Kirk Douglas left the bulk of his estate to charity, not to his widow or sons

Michael Douglas and Kirk Douglas

The late Kirk Douglas did not leave his estate to his beloved famous son, Michael Douglas. This is not shocking to me – Michael Douglas is incredibly rich on his own, much richer than his father and his siblings. What did surprise me is that Kirk Douglas had so much money when he passed away in early February, and that he left most of it to charity. Dang. I’m sure Kirk Douglas’s widow would have liked more of his estate, right??

Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas was always a pretty charitable guy — and that didn’t end with his death earlier this month. The silver-screen icon, who died Feb. 5 at the age of 103, left the bulk of his $80 million estate to the Douglas Foundation, the charity he co-founded nearly six decades ago, it was revealed Sunday. The nonprofit benefits the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, The Kirk and Anne Douglas Childhood Center and a St. Lawrence University scholarship for underprivileged students.

The Douglas Foundation, created in 1964 by Douglas and his wife Anne Beydens Douglas, also doles out dollars to Westwood’s Sinai Temple and Culver City’s Kirk Douglas Theater, a restored venue. Anne Douglas, who was married to the acting legend for 65 years, still serves as the nonprofit’s managing trustee.

“The Douglas Foundation’s principal goal is to help those who cannot otherwise help themselves,” the group’s Web site says. “Its primary focus is improving education and health, fostering the well-being, and most importantly developing new opportunities for the child who hold our future in the their hands.”

It’s unclear who will get the rest of Kirk Douglas’ money — about $10 million — but in addition to Anne, he is survived by Joel Douglas, the couple’s son, and Peter and Michael, his sons from his first marriage. Joel is a film producer and Peter is a television producer.

[From Page Six]

Well, at least Anne Douglas is getting money as a trustee of the foundation, at least that’s what I assume – that her role has a salary. As I said, Michael Douglas doesn’t need his dad’s money. Michael is worth somewhere between $250 to 300 million by most accounts. But what about Joel and Peter? I bet they could have used some of Kirk’s money. Maybe they get to share that $10 million with Anne Douglas.

(PS… As I was going through the archive photos of Kirk Douglas, I thought Anne was Nancy Reagan, hand to God. I was like “was Kirk friendly with Nancy Reagan?!?”)

2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party

Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

38 Responses to “Kirk Douglas left the bulk of his estate to charity, not to his widow or sons”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. TIFFANY says:

    Anne will be alright. It would not surprise me if Michael takes care of her.

    • SM says:

      That was my reactuon too.she will be fine, she is not going to end up on the street nor will she have to hustle to feed the children or anything like that. She must have quite a comfortable life and if the kids are working and able to earn the food then it is just fair that those who do not have anything in life, are struggling and are less fortunate, get some support in life.

  2. Jojo says:

    I would assume that she and the children had inherited non-liquid assets.

  3. Swack says:

    His money and his right to do what he wants to do. I would rather it go to charity. I’m sure all were taken care of.

  4. Purple prankster says:

    But but but. Isn’t she on the foundation’s board? So she can draw a salary from it? I bet his sons are too.
    I have read that these charitable foundations the wealthy make are useful to avoid estate taxes for inheritance. Please google it if you’re interested.

    • Belinda says:


    • LadyMary says:


      I’m not surprised though. Is that what Meg and Harry are doing as well to avoid taxes?

    • Charlie says:

      As a rule, foundation trustees are not paid unless they are providing a skilled service (if she were, say, a CPA and doing the books).

      There is no way that assets weren’t set aside for her before his death – she’s not going to have the rug pulled out from under her.

  5. girl_ninja says:

    Mike is probably plenty rich and his mama probably has enough money to take care of her for the rest of her days.

    • Courtney B says:

      She’s actually his stepmom but I think they’re really close. His mom was kirk’s first wife. I think she passed a few years ago.

      • BeanieBean says:

        His mom was/is (not sure if she’s still alive) a very rich woman in her own right, having come very a very old colonial family with properties & business in Rhode Island, Bermuda, and Spain.

  6. Louise177 says:

    It’s really annoying that when a celebrity dies the media tries to start a scandal if most of the money isn’t left to the family. We don’t know their finances or arrangements. They could have been given money long ago or they actually didn’t want the money.

  7. WorkingForWeekend says:

    Because Michael needs it and his wife has another 40 years, right? nope and nope. Good call.

  8. Becks1 says:

    My guess is this was all worked out long ago and Anne is going to be just fine.

    • FHMom says:

      Yes. She probably has plenty of money in her own name separate from him

    • Cate says:

      Yes, I have a hard time believing this was a surprise to her (or the kids, really). Skeptical me thinks it probably allowed them to avoid a bunch of taxes. Optimistic me hopes that Kirk & Anne Douglas actually have some sense of “enough” when it comes to money and were actually motivated by altruism or a desire to better the world.

  9. Lala11_7 says:

    “Was Kirk friendly with Nancy Reagan?”

    Read some of the OLD HAWT TEA regarding Nancy…when she was a “starlet” in Hollywood…and the…ahem…reputation she ahem….earned….ahem…

    So…I’ma say…YEA…Kirk was friendly with Nancy….Kirk was friendly/unfriendly to WAY TOO MANY WOMEN during his marriage to his widow to leave his wife that amount of $$$…YEA…I WENT THERE WITH THAT!

  10. Lena says:

    As the charity was founded by both him and his wife I assume she wanted the money to go to it as well. I am sure there is more than enough left for her to live as she wants for the rest of her life. And while this other sons aren’t famous that doesn‘t they aren’t well off or haven’t gotten gifts before. They will likely still inherit several millions.

  11. lucy2 says:

    Anne is also like 100 years old. What would she have done with $80 million?
    Also, who knows what he gifted his children over the years.

  12. ME says:

    Most people know how to dance around inheritance tax (I am assuming California has estate tax?). Rich people usually give money to their kids while they are still alive or put houses/property in kids’ names so they won’t have to worry about estate/inheritance tax. I am sure those kids/grandkids got plenty !

  13. ooshpick says:

    Awesome! I’m sure that will benefit many worthy people.

  14. DS9 says:

    I’m hard pressed to believe this man was unaware of the finances and living standards of his wife and other children and that his will didn’t reflect that understanding.

    And he left it to the charity his wife runs so she knows.

    There are also likely annuities, trusts, and property he’s divvied up.

  15. Dee Kay says:

    I think he did the right thing. Just think of parents whose children will survive because they will get treatment at the Children’s Hospital. Or whose children will get important benefits from the Children’s Center. A donation of this size will save and enhance lives, which is really an immeasurable gift.

  16. deezee says:

    I don’t see it being a big deal he left the majority of the money to his foundation. Aren’t his children in their 50s-70s? By this point, if they needed financial help, they probably got it when they were younger and started their careers/families. At this point, his kids are old and even if they got anythiing, they no longer need a lot to live out their remaining years.

  17. Mara says:

    Good for him

  18. Velvet Elvis says:

    I’m sure that everything they had wasn’t just “his”. There are most likely multiple properties and accounts either jointly owned or in her name only. They probably decided together to do this, knowing that she was well set up and preferring his money going to good causes instead of family.

  19. Jen says:

    They’ve probably been doing asset transfers to family members for some time now using a variety of estate planning measures – GSTs, GRATs, CRUTs, etc. I’m sure they’ll all be just fine.

  20. SeriousAF says:

    So when are we gonna talk about him being a rapist?

    If not, next

  21. Nottoday says:

    That’s…not how it works? They have been married for 65 years – their assets are community property and he can’t will her assets away from her.