BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Anne Douglas, the widow of Kirk Douglas and stepmother of actor Michael Douglas, died Thursday at her home, her family announced. She was 102.
Anne Douglas died peacefully at her longtime home in Beverly Hills, California, according to The Associated Press.
“Anne was more than a stepmother, and never ‘wicked,’” Michael Douglas said in a statement. “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.”
Kirk Douglas died on Feb. 5, 2020. He was 103.
Anne Douglas was a film publicist who first met Kirk Douglas on the Paris set of “Act of Love” in 1953 and married him in Las Vegas a year later, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Their sons, Peter and Eric, were born in 1955 and 1958, respectively, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Born Hannelore Marx in Hanover, Germany, Anne Douglas escaped the Nazi-occupied country and settled in France, Variety reported. She was fluent in German, English, French and Italian, enabling her to work with a French film distributor and pointed her toward a career in the movie industry, the website reported.
She worked for director John Huston as a location scout and assistant on “Moulin Rouge” in 1952, then worked for three years as head of protocol at the Cannes Film Festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Anne Douglas’ most significant impact was through her philanthropy. She was a driving force in the building of the Los Angeles County Music Center and served on the boards of The Mark Taper Forum and the Center Theater Group,” Variety reported. She was one of the original founders of the Cedars-Sinai Research for Women’s Cancers, and opened the Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission.
The Douglas Foundation has donated millions to a wide range of institutions, from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, according to the AP.
In 2017 the couple published “Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood.”
“Anne is selfless, compassionate and loyal to a fault,” Kirk Douglas once said. “She also has a wicked sense of humor and can make me laugh in English, French and German.”