Anne Buydens
Ann Buydens 2000.jpg
Buydens in 2000
Hannelore Marx

(1919-04-23)April 23, 1919
Hanover, Germany
DiedApril 29, 2021(2021-04-29) (aged 102)
Resting placeWestwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
Other namesAnne Douglas
  • Philanthropist
  • producer
Years active1952–2013
  • Albert Buydens
  • (m. 1954; died 2020)
AwardsJefferson Award (2003)

Anne Buydens (born Hannelore Marx;[1] April 23, 1919 – April 29, 2021) was an American philanthropist and film producer. She was the wife of actor Kirk Douglas from 1954 until his death in 2020. She received a Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2003.

Early life

Buydens was born Hannelore Marx in Hanover, Germany, on April 23, 1919,[2] the daughter of Siegfried Marx,[3] a textile merchant who imported silk for making parachutes, and Paula Marx,[4] a socialite.[5] After her parents were divorced, she was sent to a boarding school in Switzerland, where she learned English, French and Italian.[5] She later studied in Brussels but fled the bombed city for Paris during World War II.[6] As her German identity was a problem, she became a Belgian citizen by marrying a Belgian, Albert Buydens, whom she later divorced.[6][5]


With Kirk Douglas in 1959

When the Nazis in Paris insisted that films be shown with German subtitles, her language skills allowed her to find a job adding subtitles for a French film distributor.[6] In 1948, she was hired to produce an NBC program, Paris Cavalcade of Fashion.[5] She also worked as a location scout on the 1952 production of Moulin Rouge for John Huston.[5] From 1953, she scheduled celebrity parties at the Cannes Film Festival.[5]

When Buydens met Kirk Douglas in Paris in 1953,[7] he was divorced from his first wife, Diana Dill, with whom he had two sons, Michael and Joel.[8] They worked on the film Act of Love, directed by Anatole Litvak, he as an actor and she as a publicist.[9] He offered her a job as his publicist, which she first refused, but eventually accepted, described by him later: "She finally agreed to work with me on a trial basis, making it clear our relationship would be strictly business".[5]

Personal life

In the Oval Office with Douglas and President Jimmy Carter in 1978

Buydens and Douglas married in Las Vegas on May 29, 1954.[6] The couple had two sons: Peter (born 1955) and Eric (1958–2004), who both went into the film business.[8][9][10] Douglas credited Buydens with saving his life in 1958 when she had insisted that he not travel via private plane with director Mike Todd; the plane crashed the next day, killing all four people aboard.[5]

Buydens became a United States citizen in 1959.[1] She converted to Judaism when she renewed her wedding vows with Douglas on their 50th wedding anniversary in 2004.[11][12]

In 2017, they co-wrote a memoir, Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood, including letters they had exchanged.[9] She and her husband both became centenarians; he died aged 103 on February 5, 2020.[8]

Buydens died on April 29, 2021, six days after her 102nd birthday, at their longtime Beverly Hills home.[5]

In a statement released by the family, her stepson Michael Douglas paid tribute:

Anne was more than a stepmother, and never "wicked." 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.[13]


The couple at the 2003 Jefferson Awards, where she won an award

One of Buydens' first forays into philanthropy came on the heels of recovering from breast cancer: With six fellow survivors, Buydens established the "Research for Women's Cancers" charity, which raised millions of dollars to help finance a research facility at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.[14]

The two started the Douglas Foundation in 1964, which has since donated roughly 118 million USD to institutions such as the Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF).[9][15] They were also behind the establishment of Harry's Haven, an Alzheimer's disease unit named after Douglas's father at the MPTF Home in Woodland Hills.[16]

The couple was known for their efforts to rebuild playgrounds in the Los Angeles Unified School District, attending opening ceremonies in person.[13] In recognition of her compassion toward homeless women, the Anne Douglas Center for Women was named after her.[17]


Buydens was inducted into the International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame List in 1970.[18][19]

In recognition of her philanthropic deeds as a private citizen, Buydens received a Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2003.[20] Buydens and Douglas are the only married couple to have each received an individual Jefferson Award; Douglas was awarded in 1983.[20]


  1. ^ a b Birth name per naturalization petition (1959),; accessed July 19, 2016. (subscription required) Archived August 9, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "The Centennial Couple – Kirk Douglas is 102 and his Wife Anne Just Turned 100!" Archived April 23, 2019, at the Wayback Machine by Nancy Bilyeau, The Vintage News, April 23, 2019
  3. ^ Douglas, Kirk; Douglas, Anne; Movies, Turner Classic (2 May 2017). Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood. ISBN 9780762462186. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  4. ^ Douglas, Kirk; Douglas, Anne; Movies, Turner Classic (2 May 2017). Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood. ISBN 978-0-7624-6218-6.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Barnes, Mike (29 April 2021). "Anne Douglas, Philanthropist and Widow of Kirk Douglas, Dies at 102". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d "Anne Buydens, the widow of Kirk Douglas, died: she had just turned 102 years old". 30 April 2021. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Witwe von Kirk Douglas Anne Douglas im Alter von 102 Jahren gestorben". Der Spiegel (in German). 30 April 2021. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  8. ^ a b c "Kirk Douglas obituary: Ragman's son who became a Hollywood superstar / Actor known for celebrated films like Spartacus and Paths of Glory died aged 103". Irish Times. 6 February 2020. Archived from the original on 28 November 2020. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d "Anne Douglas, widow of late actor Kirk Douglas, passes away at 102". Times of India. 30 April 2021. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  10. ^ Douglas, Family. "Douglas History". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  11. ^ "Hollywood gladiator Kirk Douglas has his eyes set on a third barmitzvah | The Jewish Chronicle". 20 September 2012. Archived from the original on 2 October 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  12. ^ Bloom, Nate (5 December 2016). "Jews in the News: Kirk Douglas, Natalie Portman and Max Cassella". Jewish Community Centers and Federation of Tampa. Archived from the original on 23 December 2017. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  13. ^ a b Pederson, Erik (29 April 2021). "Anne Douglas Dies: Kirk Douglas' Widow & Longtime Philanthropist Was 102". Deadline. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Who is Kirk Douglas' philanthropist wife, Anne Buydens?". Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  15. ^ Barnes, Brooks (8 December 2016). "Hollywood Royalty Kirk Douglas on What He Cares About the Most". Town & Country. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  16. ^ Taggart, Frankie. "Kirk Douglas at 100, still in love with soulmate Anne". Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  17. ^ "Anne Douglas Center for Women". Archived from the original on 25 February 2021. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  18. ^ Staff (1970). "World's Best Dressed Women". The International Hall of Fame: Women. Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 12 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  19. ^ Zilkha, Bettina (2004). Ultimate Style – The Best of the Best Dressed List. p. 116. ISBN 2-84323-513-8.
  20. ^ a b "Multiplying Good Remembers Kirk Douglas". 12 February 2020. Archived from the original on 1 May 2021. Retrieved 2 May 2021.

External links