Family

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His career as an actor has been one of the foundations of Kirk Douglas’s life. Family has been the other. Although Kirk began life as a “ragman’s son,” in the words of the title of his best-selling autobiography, he went on to found one of the entertainment industry’s best-known and most creative dynasties.

Kirk was married to actress Diana Dill from 1943 until 1951. Rhe couple had two sons: actor-producer Michael, born in 1944, and film producer Joel, born in 1947.

Kirk married the former Anne Buydens, whom he met while working on the production of the film Act of Love, in 1954. This marriage also produced two sons, Peter, who was born in 1955, and Eric, born in 1958.

Kirk and Anne’s marriage is notable for its longevity, and the couple celebrated a second “recommitment” ceremony on their 50th wedding anniversary in 2004. Kirk and Anne live in Beverly Hills and Montecito, California, For several decades, they maintained a residence in Palm Springs.

Here’s more about the other members of the Douglas clan:

Anne Douglas
Anne Douglas was born Anne Buydens in Hannover, Germany. Recognizing the evils of fascism, though barely a teenager, she fled that country for Switzerland and Belgium, where she became a citizen. Fluent in several languages, she eventually settled in Paris, doing film translations and writing subtitles.

After the war, Mrs. Douglas continued her work in film and television, moving into public relations and handling protocol for the Cannes Film Festival. In 1953, while working as public relations manager for the French-American co-production Act of Love, she met her husband-to-be, the film’s star Kirk Douglas. The following year, the couple married in Las Vegas.

In 1955, the Douglases formed one of Hollywood’s first independent production companies, the Bryna Company, named for Kirk's mother. Mrs. Douglas has served as the company’s president for many years.

In 1964, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas established The Douglas Foundation, one of the film industry’s first private charitable institutions. Among the Foundation initiatives with which Mrs. Douglas has been most closely involved are the Anne Douglas Center of the Los Angeles Mission, which cares for homeless women, and the Anne & Kirk Douglas School Playground Award, which funds the building and restoration of playgrounds at schools in inner-city and disadvantaged areas of Los Angeles.

In recognition of her philanthropic activities, Mrs. Douglas was named Woman of the Year by the Los Angeles Times in 1969, and received the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen from the American Institute of Public Service in 2003. The Women’s Guild of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center presented her with the Evelyn Clayburgh Award for distinguished service, and in 1997, she became the first recipient of the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Cancer Research Institute’s Women of Courage Award.

A proud United States citizen, Mrs. Douglas has traveled the world, often in the company of her husband, as a goodwill ambassador on behalf of the U.S. State Department and U.S. Information Agency, which presented her with its Directors' Award for superior achievement. Her arts activities have included service on the boards of the Mark Taper Forum, the Los Angeles Music Center’s Center Theatre Group, and the Palm Springs Desert Museum. She has been inducted into the Fashion Hall of Fame, and was voted onto the international list of Best Dressed Women three separate times.

Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas was born in 1944, the first son of Kirk Douglas and Diana Dill, and grew up in both Connecticut and Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1968, and then followed his father into acting. His first major role was on the long-running TV series The Streets of San Francisco (1972 – 76).

In 1975, Michael produced One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, starring Jack Nicholson. The film swept the top Academy Awards and earned Michael the Best Picture Oscar. In 1979, Michael both produced and acted in the hit film The China Syndrome, which prefigured the Ten Mile Island nuclear reactor meltdown in Pennsylvania.

In 1984 and 1985, Michael established himself as a swashbuckling romantic lead opposite Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone and its sequel The Jewel of the Nile. In 1987, he appeared in the hit thriller Fatal Attraction and won the Academy Award as Best Actor for his role as the avaricious Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. Other notable film roles include The War of the Roses (1989), Basic Instinct (1992), Falling Down (1993), Traffic and Wonder Boys (both 2000), and a turn with his father Kirk and son Cameron in It Runs in the Family (2003). More recently, he starred as Liberace in the acclaimed HBO production of Behind the Candelabra.

Michael was married to Diandra Luker from 1977 to 2000, and the couple have one son, Cameron, born in 1978. Michael married actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in 2000, and their children Dylan and Carys were born in 2000 and 2003 respectively. The couple live in New York City.

Joel Douglas
Joel Douglas was born in 1947, the second son of Kirk Douglas and Diana Dill. His impact in the film business has been behind rather than in front of the camera. He served as unit production manager on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and co-produced both Romancing the Stone (1984) and Jewel of the Nile (1985). For several years he headed the Victorine film studio in Nice, France.

Joel's wife Jo-Ann passed away in 2013. He lives in Palm Springs, California.

Peter Douglas
Peter Douglas was born in 1955, the eldest son of Kirk and Anne Douglas. He entered the film business in his late teens, as one of the first to be admitted into the prestigious Directors Guild of America Training Program.

In 1980, Peter produced his first film, the science-fiction time-travel classic The Final Countdown. He followed this with an adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s fantasy masterpiece Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) for Disney. He then produced both Fletch (1985) and Fletch Lives (1989) starring Chevy Chase, for Universal, and wrote, directed, and produced the independent film A Tiger’s Tale (1988), featuring Ann-Margret.

In television, Peter produced Amos, the highest-rated movie for television of 1985, and Inherit the Wind, for which he won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama or Comedy Special in 1988. Moving into cable, he produced the Home Box Office Original Film The Enemy Within (1994).

Peter makes films independently through his production company, Vincent Pictures. For several years, he was also President and Chief Operating Officer at the Bryna Company, where he was responsible for the development and production of television, cable and pay-per-view programming, as well as the international distribution of a library of classic motion pictures.

For several years, Peter served as a member of the Board of Directors and Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee of Cedars Sinai, Los Angeles’s preeminent medical center. Peter now serves as Executive Director of the Douglas Foundation.

Peter married the former Lisa Schroeder in 1991. The marriage produced four children, Kelsey, Tyler, Ryan, and Jason. They divorced in 2014. Peter lives in Montecito, California.

Eric Douglas
Eric Douglas was born in 1958 and was Kirk and Anne Douglas’s youngest son. After studying at Pitzer College, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and the London Academy of Dramatic Arts, Eric followed his father Kirk and brother Michael into acting. He appeared in such films as The Flamingo Kid (1984) and The Golden Child (1986), as well as in several roles in episodic television.

In the late ‘80s, Eric moved to New York City, where he developed a second career as an improv and stand-up comedian. Eric died in July 2004 and is buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.