"I often wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn't married Anne," Kirk Douglas once said.
At the age of 102, philanthropist Anne Douglas passed away at her home in Beverly Hills just a little over a year after the death of her husband, Kirk Douglas. Married to the veteran actor for over six and a half decades till his death in February, 2020, Anne shared two sons with Kirk and became a much-loved stepmother to his other children as well. "Anne was more than a stepmother, and never 'wicked.' She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father," said actor, Michael Douglas in a statement to PEOPLE after Anne Douglas passed away on Thursday, April 29.
As Michael spoke fondly of his stepmother and her relationship with his father, he went on to say, "Dad would never have had the career he did without Anne's support and partnership. Catherine [Zeta-Jones] and I and the children adored her; she will always be in our hearts." It was in the year 1953, back when Anne was working as a film publicist, when she first met her future husband on the set of Act of Love in Paris. The following year, after Kirk separated from his first wife, he exchanged wedding vows with Anne in Las Vegas before sharing 66 happy years together as husband and wife.
"My father could never keep a secret," Michael went on to say in his statement. "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. She also included their private correspondence, which gave me new insights into their courtship and marriage."
For a number of years, Anne has worked as an active philanthropist and founded The Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission. Along with being one of the original five founders of the Cedars-Sinai Research for Women's Cancers, she also served on the boards of The Mark Taper Forum and the Center Theater Group.
After weathering decades of ups and downs in their marriage, Anne and Kirk renewed their wedding vows on their 50th wedding anniversary, and in a collection of poems called Life Could Be Verse, Kirk wrote one titled Romance Begins at 80, according to Town & Country.
"Romance begins at 80
And I ought to know.
I live with a girl
Who will tell you so." —Kirk Douglas
In the past, the two have been open about infidelity, and Anne wrote about it in their book, Kirk and Anne, according to PEOPLE. "Kirk never tried to hide his dalliances from me. As a European, I understood it was unrealistic to expect total fidelity in a marriage," Anne wrote. The couple exercised a simple solution for disagreements, which has remained one of the secrets to their decades-long marriage.
"We solve our disagreements with a kiss," Kirk said in the past. "I often wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn't married Anne," the actor once gushed about his wife, as quoted by PEOPLE. "...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."
Rest in peace, Anne Douglas.
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Kristian Dowling