--by Scott Feinberg Hollywood Reporter August 20, 2015
The iconic actor and his wife of 61 years have amassed an $80 million fortune, and now they are planning to give back to a range of causes, from Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the Anne Douglas Center for Women to their biggest passion, the Motion Picture & Television Fund
, 98, has come a long way from his Russian immigrant parents' house near the railroad tracks in Amsterdam, New York. Sitting in his Beverly Hills home with , his wife of 61 years, the legendary actor recalls of his youth, "Sometimes we didn't have enough to eat, but very often there would be a knock at the door and it would be a hobo wanting food, and my mother always gave them something. My mother said to me, 'You must take care of other people.' That stayed with me.'"
Movie stars in Kirk's heyday didn't get paid the kind of money they do today, but Kirk still became a very wealthy man. In 1955, he formed a production company so that he could make movies outside of the studio system — a new concept back then — and Anne took charge of its bookkeeping. (The company's "big moneymakers," she recalls, were 1958's The Vikings and 1960's Spartacus.) "My wife is very smart," says Kirk. "Fifty years ago she set up a trust, and it's been growing ever since. So recently [in 2012] I said, 'How much money do we have in that?' And she said, '$80 million.' I said, 'What?!' Anne recalls Kirk's next remark, 'I want to give it away.' And that's exactly what's happening."
The Douglas' biggest contributions, though, have been to the Motion Picture & Television Fund. In the early 1990s, they raised $2 million to build Harry's Haven (named after Kirk's father), a specialized unit for people suffering from Alzheimer's and related forms of dementia, on the Woodland Hills campus. In 2012, they donated an additional $20 million to the MPTF. Then, a year ago, after learning that Harry's Haven was becoming overcrowded, they pledged an additional $15 million for an expansion. Ground will be broken for the Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion, a new two-floor building attached to Harry's Haven, around the time of Kirk's 99th birthday in December. Anne laughs, "When [MPTF Foundation chairman] Jeffrey Katzenberg comes to say 'Hello,' you say, 'How much?'"