Michael Douglas memorializes stepmother Anne Douglas, widow to Kirk Douglas, after she dies at 102 


Anne Douglas, wife to the late actor Kirk Douglas, died Thursday at her home in Beverly Hills at the age of 102.

Michael Douglas, her stepson, paid a moving tribute to his stepmother with a statement to People later in the day.

‘Anne was more than a stepmother, and never ‘wicked.’ She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father,’ said the 76-year-old Academy Award winner.

Saying goodbye: Michael Douglas, 76, paid tribute to his late stepmother Anne Douglas in a statement to People on Thursday following her death earlier in the day at her home in Beverly Hills at age 102; Douglas seen in 2019 in NYC

Nothing but the best: 'Anne was more than a stepmother, and never 'wicked.' She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father,' said the Academy Award winner

Nothing but the best: ‘Anne was more than a stepmother, and never ‘wicked.’ She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father,’ said the Academy Award winner

‘Dad would never have had the career he did without Anne’s support and partnership,’ Douglas continued.

‘Catherine [Zeta-Jones] and I and the children adored her; she will always be in our hearts.’   

No cause of death was given for the former film publicist, but she reportedly died peacefully in the afternoon at the Beverly Hills home where she lived with her husband Kirk for 66 years.  

Her death comes just over one year after the Hollywood legend died at the age of 103 on February 5, 2020.   

Wind under his wings: 'Dad would never have had the career he did without Anne's support and partnership,' Douglas continued. 'Catherine [Zeta-Jones] and I and the children adored her; she will always be in our hearts'

Wind under his wings: ‘Dad would never have had the career he did without Anne’s support and partnership,’ Douglas continued. ‘Catherine [Zeta-Jones] and I and the children adored her; she will always be in our hearts’

Moved: Social media users flocked to Twitter after news of Anne's death to pay tribute to the noted philanthropist and Hollywood fixture

Moved: Social media users flocked to Twitter after news of Anne’s death to pay tribute to the noted philanthropist and Hollywood fixture 

Social media users flocked to Twitter after news of Anne’s death to pay tribute to the noted philanthropist and Hollywood fixture.

Among those remembering her was Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group, which counts among its venues the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

“@CTGLA mourns the passing of a visionary philanthropist,’ the group wrote. ‘Anne Douglas was a dedicated advocate for the theatre and a remarkable woman who helped build Center Theatre Group in its early years,’ began the statement attributed to Artistic Director Michael Ritchie.

He added that Anne ‘changed the face of Southern California Theatre with the launching of the Kirk Douglas Theatre, and was a dear member of our family throughout her life. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Anne Douglas and our thoughts are with the Douglas family in this difficult time…’

Art advocate: Center Theatre Group, which includes the Kirk Douglas Theatre, applauded her for helping to build the organization with her husband. The theater will dim its lights on May 1 at 8 p.m.

Art advocate: Center Theatre Group, which includes the Kirk Douglas Theatre, applauded her for helping to build the organization with her husband. The theater will dim its lights on May 1 at 8 p.m.

Ritchie wrote that the lights of the Kirk Douglas Theatre would be dimmed on Saturday, May 1 at 8 p.m. in her honor.

‘It is a small recognition of a woman whose [sic] helped make that theatre possible and whose spirit will live on in all the lives she touched,’ he continued.

‘When we are safely able to welcome audiences back into the Kirk Douglas Theatre, we will all be giving a standing ovation to both Kirk and Anne Douglas, whose legacies will carry on forever through our work on that special stage.’ 

Charity work: Los Angeles Mission, a Christian non-profit that provides food, clothing and shelter to people experiencing homelessness, also tweeted in honor of Douglas

Charity work: Los Angeles Mission, a Christian non-profit that provides food, clothing and shelter to people experiencing homelessness, also tweeted in honor of Douglas

Los Angeles Mission, a Christian non-profit that provides food, clothing and shelter to people experiencing homelessness, also tweeted in honor of Douglas.

‘We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Mrs. Anne Douglas, beloved widow of Kirk Douglas. Together the Douglas family has been deeply involved in the Los Angeles Mission’s efforts to restore the lives of our city’s homeless,’ it wrote.

‘More than thirty years ago, Anne Douglas’ driving passion led the building of the Mission’s women’s center, the Anne Douglas Center for Women.

‘As Anne herself put it: “If I had but one wish, I think becoming a recognized patron of homeless men and women would be it. I hope together we will be able to alleviate their plight entirely.”‘

The Los Angeles Mission concluded its tweets be adding that it was ‘proud to uphold her legacy and tireless commitment to these causes. Rest In Peace, Anne. We love you.’ 

Some Twitter users were astounded at Anne and Kirk Douglas' longevity

Some Twitter users were astounded at Anne and Kirk Douglas’ longevity

Wow: Kirk, who died in February 2020, was 103 years old, and Anne almost matched him at 102

Wow: Kirk, who died in February 2020, was 103 years old, and Anne almost matched him at 102

Having a laugh: Film critic and ET Canada producer Rachel West attributed their long lives to good genes and joked that 'Michael Douglas will live forever,' even though he's not a blood relation of Anne's

Having a laugh: Film critic and ET Canada producer Rachel West attributed their long lives to good genes and joked that ‘Michael Douglas will live forever,’ even though he’s not a blood relation of Anne’s

Spill the beans! Felix Kay joked that he wanted to know the Hollywood couple's secret to a long life

Spill the beans! Felix Kay joked that he wanted to know the Hollywood couple’s secret to a long life

Some Twitter users were astounded at Anne and Kirk Douglas’ longevity, as both were over 100 years old when they died.

‘The Centennial Couple- R I P,’ wrote one users. 

‘Wow! 102! That’s amazing!’ gushed one person, while another user saluted the couple for living ‘long lives.’

‘They live to be very old. That is amazing in itself in Hollywood,’ opined one tweeter. 

Film critic and ET Canada producer Rachel West attributed their long lives to good genes.

‘This is a family with incredible genes. Michael Douglas will live forever,’ she joked, though Michael isn’t biologically related to Anne.

‘Look, I know it’s sad. But I have to say. Whatever these two were doing or eating I want to know,’ wrote Felix Kay on Twitter, who added, ‘103yrs old for Kirk and 102yrs for Anne.. Wow!’

Tough time: Others kept Michael and the other living Douglas family children in their thoughts. One person considered 'your parents dying months apart' while sympathizing with Michael

Tough time: Others kept Michael and the other living Douglas family children in their thoughts. One person considered ‘your parents dying months apart’ while sympathizing with Michael

Missing him: 'She probably missed her Kirk,' suggested on user

Missing him: ‘She probably missed her Kirk,’ suggested on user

Paying respects: Another person wrote, 'Prayers going out to the family'

Paying respects: Another person wrote, ‘Prayers going out to the family’

Others kept Michael and the other living Douglas family children in their thoughts.

‘Wow. Imagine your parents dying months apart from each other. I feel for Michael Douglas. RIP,’ read one tweet.

‘She probably missed her Kirk,’ suggested on user. 

Another person wrote, ‘Prayers going out to the family.’  

Did it all: Douglas had a long career in the entertainment industry as a location scout for John Huston, a publicist at Cannes and then the president of Kirk's production company

Did it all: Douglas had a long career in the entertainment industry as a location scout for John Huston, a publicist at Cannes and then the president of Kirk’s production company

Going strong: In her later life, she became well known for her philanthropy work, including founding the Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission and cofounding The Douglas Foundation with her husband

Going strong: In her later life, she became well known for her philanthropy work, including founding the Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission and cofounding The Douglas Foundation with her husband

Douglas had a long career in the entertainment industry as a location scout for John Huston, a publicist at Cannes and then the president of Kirk’s production company. 

In her later life, she became well known for her philanthropy work, including founding the Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission and cofounding The Douglas Foundation with her husband. 

Born Hannelore Marx on April 23, 1919 in Hannover, Germany, to a socialite mother and textile store owner father, she moved to Switzerland in her youth to attend boarding school.

She wed her first husband Albert Buydens and the two fled to Paris during World War II to escape the Nazis.

Her education – being fluent in German, English, French and Italian – put her in good stead as it was there that she embarked on the beginning of her long movie industry career.  

She first got a job writing German subtitles for movies, before producing an NBC program called Paris Cavalcade of Fashion in 1948. 

Anne then met Kirk on the set of  Act of Love in Paris back in 1953 when he was starring in the film and she was doing publicity for it. 

But the couple later revealed in their joint 2017 book ‘Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood’ that she spurred his advances at first.

On her own: Her death comes just over one year after Hollywood legend Kirk died at the age of 103 back on February 5 2020.  Pictured together at the BAFTAs in London in 1985

On her own: Her death comes just over one year after Hollywood legend Kirk died at the age of 103 back on February 5 2020.  Pictured together at the BAFTAs in London in 1985

Socialites: Anne and Kirk Douglas attend the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at the Sunset Tower Hotel on February 24 2013 in West Hollywood

Socialites: Anne and Kirk Douglas attend the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at the Sunset Tower Hotel on February 24 2013 in West Hollywood

At the time, she was still married to Buydens and he was engaged to Italian actress Pier Angeli. 

Kirk offered her a job as his assistant but she turned it down, before finally agreeing to work with him making clear it would be ‘strictly business’.  

Their relationship soon blossomed.  

‘We talked for hours, and I had a strange feeling in my heart that I could fall in love with this man,’ Anne wrote in their book. 

‘I didn’t want to, because I had seen too many young women enter into intense affairs with visiting movie stars — Dean Martin, Marlon Brando, Cary Grant among them. 

‘Then the film wrapped and the men returned to their wives and families.’

One year later, they married in Las Vegas and they had two sons Peter, born in 1955, and Eric, born in 1958.  

Eric went on to become an actor and stand-up comedian but tragically died of an accidental drug overdose in 2004 aged 46. 

In the business: Anne worked on film productions in Europe before meeting her future husband

In the business: Anne worked on film productions in Europe before meeting her future husband

Meet cute: Anne and Kirk (pictured at their home in Beverly Hills in 2008) met on the set of Act of Love in Paris back in 1953 and married the next year in Las Vegas

Meet cute: Anne and Kirk (pictured at their home in Beverly Hills in 2008) met on the set of Act of Love in Paris back in 1953 and married the next year in Las Vegas

Peter is an TV and film producer who won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama or Comedy Special for Inherit the Wind in 1988. 

Anne’s movie career continued to take off throughout the 50s as she worked for director John Huston as a location scout and assistant on Moulin Rouge in 1952.

The next year, she did a three-year stint as head of protocol at the Cannes Film Festival.

Later, she went on to work as president of her husband’s independent film production company the Bryna Co.

There she worked as a producer on Peg Leg, Musket & Sabre and Posse which Kirk starred in. 

Her husband said much of the success of his own career was down to his wife.

‘I often wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn’t married Anne. I might not have survived without her business acumen and her finely-honed instincts,’ Kirk once said.  

The couple also revealed how a bad feeling caused Anne to stop her husband getting on a private plane from Palm Springs to New York with director Michael Todd in 1958, which later crashed killing all on board. 

Close call: In a 2017 book they coauthored, Anne revealed she stopped Kirk from getting on a private plane in 1958. It crashed, killing everyone on the flight he would have been on; pictured together at The Los Angeles Mission and Anne Douglas Center for Women Gala in 2013

Close call: In a 2017 book they coauthored, Anne revealed she stopped Kirk from getting on a private plane in 1958. It crashed, killing everyone on the flight he would have been on; pictured together at The Los Angeles Mission and Anne Douglas Center for Women Gala in 2013

‘I don’t know what came over me, but I had a strange feeling,’ she wrote in their book. 

‘Absolutely not, Kirk. I don’t want you on that plane. You can fly commercial and meet him there.’

When they learned the plane had crashed in New Mexico, Kirk said he told her: ‘Darling, you saved my life. I will always trust your intuition from now on.’ 

Anne later went on to focus much of her time to her philanthropy work.

She campaigned to build the Los Angeles County Music Center and served on the boards of the Mark Taper Forum and the Center Theater Group for decades. 

She championed women’s careers cofounding the Cedars-Sinai Research for Women’s Cancers and launched the Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission.

Giving back: Together, the couple also set up The Douglas Foundation which focuses on improving the education and health and providing opportunities for children

Giving back: Together, the couple also set up The Douglas Foundation which focuses on improving the education and health and providing opportunities for children

Together, the couple also set up The Douglas Foundation which focuses on improving the education and health and providing opportunities for children.

Over the years, the foundation has donated millions to a wide range of institutions, from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.  

She leaves behind son Peter, stepson Michael and Joel, daughters-in-law Catherine and Lisa, grandchildren Cameron, Dylan, Carys, Kelsey, Tyler, Jason and Ryan, great-grandchildren Lua Izzy and Ryder, and sister Merle.  

Family: She leaves behind son Peter, stepson Michael and Joel, daughters-in-law Catherine and Lisa, grandchildren Cameron, Dylan, Carys, Kelsey, Tyler, Jason and Ryan, great-grandchildren Lua Izzy and Ryder, and sister Merle; seen in 2001

Family: She leaves behind son Peter, stepson Michael and Joel, daughters-in-law Catherine and Lisa, grandchildren Cameron, Dylan, Carys, Kelsey, Tyler, Jason and Ryan, great-grandchildren Lua Izzy and Ryder, and sister Merle; seen in 2001





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