She ‘Will Always Be in Our Hearts’
Georges De Keerle/Getty Anne and Kirk Douglas
Anne died at her home in Beverly Hills on Thursday, PEOPLE confirms. Her death comes just over a year after the death of her husband in February 2020. They were married for 66 years and shared two sons, Peter and Eric.
“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,” Michael, 76, said in a statement provided to PEOPLE. “Catherine [Zeta-Jones] and I and the children adored her; she will always be in our hearts.”
“My father could never keep a secret. Anne was just the opposite, That’s why I was so moved 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; and her career before she met my father,” Michael added. “She also included their private correspondence, which gave me new insights into their courtship and marriage.”
Richard C. Miller/Getty Anne and Kirk Douglas with their son Peter
Anne was a film publicist and met Kirk in 1953 on the set of Act of Love in Paris after the actor had divorced from his first wife Diana (Dill) Douglas in 1951. Diana died in 2015.
Anne and Kirk married in Las Vegas in 1954 and had another ceremony on their 50th anniversary in 2004.
Anne was a prolific philanthropist and served on the boards of The Mark Taper Forum and the Center Theater Group. She was also one of five original founders of the Cedars-Sinai Research for Women’s Cancers and founded The Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Mrs. Anne Douglas, beloved widow of Kirk Douglas. Together the Douglas family has been deeply involved in the Los Angeles Mission’s efforts to restore the lives of our city’s homeless,” the Mission’s president and CEO Troy Vaughn said in a statement Thursday.
Hulton Archive/Getty Kirk and Anne Douglas
“More than thirty years ago, Anne Douglas’ driving passion led the building of the Mission’s women’s center, the Anne Douglas Center for Women. As Anne herself put it: ‘If I had but one wish, I think becoming a recognized patron of homeless men and women would be it. I hope together we will be able to alleviate their plight entirely.'”
“The Los Angeles Mission and the Anne Douglas Center is proud to uphold her legacy and tireless commitment,” Vaughn added. “Rest In Peace, Anne. We love you.”
Just last week, Michael marked Anne’s birthday with a post on Instagram.
Tibrina Hobson/Getty Kirk Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anne Douglas, and Michael Douglas
“Happy Birthday Anne Douglas! We love you! ❤️ Michael, Catherine, Carys, & Dylan,” the Kominsky Method star wrote in the caption, sharing a photo of the family gathered around Anne and Kirk, smiling widely.
“I often wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn’t married Anne,” Kirk once said. “I might not have survived without her business acumen and her finely-honed instincts. She saved me from financial ruin when she persisted in her distrust of my long-time lawyer and surrogate father, who indeed stole the fortune he told me I had. She saved my life when she refused to let me fly to New York on Mike Todd’s plane which crashed, killing everyone aboard. She gave me tough love when I had my stroke and thought I would never speak or work again. Anne is selfless, compassionate and loyal to a fault. She also has a wicked sense of humor and can make me laugh in English, French and German.”
The Hollywood Reporter was first to report Anne’s death.