Anne Douglas, wife of late Hollywood great Kirk Douglas, dies aged 102

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Anne Douglas, wife of late Hollywood great Kirk Douglas, dies aged 102

German-born actress, producer and philanthropist passed away peacefully in her sleep according to her family

Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens. Anne, the wife of late Hollywood great has died aged 102, her family said.  (PA Wire/PA Images/Yui Mok)
Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens. Anne, the wife of late Hollywood great has died aged 102, her family said. (PA Wire/PA Images/Yui Mok)

Anne Douglas, the wife of late Hollywood great Kirk Douglas, has died aged 102, her family said.

Douglas, an actress, producer and philanthropist, died peacefully at her home in Beverly Hills on Thursday, according to a statement to the PA news agency.

The German-born star, who converted to Judaism upon renewing her  vows in 2004, celebrated her final birthday on April 23. Kirk, who she married in 1954, died in February last year aged 103.

In a statement, Hollywood actor Michael Douglas, her stepson, said: “She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father.

“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.”

Douglas’ youth was disrupted by the Second World War.

Her father owned a textile factory while her mother was a socialite – she stayed with the former following her parents’ divorce.

Douglas was sent to boarding school in Switzerland and, unwilling to return to Hitler’s Germany, continued her studies in Belgium.

After the Nazis bombed Brussels in 1940, she escaped to France. However, travelling with German papers was considered too risky so she married Albert Buydens to become a Belgian national.

Douglas, who was born Marx, first met her second husband in 1953 when he offered her a job as his publicist while in Paris to film Act Of Love.

She declined his offer and also refused his phoned invitation to dinner a few hours later.

Kirk, chiselled star of Hollywood’s Golden Age, was not used to being turned down.

She eventually took the job and the couple flew to Las Vegas in May 1954 to get married.

They had two sons over their 66-year marriage, Peter and Eric, while Kirk, whose films included Ace In The Hole, Spartacus and Paths Of Glory, also had Michael and Joel from his marriage to Diana Dill.

Eric Douglas died in 2004 aged 46 from an accidental drug overdose.

Michael, who has two children with wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, celebrated Douglas’ final birthday last week, sharing a family photo to Instagram.

He wrote: “Happy Birthday Anne Douglas! We love you! Michael, Catherine, Carys, & Dylan.”

In 2017, Douglas wrote a book with her husband titled Kirk And Anne: Letters Of Love, Laughter, And A Lifetime In Hollywood, looking back at their time together.

Her charitable deeds included making school playgrounds across Los Angeles safe, helping the city’s homeless and supporting cancer research, after she survived breast cancer.

The Douglas Foundation, founded in 1964, has donated more than 118 million dollars (£84.5 million) to good causes, according to a family representative.

Douglas is survived by seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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