Kirk Douglas’ widow Anne Buydens dead at 102

Buydens first met Kirk Douglas in 1953

Kirk Douglas’ wife and philanthropist, Anne Buydens, has died. She was 102.

The longtime Hollywood staple, who presided over The Bryna Company and the Douglas Foundation until her death, died peacefully at her home in Beverly Hills, Calif., representatives for the Douglas family told Fox News on Thursday.

Buydens first met the movie star love of her life in 1953 when Douglas offered her a job as his publicist while he was in Paris to film "Act of Love." Although she initially rebuffed a dinner date from the late star, Buydens instead opted for scrambled eggs at home a few hours later.

In 2017, the couple published a book about their decades-long romance titled "Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood."

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Kirk Douglas and wife Anne in town for the Opera opening, September 10, 1976. (Photo by Vince Maggiora/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Kirk Douglas and wife Anne in town for the Opera opening, September 10, 1976. (Photo by Vince Maggiora/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Actor Michael Douglas said of his stepmother's passing: "My father could never keep a secret. Anne was just the opposite, That’s why 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; her career before she met my father," he said.

"She also included their private correspondence, which gave me new insights into their courtship and marriage. 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. Catherine and I and the children adored her; she will always be in our hearts."

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In 2017, Douglas told Fox News he found a way to get close to Buydens despite her hesitations in being charmed by the movie star.

"I couldn’t convince her to go out with me, but I finally convinced her to do my publicity on the film ‘Act of Love,’" he explained at the time. "I knew it would be strictly business, yet she still fascinated me and I wanted to know all about her. She had a wicked sense of humor, spoke four languages and was the most sophisticated and elegant woman I had ever met. So I fell in love with her."

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Douglas also told Fox News that he credited date night for sparking the romance every day over the years.

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"[Date night is] the same as it’s been throughout our marriage," he said. "We spend what we call the ‘golden hour’ together at around 6:30 each night. We’ll sit and talk and laugh and share our day and our thoughts with each other."

Kirk Douglas, one of the most famous American leading men of the mid-20th century remembered for his dimpled chin, chiseled features, and virile Hollywood roles, died on February 5, 2020, at the age of 103. 

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Anne Douglas is survived by children Peter, Michael and Joel; daughters-in-law Catherine and Lisa; seven grandchildren: Cameron, Dylan, Carys, Kelsey, Tyler, Jason and Ryan; two great-grandchildren Lua Izzy and Ryder, parented by Cameron Douglas and Viviane Thibes; and a sister, Merle Werbke of Berlin, Germany. Anne was predeceased by her son Eric in 2004 and her husband Kirk in 2020.

Fox News' Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report