Anne Douglas passed far Thursday at age 102. In remembering the philanthropist, we are resurfacing this 2020 article around her partnership with husband Kirk Douglas. The pair were married because that 66 years.

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Kirk Douglas, who died February 5, 2020 in ~ the age of 103, may have actually been an Academy Award-winning actor and also an symbol of the film industry’s golden Age, however he"s should also be remembered because that the tremendous six-decade bond he shares with his wife.

Douglas came to be a leading box-office star in the "50s and also "60s, primarily well-known for significant dramas, westerns, and also war films, consisting of his very first starring duty in the 1960 film Spartacus. In the years following, he additionally gained recognition as a director, producer, and author. Through it every he was married to anne Buydens.


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But the Douglases lasting marriage didn"t start with love at very first sight. Douglas’s six-decade commitment come Buydens actually began with a slightly sour meet-cute in 1953. Currently a successful movie star at the time, Douglas to be adored through audiences, largely women, for his recurring portrayal the the brave hero v "steely blue eyes." That"s precisely why he to be so surprised once Buydens rejected his initial inquiry for a date.


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Buydens was working as a movie publicist and also living in Paris when a photographer friend presented her to Douglas on the set of his movie Act of Love. Buydens recounted this meeting through her future husband in their book, Kirk and also Anne: letter of Love, Laughter, and a life time in Hollywood, a compilation of letter the couple sent to each other throughout their courtship and also marriage. “He said, ‘Come on, permit me take it you to the lion’s den," Buydens remembers.

The "lions den" was apparently Douglas"s trailer, and also there the gibbs asked Buydens if she want to join him because that dinner. “I thought, I"ll take it this young beauty to dinner in ~ the most romantic—and expensive—restaurant in Paris, La tourism d"Argent,” Douglas recalled in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “She"s sure to give of mine taste and also my capability to obtain a last-minute reservation.”


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Buydens, however, declined his offer. “No, say thanks to you, i think I’ll walk home and make myself part scrambled eggs,” Buydens called the movie star, recording him completely off guard. “She was the most challenging woman I ever met,” Douglas said in an interview with USA Today. "I mean, i was a large movie star! and I invite her to dinner and also she said, "Oh say thanks to you really much, however I’m so tired.‘”

Though Buydens did walk on to work as a publicist for Douglas, their relationship remained platonic until “I stopped talking about myself and began to hear to her,” Douglas wrote in Kirk and also Anne.

It was this willingness to adjust and present her the he was an ext than a one-dimensional silver-screen hero the won Buydens over. Douglas confirmed to her the he was various than the common Hollywood actor. When they an initial started seeing every other, the pair attend a charity gala hosted at a circus, wherein Douglas gladly assisted scoop elephant dung while fully dressed in a tuxedo. "That’s what got me,” Buydens told USA Today. “It to be not only funny, it was mirroring me that he to be able to do things that are not intended from him.”


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Douglas and Buydens ultimately got married in may 1954 and also had two children together, Peter and Eric; Douglas"s other two sons—Michael and Joel—were from his previous marital relationship to actress Diana Douglas.

In among the letters from Kirk and also Anne, Douglas created to Buydens to tell her just how much that missed her while he remained in Munich filming Stanley Kubrick’s 1957 film Paths the Glory.

“Darling, just how is that that once I am away from you, together love because that you overwhelms me in ~ 2:30 in the morning—as it is now—I awake to create to you. Exactly how incomplete i seem without my family. How can a male live alone? come live just for you yourself is to it is in dead. And yes ns welcome this parting from you come rekindle mine awareness of exactly how much you mean to me. The early hour brings out the poetic side of me."

In turn, Buydens when wrote to Douglas in may of 1956 come share just how much she to let go him. "I to be so sad and depressed. Ns don"t think I ever wanted come be near you as lot as appropriate now," she wrote. "The toilet paper is too hard; the coffee is too strong … the telephones space impossible. Don"t ns sound like a true American? yet even being a european broad, what on planet am ns doing here!!!"


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Life wasn"t always perfect, the course. In Kirk and Anne, Douglas wrote openly around his affairs through actresses favor Rita Hayworth, Patricia Neal, and also Joan Crawford’s daughter, Christina Crawford. “Kirk never ever tried come hide his dalliances native me,” Buydens explained in the book. “As a European, I taken it was unrealistic to expect total fidelity in a marriage.”

Still, the couple always regulated to work-related things out. "Darling," Douglas composed in a letter to anne after a fight while they were still dating. "I have actually a feeling you"re no coming ago tonight. Ns hope I"m wrong! It"s been a bad day because that me and probably a worse one for you ... However I hope the you are right here to review this and that I find you as soon as I obtain back. Suddenly it seems stupid that ns am going to dinner there is no you — since believe it or no I love you!"


Buydens commitment to her husband even saved his life. In 1958, Douglas was invited to paris on a private plane from Palm Springs to brand-new York through director Mike Todd, Elizabeth Taylor’s husband, to present Todd v a Showman the the Year award in ~ the brand-new York Friar’s Club. Buydens, who normally disliked personal planes, insisted the Douglas skip the pilgrimage as she had actually a “strange feeling” about it.

Her request bring about an intense fight between the couple, but Douglas eventually agreed no to go. “She preserved insisting,” Douglas recalled in his interview with USA Today. “And we had actually a large fight. Ns said, ‘OK, ns won’t go." yet I was very mad at her.” quickly thereafter, the radio news announced that Todd’s aircraft had crashed, leave behind no survivors. “She saved my life,” Kirk said.

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Not only did Buydens save Douglas’s life, yet she likewise saved his fortune. Once the couple first began seeing each various other officially in 1953, Douglas was oblivious to his own financial disarray. That wasn’t until Buydens wondered about his service manager the she uncovered out the gibbs was basically broke. Making use of the business skills she learned from her father, Buydens discovered someone to help Douglas invest his salary, conserving him millions.

Together, the two ended up being prominent Los Angeles Philanthropists. Douglas and his wife have even provided Thanksgiving dinner because that the homeless because that years in ~ the Los Angeles Mission wherein he would obtain meals as soon as he first came come LA and also did not have any kind of money.

In 2004, the couple suffered a tragic loss once their youngest kid Eric Douglas—an actor and also stand-up-comedian—died of one accidental medicine overdose in ~ the age of 46. In addition to Buydens’ fight with chest cancer and also Douglas’s struggle with depression after suffering a stroke, the couple has stood solid beside each various other over the years.


After much more than 60 year of marriage, the romantic Douglas and also Buydens built together never ever faded. They even renewed their vows for your 50th anniversary and also hosted the large wedding they had constantly dreamed that having.

In his collection of poems and also stories licensed has been granted Life might Be Verse, Douglas composed a poem referred to as “Romance starts at 80,” proving the his love because that his wife has only increased as the years have actually gone on.

“Romance begins at 80And I must know.I live v a girlWho will certainly tell friend so.” —Kirk Douglas


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