Anne Douglas Dead: Producer and widow of Kirk Douglas was 102
She was a scout for John Huston, a Cannes journalist and president of her husband’s production company.
Anne Douglas, a film publicist who first met Kirk Douglas on the set of Paris Act of love in 1953 and married him a year later, died Thursday. She was 102 years old.
Douglas has died at the longtime Beverly Hills home she shared with the legendary actor and husband, 66, his family have announced. He died at the age of 103 on February 5, 2020.
She worked for director John Huston as a scout and assistant on red Mill (1952), then began a three-year stint in 1953 as chief of protocol at the Cannes Film Festival, hosting parties and making sure they were filled with celebrities and the media.
Kirk was divorced from actress Diana Dill and secretly engaged to Italian actress Pier Angeli and Anne was married to a Belgian, Albert Buydens, when they met. He offered her a job as an assistant and she immediately turned it down.
“She finally agreed to work with me on a trial basis, making it clear that our relationship would be strictly commercial,” he wrote in Kirk and Anne: love letters, laughter and a life in Hollywood, the 2017 book he co-wrote with his wife.
âWe chatted for hours and I had a strange feeling in my heart that I could fall in love with this man,â she wrote. âI didn’t want to, because I had seen too many young women getting into intense affairs with visiting movie stars – Dean Martin, Marlon Brando, Cary Grant among them. Then the movie ended and them. men have returned to their wives and families. “
Still, they started a complicated relationship on the film directed by Anatole Litvak. Act of love which continued when Kirk moved to Italy to shoot Odysseus (1954) – she was also a commercial for this film – then in the Bahamas, Jamaica and the United States 20000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954).
Finally, at a rare time when both were in Los Angeles, they spontaneously flew to Las Vegas and were married by a justice of the peace on May 29, 1954. Their sons, Peter and Eric, were born in 1955 and 1958 respectively. (Eric died in 2004 aged 46 from an accidental drug overdose.)
Hannelore Marx was born on April 23, 1919 in Hanover, Germany. His father owned textile shops in the city and was the exclusive importer of a strain of silk that the government had purchased to make parachutes. Her mother was a socialite.
After her parents’ divorce, she attended boarding school in Switzerland and learned fluent English, French and Italian.
She married Buydens, and they fled Belgium and moved to Paris during World War II. She got a job writing German subtitles for films, then was hired in 1948 to produce a program for NBC called Fashion show in Paris.
She later became president of Kirk’s independent film company, the Bryna Co., and received producer credit on Peg Leg, Musket & Saber (1973) and Detachment (1975), two films directed by and with her husband.
Kirk was married to Dill (mother of two-time Oscar winner Michael Douglas and brother, Joel) from 1942 until their divorce in 1951. He said their marriage began to unravel as ‘he was preparing for his star turn. Champion (1949).
The couple broke up amicably and Kirk and Anne became good friends with Diana and her new husband, Broadway producer and novelist Bill Darrid.
In 1958, Anne refused to allow Kirk to travel in a private plane from Palm Springs to New York with director Michael Todd. âI don’t know what got into me, but I had a weird feeling,â she wrote in their book. “Absolutely not, Kirk. I don’t want you on that plane. You can fly in commercial and meet him there.”
Kirk was furious and said if he couldn’t fly with Todd, well, he wouldn’t go at all.
On the drive back to Los Angeles the next day, they heard over the radio that Todd’s plane had crashed in New Mexico and that he and the three other people on board had been killed. They retreated to the side of the road and kissed.
“Honey, you saved my life. I’ll always trust your intuition from now on,” Kirk told her.
As Dorothy Chandler’s âlieutenantâ in the campaign to build the Los Angeles County Music Center, she convinced bosses and movie stars to double and triple their initial contributions to the cause. After it opened in 1964, it served on the boards of the Mark Taper Forum and the Center Theater Group for decades and organized the Douglas Foundation’s big donation to build the Kirk Douglas Theater at CTG in Culver City.
In 2012, Anne and Kirk announced pledges totaling $ 50 million to five nonprofits, including the Motion Picture & Television Fund, through their foundation. They donated an additional $ 15 million to the MPTF House in 2015. To date, their foundation has contributed over $ 118 million to good causes.
Survivors include children Peter, Michael and Joel; stepdaughters Catherine and Lisa; grandchildren Cameron, Dylan, Carys, Kelsey, Tyler, Jason and Ryan; great-grandchildren Lua Izzy and Ryder; and sister Merle.
âShe brought out the best in all of us, especially our dad,â Michael Douglas said in a statement. âDad would never have had the career he made without Anne’s support and partnership. Catherine, me and the children adored her; it will always be in our hearts.
Donations in her memory can be made to the Anne Douglas Center of the Los Angeles Mission, 310 Winston St., Los Angeles, CA 90013.