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By Joanna Valente
Everyone enjoysÂ a good love story. Even though I infamously dislike narratives with neat, tidy endings, Iâ€™m also a huge romantic at heart. This is why Iâ€™m so excited thatÂ Â Kirk Douglas and his wife, Anne,Â wrote a bookÂ called Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood,Â which was released in May.
The book, which was written withÂ Marcia Newberger, centers around their long, passionate, and sometimes turbulent marriage. The couple has been married since 1954 (in Las Vegas, no less), so clearly after 63Â years, they know a thing or two about how to make relationships work. Kirk is now 100 and Anne is 98â€“not only unusual milestones for anyone to reach both in age and marriage, but a happily ironic one considering what Kirk once wrote in a letter.
Four years after they were married, KirkÂ wroteÂ Anne a letter saying,Â â€śIf I live to be one hundred, there will still be so many things unsaid.â€ť On his 100th birthday last year, it all came full circle when he wroteÂ â€śAs I have now reached that milestone, I can attest that it is still true.â€ť
As pointed out by our sister siteÂ JTA,Â their union felt unlikely, in that Kirk was â€śthe son of a hard-drinking Jewish immigrant ragman and junk collector,â€ť while Anne was â€śthe daughter of a prosperous German family.â€ť When they met,Â both were recently divorced, and Kirk was engaged.Â But they were meant to be.
Because of his acting schedule, they often wrote letters to each other. Kirk referred to Anne as â€śStolz,â€ť while Anne addressed Kirk as â€śIsidoreâ€ť or â€śIzzy.â€ť Interestingly, Anne converted in 2003 to Judaism (after 49 years of marriage!), describing herÂ mikvehÂ experience:
â€śAfter removing all nail polish, I entered the swimming pool and put my head under the water. I came out looking like a wet dog. But I was Jewish.Â It is time he got a nice Jewish girl.â€ť
The book, with a foreword by their actor son, Michael, was clearly craftedÂ with love. You can see it from excerpts such as these:
This article was reprinted with permission fromÂ Kveller.com, a fast-growing, award-winning website for parents raising Jewish and interfaith kids.Â Follow Kveller on FacebookÂ andÂ sign up for their newsletters here.
Joanna Valente is the Editorial Assistant atÂ Kveller. She is the author ofÂ Sirs & Madams,Â The Gods Are Dead,Â Xenos,Â andÂ MarysÂ of the Sea, andÂ received her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College.Â You can follow herÂ @joannasaidÂ on Twitter,Â @joannacvalenteon Instagram, orÂ email her atÂ email@example.com.