Anne Buydens, also known as Anne Douglas, is a German-born actress, producer, and philanthropist who holds dual Belgian and American citizenship. More than six decades have passed since she wed American actor Kirk Douglas. Buydens and her family emigrated to Belgium from their native nation of Germany when she was in her early teens. After completing her education in Switzerland, she began working in the entertainment sector as a public relations executive in Paris. She first met Douglas at the City of Lights, while he was filming the 1953 romantic drama “Act of Love.” Douglas’s attraction was instantaneous, and he persisted despite the initial rejection. In 1954, they wed in Las Vegas, Nevada, with only his PR and lawyers present as witnesses. Since then, the partnership has evolved into a story of devotion and love as vast in scope as the films in which Douglas starred. It survived his persistent infidelity, her breast cancer, his stroke, and the accidental overdose death of their younger son, Eric. In 2014, they celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary. As a producer, Buydens has worked on such films as “Scalawag,” “Posse,” and “Deep River.”
Youth and Early Life
Anne Buydens was born Hannelore Marx in Hanover, Germany on April 23, 1919, to a rich German family. Shortly after the rise to power of the Nazi Party, they fled Germany and relocated to Brussels, where she married a friend, Albert Buydens, so she could obtain Belgian citizenship.
She attended school in Switzerland before moving to Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II to work in the French film industry as a translator, publicist, and casting director.
Profession & Later Life
Anne Buydens was hired by the film’s director, Anatole Litvak, to handle publicity for “Act of Love.” She was divorced when she met the film’s leading man Kirk Douglas, much as he was from his first wife, actress Diana Dill, with whom he had two boys, Michael and Joel.
Although Kirk Douglas was previously engaged to Italian actress Anna Maria Pierangeli, he invited Buydens to dinner at La Tour d’Argent, a prestigious and historic restaurant in Paris, since he found Buydens to be intelligent, efficient, and possessing a wicked sense of humor. To his surprise, she refused. Then he began calling her Stolz, which is German for proud or stubborn.
Douglas later said that he was struck by the fact that Buydens seemed unimpressed by his Hollywood glitz. In his pursuit of her, he grew more determined. They shared a passionate courtship in France and Italy when she eventually became his girlfriend and confidante. When Douglas left for America, he extended an invitation to Buydens.
When she revealed that she would be returning to Paris, Douglas realized he did not want to lose her. On May 29, 1954, he brought her, his publicist, and his attorney to Las Vegas for a hasty wedding before a justice of the peace. Their first son, Peter, was born on November 23, 1955, and their second son, Eric, was born on June 21, 1958.
As with any other long-term relationship, theirs has experienced its share of difficulties. Douglas had multiple extramarital encounters during the early years of his marriage. However, the relationship never became irreparable. They battled because neither was hesitant to speak their thoughts, yet they always resolved the matter at hand together.
She embraced her job as a Hollywood wife and mother and became acquainted with some of the greatest actors of the golden age of American cinema, such as Tony Curtis, Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck, John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra. She and Douglas have maintained positive relationships with a number of US presidents and their wives, from the Kennedys to the Obamas.
She had saved Douglas’s life a minimum of twice. She prevented him from accompanying Mike Todd, the husband of Elizabeth Taylor, on his fatal journey to New York, as she had a peculiar hunch. The plane crashed, killing everyone on board. When Douglas suffered a stroke in 1996, she drove him to the hospital like a “formula one racer.”
On their 50th wedding anniversary in 2004, she converted to Judaism to his amazement. Douglas offered her the opulent wedding she never had, along with 300 of their closest friends.
Buydens managed Douglas’s film production business Bryna Productions for most of its life. She has appeared on the television series The Jack Benny Program (1962) and was an executive producer for the Kirk Douglas: Before I Forget documentary (2009).
In 2017, she and Douglas published “Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood,” a collection of letters they had exchanged over their partnership.
During her recovery from breast cancer, Buydens initially became active in charitable activities. She launched the nonprofit ‘Research for Women’s Cancer,’ which has since raised millions of dollars to fund a research facility at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Home in Woodland Hills. She and her spouse have also contributed to the Los Angeles Unified School District and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Women’s outreach at the Los Angeles Mission was dubbed the Anne Douglas Center for Women to honor Buydens and her work as a patron for homeless women.
Estimated Net Worth
Anne is one of the wealthiest and most popular film producers in the world. According to our research, Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider, Anne Buydens has an estimated net worth of $1.5 million.
She is multilingual, speaking English, French, German, and Italian fluently.
In 1959, she became a U.S. citizen.