Sad news today, as Anne Douglas, a philanthropist, former movie publicist, and widow of legendary actor Kirk Douglas, has passed away. On Thursday, her family announced that Douglas died at the Beverly Hills home she had shared with her longtime husband. The news comes shortly over a year after Kirk passed away at the age of 103 in early 2020. Anne was 102 years old.
Beginning her career in movies working as a location scout for director John Huston on Moulin Rouge, Anne spent three years in the early 50s as head of protocol at the Cannes Film Festival. She met Kirk Douglas on the set of Act of Love in Paris in 1953, and initially, Anne wanted to keep the relationship professional. The pair only grew closer as they continued to work together, and they got married with a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas the following year..
Years after their marriage, Anne served as the president of Kirk’s independent movie company, the Bryna Co. She received producer credits on Peg Leg, Musket & Sabre and Posse, two movies that were directed by and starred Kirk. The couple also worked together to raise millions of dollars for varkous charitable causes. Anne had also established Research for Women’s Cancers with six fellow breast cancer survivors to raise millions more for cancer research.
Anne had two children with Kirk, Peter and Eric, each born in the 1950s. Sadly, Eric died in 2004 from a drug overdose at the age of 46. She was also the stepmother of Kirk’s two sons from his first marriage, movie producer Joel Douglas and famous actor Michael Douglas. After Anne’s passing, Michael released a statement about his late stepmother.
“My father could never keep a secret. Anne was just the opposite. That’s why when I read their co-authored book, Kirk and Anne, in which she talked about her early life in Germany; her war years in occupied Paris; her career before she met my father; she also included their private correspondence, which gave me new insights into their courtship and marriage. Anne was more than a stepmother, and never `wicked.’ 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.”
In their book, the Douglases recount a story from 1958 in which Anne begged her husband not to board a private plane with director Michael Todd after getting a “strange feeling.” Kirk was furious at the time, but Anne wouldn’t let him go despite the actor’s insistence. The next day, the pair heard on the radio that Todd’s plane had crashed with everyone on board killed.
“Darling, you saved my life. I will always trust your intuition from now on,” Kirk told Anne after the two pulled over to embrace.
Anne’s survivors include children Peter, 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. Our thoughts go out to them at this time. Rest in peace. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.