Many might still remember American actor, filmmaker, and author, Kirk Douglas; father of the equally talented actor, Michael Douglas. Well, the centenarian turned 102 back in December 2018 and his wife, Anne Buydens, turned 100 on April 23, 2019, making them one of the few centennial couples in recorded history. They have both been married for 64 years and Kirk has admitted in several interviews that she is his soul mate.

Anne Buydens is actually Kirk’s second wife as he was first married to Diana Webster, an American actress, from 1943 until their divorce in 1951. Diana is the mother to two of Kirk’s four children including Michael Douglas (1944) and Joel Douglas (1947). Anne is the mother to his younger sons including Peter Douglas (1955), and Eric Douglas (1958 – 2004).

Accomplished couple
Over the course of his illustrious acting career, Kirk Douglas has received an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, three Academy Award nominations, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is currently No. 17 on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest male screen legends of classic Hollywood cinema, and the highest-ranked living person on the list [1].

Anne Buydens is a well-respected philanthropist, art collector producer, and occasional actress in her own right. She has also been a member of the International Best Dressed List since the 1970s. They both agree that she has a better sense of money than Kirk and she was the one who helped him realize that his money manager in the 1950s was not doing a good job.

Love at first sight?
In addition to his acting career, he has written ten novels and memoirs as an author including a joint memoir with his wife titled, Kirk and Anne. According to their memoir, Anne was born in Germany but moved to Belgium with her family where she became fluent in English, French, and German. She was living and working in Paris as a film publicist in Paris when she was introduced to Kirk in 1953 [2].

Kirk Douglas met Anne while filming a movie called ‘Lust for Life’. He was already divorced then and had a playboy reputation on set and his trailer was known as ‘the lion’s den’ by those working on set. In their memoir, Anne admitted that she was skeptical of Kirk at first because of his reputation with girls. According to their memoirs, he “took a look at me and said, ‘Would you like to have dinner with my friends at some chic restaurant?’ And I replied, ‘No, thank you, I think I’ll go home and make myself some scrambled eggs.’ That was not what he expected.” [2].

True love persists
Although annoyed by her refusal to date him, Kirk agreed to be friends and eventually hired her as his publicist so they could get to know each other on a platonic basis. In their memoir, Kirk writes that “With no romance in the picture, I stopped trying to impress Anne. Instead, I stopped talking about myself and began to listen to her.”  They got married one year later, on May 29, 1954, and had two children.

Tragedy strikes
On July 6, 2004, Eric Douglas, Kirk and Anne’s youngest was found dead in his Manhattan apartment at the age of 46. The cause of death was due to “acute intoxication” from alcohol and prescription tranquilizers and painkillers, according to Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner’s office [3]. As would be expected, this news was a hard one for the family to swallow and they both decided to renew their wedding vows that same year.

Reference:

  1. Kirk Douglas. Wikipedia.
  2. The Centennial Couple – Kirk Douglas is 102 and his Wife Just Turned 100!“, The Vintage News. April, 2019.
  3. Eric Douglas death called overdose“, Los Angeles Times. August, 2004.
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