Welcome to the Posts section of the official Kirk Douglas website. Its purpose is to let Kirk share his thoughts and activities with you, and to enable you to share your thoughts with him.
Below you’ll find links to the most recent "Reflections" and "Activities" posts.
Clicking the “Reflections” button to the left, you’ll be taken to a page where Kirk, a best-selling writer as well as a movie star, has posted his most recent thoughts and musings.
Clicking the “Activities” button, you’ll be taken to a page where you can learn about current and past goings-on in which Kirk is involved.
Clicking the "Kirk Douglas Theatre" button, you'll get the latest news about productions at the theatre, named to honor Kirk Douglas and established as the newest and most intimate of the Center Theatre Group's spaces, which include the Ahmanson and Mark Taper Theatres at the Los Angeles Music Center.
By clicking “Fan Mail,” you’ll have the opportunity to share your thoughts with Kirk.
Kirk Doulgas's new book, written with his wife Anne, Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood is now available. This link will enable you to order a copy, and have part of the proceeds go to the work of The Douglas Foundation.
Film legend Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens, his wife of nearly sixty-three years, look back on a lifetime filled with drama both on and off the screen. Sharing priceless correspondence with each other as well as the celebrities and world leaders they called friends, Kirk and Anne is a candid portrayal of the pleasures and pitfalls of a Hollywood life lived in the public eye.
Compiled from Anne's private archive of letters and photographs, this is an intimate glimpse into the Douglases' courtship and marriage set against the backdrop of Kirk's screen triumphs, including The Vikings, Lust For Life, Paths of Glory, and Spartacus. The letters themselves, as well as Kirk and Anne's vivid descriptions of their experiences, reveal remarkable insight and anecdotes about the legendary figures they knew so well, including Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, the Kennedys, and the Reagans. Filled with photos from film sets, private moments, and public events, Kirk and Anne details the adventurous, oftentimes comic, and poignant reality behind the glamour of a Hollywood life-as only a couple of sixty-two years (and counting) could tell it.
Kirk Douglas on wife Anne: "The most difficult woman I ever met!"
- Created on Sunday, 30 April 2017
- Written by Andrea Mandell
--USA Today April 30, 2017
BEVERLY HILLS — A romantic interlude with Kirk Douglas or a night in with a plate of eggs?
The woman who captured Spartacus' heart opted for the eggs.
Douglas, who turned 100 in December, and his wife, Anne, 98, have been married for 63 years. But when they met on the Paris set of Act of Love (she, a film publicist, he, a famous film star), “she was terrible!” he recalls, sitting for a joint interview with Anne in their stylish living room.
“She was the most difficult woman I ever met. I mean, I was a big movie star! And I invited her to dinner and she said, 'Oh thank you very much, but I’m so tired —' "
Their sour meet-cute is detailed in Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood (Running Press). The book is "my last," says Kirk. Co-written with his wife, it reveals candid letters the couple sent each other during their courtship and marriage.
Today, Anne, a colorful silk scarf wrapped around her neck, remembers their fateful meeting differently. With Kirk on the lookout for a bilingual press aide (Anne was fluent in German, French and English), she was led to his dressing room, coined “the lion’s den” by her cinematographer guide.
The movie star “took a look at me and then he said, ‘Would you like to have dinner tonight with my friends at some chic restaurant?’ And I said, 'No, thank you, I think I’ll go home and make myself some scrambled eggs.' ”
“Well,” she adds, “that was not what he expected.”
Kirk jumps in. “And to myself I said, 'You b----!' ” he says. Everyone — the couple's aides gathered in a corner, the onlookers from the publishing house, this reporter — breaks out in surprised laughter.
Kirk hired Anne, but things stayed platonic. "With no romance in the picture, I stopped trying to impress Anne," Kirk writes in their book. "Instead, I stopped talking about myself and began to listen to her."
Anne devilishly invited all his latest Parisian conquests over to his apartment on his birthday. Weeks later they attended a charity gala held at a circus, and Anne watched Kirk willingly jump into the fray, scooping elephant dung while wearing his tuxedo.
"That’s what got me,” says Anne today. “It was not only funny, it was showing me that he was able to do things that are not expected from him.”
But the lesson, to be blunt? Anne didn’t take any crap. “That’s right,” Kirk nods. “And she still doesn’t.”
Writing Kirk and Anne, the legendary actor's 11th book, was not the original plan. The star intended to publish a book full of letters he received from celebrities and dignitaries all over the world, including Frank Sinatra, Henry Kissinger, Tony Curtis and Barack Obama. Anne retrieved a box in which she kept important documents — including their old love letters.
"Darling," Kirk writes in the spring of their courtship, after a fight. "I have a feeling you're not coming back tonight. I hope I'm wrong! It's been a bad day for me and probably a worse one for you ... but I hope that you are here to read this and that I find you when I get back. Suddenly it seems stupid that I am going to dinner without you — Because believe it or not I love you!"
Kirk and Anne married in May 1954 and welcomed their son Peter the following year, but often were separated, thanks to his film shoots.
In May 1956 Anne, with a 5-month-old at home, closed out her contract with the Cannes Festival. "I am so sad and depressed — I don't think I ever wanted to be near you as much as right now," she writes. "The toilet paper is too hard, the coffee is too strong ... the telephones are impossible. Don't I sound like a true American? But even being a European broad, what on Earth am I doing here!!!"
Sifting through their fervent transatlantic writings, “I thought, 'My god, they don’t write letters anymore,' ” says Kirk.
Letters are "so personal, something that touches you or disappoints you," says Anne. "But today, you get an email. It does nothing to you! It’s cold. It’s the new world. I like the old world better."
And so the focus changed.
Wives of famous men are generally glossed over in the history books; it’s partly what makes Kirk and Anne such a fascinating piece of reclaimed Hollywood history. In early passages, Anne describes her well-heeled life before Kirk, a sharp contrast to his poor upbringing in New York as Issur Danielovitch, where Yiddish was the only language spoken at home. Anne was born in Germany to a successful businessman and was schooled in Switzerland before fleeing the Nazis and moving to Paris.
(Her keen eye would inspire the couple’s vast art collection, leading to a 1990 Christie's sale of their Chagalls, Mirós and Braques, filling coffers of the Douglas Foundation.)
When Anne finally agreed to date Kirk in 1953, his finances were a wreck, a fact unbeknownst to him. It was her questioning of his business manager that ultimately revealed her movie star beau was flat broke.
“So I’m going out with a man that’s poor?!” Anne recalls her shock, realizing their lavish life was funded not by Kirk, but by Hollywood studio daily allowances. "That is when my business education from my father rose to the surface, and I got somebody very knowledgeable about how to invest the salary that he gets when he makes a movie. It became a success. Today he is very, very philanthropic.”
On a warm afternoon, the two sit comfortably side-by-side, glasses of water on small tables within reach, an impressive pot of white orchids on the coffee table. Kirk’s 1996 stroke, from which he had to completely rebuild his ability to speak, slows his speech considerably, but the centenarian's faculties are razor sharp, as are Anne’s — proving it amusing, to say the least, to watch them razz each other.
At one point, Kirk reaches for his wife’s water. “You have some on your side,” she chides. “Oh!” he replies. "Yes.” Anne peeks impishly at him. “Mine tastes better," she says.
Kirk still refers to the time his wife refused to let him travel on a private plane from Palm Springs to New York with director Mike Todd (then married to Elizabeth Taylor), where Douglas was to present the director with an award. “My wife says, 'Why don’t you take a regular airplane?' ” recalls Kirk. “She kept insisting. And we had a big fight. I said, “ 'OK, I won’t go.' But I was very mad at her.”
On the car ride back to Los Angeles, “we didn’t talk,” says Anne, so Kirk turned on the radio to fill the silence. That’s when news broke that Todd’s plane crashed and everyone aboard was killed. “She saved my life,” he says.
How did Anne know to put her foot down? “I didn’t like private planes. Because I was afraid. Now, I’ve changed completely,” she laughs. “Sixty years have passed by and I like them!”
The past weaves with the present as they tell tales of their grandchildren (like everyone else's, glued to iPhones), the Space Race era that found Russian cosmonauts surreptitiously filling orange juice glasses with vodka in their living room, goodwill trips around the world and Sinatra cooking Italian suppers in their kitchen. “I was not a good cook,” says Kirk. “I was a good helper. He was a good cook.”
For those wondering, yes, Anne knew of her husband's marital transgressions, she writes in Kirk and Anne. "As a European, I understood it was unrealistic to expect total fidelity in a marriage," she writes. Her famous husband told her about those dalliances "himself, because I wanted to hear it from him directly, not via an idle piece of gossip."
Framed family photos decorate various surfaces, and as this reporter exited, Michael Douglas was striding in. Douglas, whose mother is Kirk's first wife, Diana Dill, writes the foreword to Kirk and Anne. (Anne and Kirk also had son Eric, who died in 2004; Kirk also fathered producer Joel Douglas with Dill.)
The couple still speaks French together occasionally at home (“not all the time,” says Kirk, “because my wife is so much better than I am”) and follows the news closely. Kirk, a longtime Democrat, says President Trump “better improve. … I hope he does better than he has. Because he has made a lot of mistakes.”
Politics bubbles up at the close of the day, "because whatever goes on in the world, including in this country, we talk about it," says Anne. "Because we feel sorry for the next generation. Because we have known the better life, the better years. And they are gone. And they won’t come back.”
“You’re a pessimist!” exclaims Kirk.
Technology to the rescue. “I gave him the iPad for his 100th birthday,” says Anne. “Every night we always have our what we call ‘golden hour’ about 6, 6:30 until 7:15 p.m., and then dinner. And during this golden time we each have our drink and used to talk about what happened during the day.
“Nowadays he takes his iPad that I gave him, I take my iPad and we both look at CNN or something like that. And we don’t talk!”
Now that is a modern marriage.
Classic Hollywood: Kirk and Anne Douglas' lifetime of love is captured in their letters
- Created on Sunday, 30 April 2017
- Written by Susan King
--Los Angeles Times April 29, 2017
On screen, Kirk Douglas was a legendary tough guy. But in his real life he wasn’t afraid to express his emotions, especially to his wife, Anne.
That sensitive side is on display in the book “Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood,” which comes out next week. For example, there’s a letter Kirk wrote to Anne while in Munich filming Stanley Kubrick’s stark 1957 drama “Paths of Glory.”
How is it that when I am away from you, such love for you overwhelms me at 2:30 in the morning-as it is now-I awake to write to you. How incomplete I seem without my family. How can a man live alone? To live just for yourself is to be dead. And yes I welcome this parting from you to to rekindle my awareness of how much you mean to me.
The early hour brings out the poetic side of me.”
To be sure, the Douglas’ nearly 63-year marriage had its ups and downs. Kirk Douglas cheated on his first wife Diana Dill, who is son Michael’s mother, and early in their marriage was unfaithful to Anne. In an interview a few years ago Anne said: “After 60 years of marriage, you go through a lot of obstacles — and all of them were beautiful.”
But they are soul mates who dealt with the untimely death of their younger son Eric, who was bipolar and struggled with drug addiction; her breast cancer; and his 1996 stroke, which affected his speech. And on this sunny afternoon they couldn’t be closer, sitting side by side on the sofa of the living room of their art-filled Beverly Hills ranch home. Anne uses a walker because she broke her hip; Douglas has a walker with wheels and, true to form, he rushes into the living room like a speed demon.
The book not only features their letters but interviews that were conducted separately about their lives.
“Kirk always said a novel, you tell the truth; a biography, you lie,” said Anne. But in the case of this book, said Kirk, they have both told the truth.
Originally, Kirk wanted to write a book about the letters he had written and received from “all over the world. Suddenly, I came across a letter that my wife had written to me 50 years ago. I said ‘it’s too bad we don’t have letters of 50, 60 years ago.’ She said, ‘I have them. She has this big box of letters. I said ‘Let’s make a book of that.’”
Anne is the more practical of the two; Kirk is more off the cuff. And those differences have led to arguments — with Anne’s instincts winning most of the battles.
“She saved my life,” said Kirk. Back in 1958 they had a home in Palm Springs next to good friends Elizabeth Taylor and her producer-husband Mike Todd. Douglas was asked by Todd to accompany him to New York on a small plane.
“He was going to go to New York to get an award and he asked me to present it to him,” he recalled.
“First you wanted to go because he was going to stop in Independence, Mo., to see President Truman and then go to New York to present the award,” noted Anne.
But Anne had a strange feeling about the flight and told him not to take it.
“She talked me out of it,” said Kirk. “I said, OK, I won’t go.’ I was so mad. The next day we were driving back to L.A. and I turned on the radio and it said Mike Todd’s plane crashed. Everybody was killed.”
It was not love at first sight for the two. The German-born Anne Buydens lived in Paris when she met Douglas.
“I had done the public relations in Paris on ‘Moulin Rouge,’” Anne said. “I worked with John Huston for about year. I had another movie to do after ‘Moulin Rouge.’ The director [Anatole Litvak] wanted me to be the PR lady on the movie ‘Act of Love’ with Kirk Douglas.”
A photographer friend on the movie took her to meet Kirk. “He said, ‘Come on, let me take you to the lion’s den,”’ recalled Anne; Kirk had been photographed in the Paris press with a succession of beautiful women.
Kirk admitted “when I first asked her to work for me, she said no. I was surprised.” Eventually, though, she agreed to work on a trial basis.
“Then we were very good friends,” said Anne. “I promised myself I wouldn’t get involved with such a handsome man, knowing he was to go back to America.” Especially since Douglas was then engaged to the young actress Pier Angeli, whom he met on the 1953 film “The Story of Three Loves.”
“When things got a little too warm between us, he’d say ‘Don’t forget, I’m engaged,’” said Anne looking over at a smiling Kirk. “I said ‘I won’t forget.’’’
But that all changed of course — and the rest is history recorded in these letters.
“Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood”
Running Press, $25
Kirk Douglas says he would be lost without his wife Anne
- Created on Wednesday, 12 April 2017
- Written by Peter Sheridan
----The Express April 8, 2017
He pushes his wheeled walker before him like a chariot, head held high, steering across the living room’s hardwood floor to the champagne-coloured heavy silk couch in his Beverly Hills mansion, easing himself into the oversized plumped-up sofa.
His tanned face is slack with a century of weathering.
His speech is slow, slurred by the vestiges of a stroke two decades ago.
The star of Spartacus, The Bad And The Beautiful and Lust For Life feels every one of his 100 years.
Yet in his sparkling blue eyes there is no mistaking the love as Kirk Douglas gazes at Anne, his wife of 62 years. “I owe her so much,” says Kirk, who turned 100 in December.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. It will be 63 years next month. My god, how did it happen?”
Anne smiles: “You say ‘yes, darling’ a lot. We have a great relationship and have trusted each other, rightly or wrongly,” she says with a mischievous grin, taking his hand.
“We’re there for each other with love and enormous friendship.”
The room is elegantly stocked with paintings, sculptures and flowers but it was in a forgotten corner of a cupboard that Anne found the sweetest remembrance of their romance: a treasure trove of love letters dating back to 1953.
Those billet-doux and other intimate notes have been compiled into a touching and at times brutally honest new book, Kirk And Anne, offering an insight into one of Hollywood’s longest marriages.
“I had no idea she had kept them all these years,” says Kirk.
“I said, ‘We have to make this into a book.’”
But their correspondence also shows that the course of their true love did not always run smooth.
Recently divorced from Diana Dill, with whom he had sons Michael and Joel, Kirk was filming in Paris in 1953 when he hired German-born Anne Buydens as his trilingual personal secretary.
They soon began an affair even though he was seriously romancing Italian screen siren Pier Angeli.
“Anne was a sophisticated woman, unlike my virginal Pier Angeli, who took her mother on all our dates,” Kirk recalls.
He grew closer to Anne but: “I warned her not to expect a commitment. I was secretly engaged to Pier Angeli. I cannot believe how insensitive I was. I asked Anne to come to Bulgari and help me choose an engagement ring for Pier. She did it without a murmur but she must have been seething inside.”
Anne admits: “This was a particularly painful period for me... Kirk never tried to hide his dalliances from me.”
Confesses Kirk: “I was very active and saw lots of women.”
But Anne got her revenge.
“I threw him a surprise birthday party in his Paris apartment and invited every woman that he had had an affair with or took out, all standing in a long line when he arrived,” she laughs.
“Kirk opened the door, looked at the line-up and, smiling, whispered to me, ‘You b****!’”
Kirk proposed to Angeli in Paris on her 21st birthday but when she said yes Kirk lost all interest.
“Over dinner, knowing there were no obstacles to a night of passion, I fell out of love with her. I was bored with the conversation. Also there was no chemistry between us when we kissed as the clock struck midnight. I broke off our engagement.”
Liberated, he wrote dozens of passionate notes to Anne from distant film locations.
From Acapulco he wrote: “How I wish you were here. The bed next to mine is empty – and I wish you were in it.”
They exchanged letters in fluent French, German and English.
He called her “Darling” and “Stolz,” meaning “haughty”. She called him “Mein Liebling,” “Mon Cheri” and “Mon Amour”.
Yet still Kirk saw other women despite his letters to Anne: “I have been dating very little... Come to me, darling. My heart is empty and I need you near.
”After a year of their affair Anne gave Kirk an ultimatum, threatening to leave for ever: “I allowed you during this time to push me around emotionally and, if I don’t want to get hurt for good, I have to stop you from starting it again.”
Days later Kirk found Anne packing her bags. “That’s when it hit me,” he says.
“I would be lost without her. If she got on that plane she would never give me another chance. Suddenly, blessed with clarity, I asked Anne to marry me.”
They planned a whirlwind Las Vegas marriage that weekend.
“It wasn’t a romantic wedding but it was legal,” he says.
Yet because of visa delays Anne had to remain apart from Kirk for two months after their wedding, inspiring some emotional missives.
In one cable Kirk wrote of his frustration as their separation dragged on: “Have all the clocks in the world stopped running, is the earth no longer revolving on its axis, let’s give it a shove, Kirk.”
In another letter he wrote: “I miss you so much my darling. And I need you so much. I want our marriage to be a very happy, successful one.”
In Germany filming Stanley Kubrick’s The Paths Of Glory, Kirk wrote at 2.30am: “How incomplete I am without my family. How can any man live alone?”
Kirk waves a gnarled finger at me across the coffee table littered with orchids.
“Two things happened to make her my partner for life,” he says.
“She was suspicious of my business partner and it turned out he had taken all my money. I was broke but would never have known without Anne. Then she stopped me getting on a private plane to New York with Elizabeth Taylor’s husband, producer Mike Todd. Anne insisted, ‘I don’t want you on that plane.’ “She told me to fly commercial – and Todd’s plane crashed, killing everyone aboard. She saved my life. Now I always trust her intuition.”
On July 19, 1958 he wrote: “How often I think that if I weren’t married to you I’d be in awful shape. I’d be a bum and a drunkard without you. And the awful thing is I keep needing you more and more as I get older!”
Kirk smiles: “That’s still true.”
The couple, who had sons Peter and Eric together, the latter dying of an overdose aged 46, still make a handsome pair: Kirk in a baby blue sweater and black trousers, Anne in beige trousers and matching cardigan over a black jersey.
Yet they sit in a living room with no movie posters or awards from his 90 films over 60 years in Hollywood.
“It no longer gives me pleasure to look at the signed posters of my movies hanging there,” he says.
“I’ve outlived many of the friends I worked with and I miss them.”
After his massive stroke in 1996 Kirk admits contemplating suicide: “Feeling so sorry for myself I pulled out the gun I had saved from Gun- fight At The OK Corral to kill myself.”
But reviewing his life he realised: “I had been lucky – even with my stroke... Thank god for Anne’s tough love or I would have wallowed forever in self-pity.”
Their love is undiminished today, says Kirk: “We have been married more than 62 years and my unabated admiration and need for this remarkable woman still astounds me.”
Anne agrees: “This is the story of an unending love affair."
“Love you,” says Kirk, smiling. “Love you more,” Anne replies, getting the final word.
Kirk Douglas was supposed to be on flight that killed Elizabeth Taylor's husband, Mike Todd
- Created on Tuesday, 28 March 2017
- Written by New York Daily News
--New York Daily News March 26, 2017
Kirk Douglas might have died in a plane crash when his wife Anne was pregnant with their second son, if not for a premonition that kept him off the flight.
In the couple’s upcoming book, “Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood,” they recount the time producer Mike Todd — the third husband of Elizabeth Taylor and their neighbor in Palm Springs — hit him with a short-notice invitation to ride in his private plane to New York in 1958. Todd was to get an award there after a stop in Missouri to visit Harry S. Truman.
Douglas went home to tell his wife he was leaving in a few hours — but she had a strange feeling about it, and insisted he not go, leading to a huge fight.
The next morning, the still-feuding couple turned on the radio and learned that Todd’s plane had crashed in New Mexico, leaving no survivors. “You saved my life,” a weeping Kirk told Anne, promising to never doubt her intuition again.
It’s one of numerous tales in the book, which alternates the voices of the devoted pair with letters they wrote each other over their 62-year relationship.
We learn that Kirk, who just turned 100, feuded so much with Stanley Kubrick on the set of “Spartacus” that at Anne’s suggestion, they saw a psychiatrist to air out their differences. The shrink didn’t do much to help, but he did give Kubrick a novella by Arthur Schnitzler that he said would make a good movie — which became the basis for “Eyes Wide Shut.”
Douglas got along better with Ronald Reagan, whom he met when the future President was head of the Screen Actors Guild. Anne and Nancy Reagan were longtime friends, though the Douglasses’ son Eric, a school chum of the Reagans’ son Ronnie, strained things when he booed the Goldwater sticker on Nancy’s car one afternoon. The diehard Republican sent him home and banned the boys from playing together.
Another high-profile couple they befriended was Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, who had a complicated relationship. Leigh was bipolar — and in the late 1950s, treatment was basically nonexistent. She could be vicious to the gentle Olivier in public — and in private made his life hell, sometimes raging at him all night. She was also hypersexual, and would proposition male dinner guests in front of her husband — including Douglas. He passed on the proposition.