiss boarding school, she had not wanted to return to Hitler’s Germany and had continued her education in Belgium, until the Nazis bombed Brussels in 1940.
Anne had fled by car to France with some friends. As she had German identity documents, her friends had pushed her to marry Albert Buydens to obtain Belgian nationality and she had become Anne Laure Buydens. She was quickly overtaken in France by the occupation of German troops, but her mastery of many languages had enabled her to work for a French film distributor.
After the war, she had continued her career in cinema in France, working for the American channel NBC then for John Huston on the production of red Mill, before meeting her husband.
Anne Douglas has invested a lot in artistic and philanthropic works. In particular, she convinced Kirk Douglas to auction a large part of his collection of works of art to finance the renovation of 400 playgrounds in Los Angeles schools in the late 1990s.
“I have often wondered what would have happened to me if I had not married Anne“, had launched Kirk Douglas, explaining that she had him”avoided ruin“telling him to beware of his lawyer and had him”save the life“by refusing to let him board a crashed plane.”She showed steadfast love when I had my stroke and believed I could never speak or work again“, particularly greeted the actor.