Philanthropist, producer, and actress Anne Douglas has passed away at the age of 102.
According to the reports, the wife of late Kirk Douglas and the stepmom of Michael Douglas died at her Beverly Hills home. While no cause of death was given, the 102-year-old passed on peacefully.
The tragic news comes just over one year after Kirk Douglas’s death on February 5, 2020.
In a touching statement to his beloved stepmother, Michael Douglas credited Anne for bringing out the best in his family members as he vowed to keep her in his heart forever.
“Anne was more than a stepmother, and never ‘wicked’. She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father,” the actor wrote in his tribute.
“Dad would never have had the career he did without Anne’s support and partnership. Catherine and I and the children adored her; she will always be in our hearts.”
Anne Douglas was born Hannelore Marx in 1919. Amid her upbringing in Hannover, Germany, she moved to Switzerland where she attended a boarding school.
After marrying her first husband, Albert Buydens, the pair moved to Paris, France, to escape the Nazi invaders during the second world war.
As a multilinguist, Anne landed her first job in the entertainment industry as she began making German subtitles for movies. In 1948, she took her career to the next level as she produced an NBC TV program called Paris Cavalcade of Fashion.
Anne met Kirk, her husband of 66 years, in 1953 when he appeared in the Act of Love while she was working on publicity for the same movie.
Though Anne was still married to Buydens, and Douglas was engaged to Italian actress Pier Angeli, at the time, a spark between them soon erupted after Anne started working as Kirk’s assistant.
“We talked for hours, and I had a strange feeling in my heart that I could fall in love with this man. 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,” Anne recalled in her 2017 book.
Nevertheless, Anne and Kirk were soon head over heels and in 1954 they tied a knot in a Las Vegas ceremony. In the following years, the couple gave birth to two sons, Peter and Eric.
Throughout the 50s, Anne remained active in the entertainment industry, whereas she briefly worked for director John Huston before becoming the head of the protocol for Cannes Film Festival for three years.
In the following years, Anne also worked as president of The Bryna Company, a film production company founded by Kirk Douglas in 1955, and went on to produce hits such as Posse and Peg Leg, Musket & Sabre.
In her later life, Anne dedicated much of her time and resources to philanthropy and became a champion for women’s careers. She also founded Anne Douglas Center for Women, Los Angeles Mission, and Cedars-Sinai Research for Women’s Cancers.
Together, Kirk and Anne also founded The Douglas Foundation which has over the years contributed millions towards causes with a focus on improving education and health and developing new opportunities for children.
Our thoughts are with Anne’s family and friends. May she rest in peace.