Anne Buydens
Ann Buydens 2000.jpg
Buydens in 2000
Born
Hannelore Marx

(1919-04-23)23 April 1919
Died29 April 2021(2021-04-29) (aged 102)
Other namesAnne Douglas
Occupation
  • Philanthropist
  • producer
Years active1952–2013
Spouse(s)
Albert Buydens
(divorced)

(m. 1954; died 2020)
ChildrenPeter Douglas
Eric Douglas
AwardsJefferson Award (2003)

Anne Buydens or Anne Douglas (born Hannelore Marx;[1] 23 April 1919 – 29 April 2021) was a German-born American philanthropist and film producer. She was the wife of actor Kirk Douglas from 1954 until his death in 2020. She received a Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2003.

Early life

Born Hannelore Marx in Hanover, Hanover, Prussia, Germany, on 23 April 1919,[2] she was the daughter of a textile merchant who imported silk for making parachutes; her mother was a socialite.[3] After her parents were divorced, she was sent to a boarding school in Switzerland, where she learned English, French, and Italian.[3] She later studied in Brussels but fled the bombed city for Paris during World War II.[4] As her German identity was a problem, she became a Belgian citizen by marrying a Belgian, Albert Buydens.[4][3]

Career

With Kirk Douglas in 1959

When the Nazis in Paris insisted that films be shown with German subtitles, her language skills allowed her to find a job adding subtitles for a French film distributor.[4] In 1948, she was hired to produce an NBC program, Paris Cavalcade of Fashion.[3] She also worked as a location scout on the 1952 production of Moulin Rouge for John Huston.[3] From 1953, she scheduled celebrity parties at the Cannes Film Festival.[3]

When Buydens met Kirk Douglas in Paris in 1953,[5] he was divorced from his first wife, Diana Dill, with whom he had two sons, Michael and Joel.[6] They worked on the film Act of Love, directed by Anatole Litvak, he as an actor and she as a publicist.[7] He offered her a job as his publicist, which she first refused, but eventually accepted, described by him later: "She finally agreed to work with me on a trial basis, making it clear our relationship would be strictly business".[3]

Personal life

In the Oval Office with Douglas and President Jimmy Carter in 1978

Buydens and Douglas married in Las Vegas on 29 May 1954.[4] The couple had two sons, Peter (born 1955) and Eric (1958–2004), who both went into the film business.[6][7][8] Douglas credits Buydens for saving his life in 1958 when she had insisted that he not travel via private plane with director Mike Todd; the plane crashed the next day, killing all four people aboard.[3]

Buydens became a United States citizen in 1959.[1] She converted to Judaism when she renewed her wedding vows with Douglas on their 50th wedding anniversary in 2004.[9][10]

In 2017, they co-wrote a memoir, Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood, including letters they had exchanged.[7] She and her husband both became centenarians; he died on 5 February 2020.[6]

Buydens died on 29 April 2021, six days after her 102nd birthday, at their longtime Beverly Hills home.[3]

In a statement released by the family, her stepson Michael Douglas paid her tribute:

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.[11]

Philanthropy

The couple at the 2003 Jefferson Awards where she won an award

One of Buydens' first forays into philanthropy came on the heels of recovering from breast cancer: With six fellow survivors, Buydens established the "Research for Women's Cancers" charity, which raised millions of dollars to help finance a research facility at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.[12]

The two started the Douglas Foundation in 1964, which has since donated roughly 118 million USD to institutions such as the Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF).[7][13] They were also behind the establishment of Harry's Haven, an Alzheimer's disease unit named after Douglas's father at the MPTF Home in Woodland Hills.[14]

The couple was known for their efforts to rebuild playgrounds in the Los Angeles Unified School District, attending opening ceremonies in person.[11] In recognition of her compassion toward homeless women, the Anne Douglas Center for Women was named after her.[15]

Awards

Buydens was inducted into the International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame List in 1970.[16][17]

In recognition of her philanthropic deeds as a private citizen, Buydens received a Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2003.[18] Buydens and Douglas are the only married couple to have each received an individual Jefferson Award; Douglas was awarded in 1983.[18]

References

  1. ^ a b Birth name per naturalization petition (1959), ancestry.com; accessed 19 July 2016. (subscription required) Archived 9 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "The Centennial Couple – Kirk Douglas is 102 and his Wife Anne Just Turned 100!" Archived 23 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine by Nancy Bilyeau, The Vintage News, 23 April 2019
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Barnes, Mike (29 April 2021). "Anne Douglas, Philanthropist and Widow of Kirk Douglas, Dies at 102". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d "Anne Buydens, the widow of Kirk Douglas, died: she had just turned 102 years old". italy24news.com. 30 April 2021. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Witwe von Kirk Douglas Anne Douglas im Alter von 102 Jahren gestorben". Der Spiegel (in German). 30 April 2021. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "Kirk Douglas obituary: Ragman's son who became a Hollywood superstar / Actor known for celebrated films like Spartacus and Paths of Glory died aged 103". Irish Times. 6 February 2020. Archived from the original on 28 November 2020. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d "Anne Douglas, widow of late actor Kirk Douglas, passes away at 102". Times of India. 30 April 2021. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  8. ^ Douglas, Family. "Douglas History". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  9. ^ "Hollywood gladiator Kirk Douglas has his eyes set on a third barmitzvah | The Jewish Chronicle". Thejc.com. 20 September 2012. Archived from the original on 2 October 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  10. ^ Bloom, Nate (5 December 2016). "Jews in the News: Kirk Douglas, Natalie Portman and Max Cassella". Jewish Community Centers and Federation of Tampa. Archived from the original on 23 December 2017. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  11. ^ a b Pederson, Erik (29 April 2021). "Anne Douglas Dies: Kirk Douglas' Widow & Longtime Philanthropist Was 102". Deadline. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Who is Kirk Douglas' philanthropist wife, Anne Buydens?". www.yorkshirepost.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 2 May 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Barnes, Brooks (8 December 2016). "Hollywood Royalty Kirk Douglas on What He Cares About the Most". Town & Country. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 2 May 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ Taggart, Frankie. "Kirk Douglas at 100, still in love with soulmate Anne". www.timesofisrael.com. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 2 May 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "Anne Douglas Center for Women". losangelesmission.org. Archived from the original on 25 February 2021. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  16. ^ Staff (1970). "World's Best Dressed Women". The International Hall of Fame: Women. Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 12 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  17. ^ Zilkha, Bettina (2004). Ultimate Style – The Best of the Best Dressed List. p. 116. ISBN 2-84323-513-8.
  18. ^ a b "Multiplying Good Remembers Kirk Douglas". Archive.is. 12 February 2020. Retrieved 2 May 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links