Kirk Douglas and Wife Anne Buydens Fell in ‘Love at First Sight,’ Director Jeff Kanew Recalls
Late stars Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens shared a beautiful connection. The longtime Hollywood couple fell in “love at first sight” and maintained their unbreakable marriage for more than six decades, director Jeff Kanew exclusively recalled to Closer Weekly.
“I’ve been married several times and I certainly didn’t experience anything like what they did,” the 76-year-old — who worked with Kirk on Tough Guys and other films — previously shared with Closer. “There were married for like 65 years. Although they didn’t get together for a year or so because he was engaged to another actress at the time. He was seeing Anne and this actress at the same time but realized he wanted to be with Anne so broke off his engagement to this other actress and they’ve been together ever since.”
After becoming a couple, Kirk and Anne wed in 1954, and “even though he was on location a lot,” the Spartacus star and the Deep River producer shared a bond like no other. “They were always close … that’s why they wrote so many letters together. That’s where the whole letter concept came from and they were very romantic,” Jeff explained. “She was his business partner because she had a good head for business and he admitted that he didn’t, and they functioned on every level. As friends. As husband and wife. As business partners and it went on and on. There’s no dark side to our marriage like most of us have.”
Since Jeff was great friends with the Oscar-winner — he even worked on the iconic actor’s documentary with his family, Kirk Douglas: Before I Forget — he also got close to Anne. “She’s very smart, and has a very dry sense of humor, and she’s very protective of her family and her husband,” Jeff shared. “Most of the time I’ve known them she was really running the production company and would deal with publicity and made sure things were done the right way. She runs the household and takes care of the staff and makes sure the staff are treated well. They call her the boss. She’s a very strong woman.”
Sadly, Kirk died at age 103 in February 2020. The film legend’s son Michael Douglas announced the news on Instagram at the time, writing, “It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103. To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.”
More than a year later, a spokesman for the Douglas family announced Anne died at 102 in April 2021. According to an obituary provided by spokeswoman Marcia Newberger, Anne died at her home in Beverly Hills, NBC News reported.
Hollywood will never be the same without Kirk and Anne, but the two left an undeniable legacy. While once chatting about his most meaningful accomplishments, the Paths of Glory actor credited his spouse and showbiz for being the “two most important areas of my life.”
“I have been lucky [thanks to] my career and my wife,” Kirk exclusively gushed to Closer.