Anne Douglas, the wife of Kirk Douglas and producer known for her philanthropy work, has died. She was 102.
The Douglas family announced she peacefully died at her home in Beverly Hills on Thursday afternoon. Her death comes about one year after the death of her husband, who died in February 2020. The couple were married for 66 years.
“Anne was more than a stepmother, and never ‘wicked,’” actor and stepson Michael Douglas said in a statement, which he also later posted to Instagram. “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.”
Born in Hannover, Germany, Douglas’ efforts to later escape the Nazi-occupied country led her to France. Her fluency in German, English, French and Italian enabled her to work with a French film distributor, leading to a career in the movie industry. She later met Kirk in 1953 when he offered her a job as his publicist while in Paris to film “Act of Love.” His early courtship took persistence, but the couple ended up marrying in Las Vegas in May 1954.
Despite her deep ties to Hollywood, Douglas’ most significant impact was done through her philanthropy work. 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.
In addition to being one of the original founders of the Cedars-Sinai Research for Women’s Cancers, Douglas prioritized the welfare of Los Angeles women with the opening of the Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission. Endlessly recognized for her work, Kirk best captured the tenacity of his wife when he said, “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.”
Douglas is survived by 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 a sister, Merle Werbke. In addition to Kirk, she was predeceased by son Eric Douglas in 2004. Donations in her memory can be made to the Anne Douglas Center at the Los Angeles Mission.
A version of this story first appeared on Variety.com.