After losing father Kirk Douglas last year, actor Michael Douglas is mourning the death of his stepmother, Anne Douglas. The family matriarch was 102.
In a statement to ABC News, the Douglas family confirmed Anne died Thursday.
“It is with great sadness that the Douglas family announces the passing of their matriarch, Anne Douglas, peacefully at home in Beverly Hills this afternoon at age 102,” the estate announced before revealing the humorous story of how Kirk and Anne fell in love.
“Anne Buydens first met the movie star in 1953 when he offered her a job as his publicist while in Paris to film ‘Act of Love.’ She said no in flawless English. She also refused his phoned invitation to dinner a few hours later, opting for scrambled eggs at home instead,” the statement read. “Unused to turndowns by women, but really needing her skills, he campaigned to change her mind — at least about the short-term job. And so began a working arrangement that turned into mutual respect and love, in part fostered by her wicked sense of humor and his ability to appreciate it.”
The “Spartacus” actor proposed a year later, where the story reveals little-known facts of the nuptials.
“The couple flew to Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon, May 29, 1954, after Kirk left the studio. It wasn’t romantic, but it was legal and her new husband vowed that someday he would marry her again in a big celebration,” the Douglas family recalled. “He kept that promise for their 50th anniversary on May 29, 2004.”
The statement also detailed how Anne survived Nazi-occupied France during the WWII and her journey to America.
Kirk and Anne, who were married for 66 years, shared two sons together, Peter and the late Eric Douglas. Diana Dill — whom Anne called “our ex-wife” — is Michael and Joel Douglas’ mother.
Michael also paid tribute to Anne, expressing what she meant to him, his longtime wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and their children.
“Anne was more than a stepmother, and never ‘wicked.’ She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father,” he said in a statement. “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.”