Joan Collins

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Joan Collins on the cover of Life Magazine 1955

Joan Henrietta Collins OBE (born May 23, 1933) is a British actress and writer. Her younger sister is Jackie Collins who is a novelist; and her much-younger brother is William Collins Jr., born in 1946.


Collins was born in London, England to a South African-born Jewish father and an English mother. She was educated at the Francis Holland School and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) with others actors such as Sir Roger Moore and Sir Michael Caine.

At the age of 17 she was signed to the J. Arther Rank Film Company, a highly profitable English studio and charm school. While starring in a handful of Rank productions in 1952 Collins married British screen icon Maxwell Reed, whom she divorced in 1956 on her twenty-third birthday after he attempted to sell her to an Arab sheik. In 1957 she left England and was signed by 20th Century Fox. During this time she appeared in scores of forgettable films while carrying on much talked about romances with Nicky Hilton, Terence Stamp, Sidney Chaplin and Warren Beatty.

The gossip mills set ablaze when Collins walked away from Hollywood and a successful career in the early 1960's when she married Anthony Newley, an award winning singer, actor and film composer. With Newley she had two children, a daughter, Tara (now a British television broadcaster) and a son, Sacha (who, in present day is a highly regarded artist). However, all was not well in the Newley marriage with infidelity on both sides leading to the couples divorce in 1970.

In 1972 Collins married her third husband, Ron Kass, who had been the president of Apple Records during the reign of The Beatles. During their marriage Collins had her third and final child, a daughter, Katyana (a photographer). In 1980 Collins's world was turned upside down when Katy was struck by a speeding car, leaving the young child in a coma. During this horrific time Collins and her husband bought a trailer and parked it in the hospital parking lot in order to be as close to their daughter as possible. Their persistence paid off when Katyana emerged from her coma a few months later although it would take years for her to fully recover. Unfortunately, like her other two marriages, Collins's third attempt at matrimony failed as she and Kass divorced in 1983 as he battled substance abuse, although they remained very close until his death, from cancer, in 1986 as Collins was riding the crest of her super stardom on Dynasty.

In 1985, Collins became a bride for the fourth time when she married Swedish pop singer Peter Holm in a quickie ceremony in Las Vegas. The marriage lasted a year and the divorce proceedings lasted just as long with an embarrassing media circus hitting its peak when Holm's mistress burst out of her blouse on the stand, to thunderous laughter from Collins.

Blistered from her last foray into wedded bliss and with Dynasty winding down after a decade Collins left Los Angeles and returned to London where she lived with much younger art dealer Robin Hurlstone for over a decade. On February 29, 1996, Collins won a U.S. $2 million suit with Random House for breach of contract. Humiliated by the claims that she was over the hill and not a talented writer, Collins felt she was on the losing end of the case until, on the advice of her loved ones, she became highly confrontational and emotional on the witness stand, newspapers around the globe hailed the court case as "her finest performance."

In 2001 Collins and Hurlstone ended their relationship and Collins struck up a romance with theatrical company manager Percy Gibson, a man thirty-two years her junior. They married on February 17th, 2002 at Claridge's Hotel in London. After decades of flirting with British politics on May 24, 2004, Collins joined the UK Independence Party. [1] In October 2004, Collins stated she was not a supporter, but rather a patron of the party. In early 2005, Collins comented that she had rejoined the Conservative Party, stating, "The Labour Party doesn't care about the British people." [2] In addition, after writing several articles for the UK newspaper The Daily Mail in 2005, it has been rumoured that Collins was approached by several members of the Conservative Party in hopes of luring her to run for Parliament.

As of 2005 Collins is a "Glam-ma" three times over. A woman in perpetual motion, evergreen star Joan Collins lives happily between her luxury homes in New York, London and the south of France.


In 1951, She made her feature debut as a beauty contest entrant in Lady Godiva Rides. In the early 1950s, she did double duty by posing for pin-up photos and acting in B-movies in Britain. After mild success, she was signed by 20th Century Fox as their answer to Elizabeth Taylor. However, after her youthful and highly splashy career as a sultry starlet, Collins became known more for her personal affairs with leading men such as Warren Beatty than her on-screen achievements. After losing such high-profile roles as Cleopatra (Collins was cast when Elizabeth Taylor fell ill, then dumped upon Taylor's recovery), Collins turned to other ventures. Notable guest appearances on American TV during the 1960s included Star Trek , Batman , Mission: Impossible and Police Woman. In the mid-to-late 1970s, while in a career slump that included guest-starring on several forgettable television series.


File:Playboy December 1983.jpg
On the cover of Playboy, December 1983 at the age of 50

Collins starred in the film versions of several of her sister Jackie Collins' romantic novels The Bitch and The Stud. The films, like the books which inspired them, were trashy, full of nudity and raunchy sex scenes. Both films were smash hits in England, becoming the most profitable films since the James Bond series.

Aside from this brief camp notoriety, Collins was again a back number until she was successfully relaunched as a powerful sex symbol and icon of independence in her late 40s with her role as Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan on the prime time TV soap opera Dynasty (1981 - 1989). Her performance helped the show beat main rival Dallas to become the No. 1 U.S. TV show in the early 1980s, and she became the highest-paid actress on television at the time.

She also appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine at the age of 50 to further establish herself as a sex symbol despite the popular cultural opinion that older women can't be considered sexy.

Later career

Apart from many guest-starring roles in television programs, she appeared regularly on the short-lived primetime drama Pacific Palisades in 1997 and the famous soap opera Guiding Light in 2002.

Collins made her successful Broadway debut in 1992 in an adaptation of Noel Coward's Private Lives, and in 2004 she toured the United Kingdom with a revival of the play Full Circle. Come 2006 Collins is slated to join the cast of the hit British television series Footballer's Wives as a glamorous socialite. In addition, she is set to tour North America in the play Legends! with former Dynasty co-star Linda Evans.


Her two best-selling memoirs are Past Imperfect (1978) and Second Act (1996). She has also written several best-selling novels: Prime Time, Love & Desire & Hate, Infamous, Star Quality and Misfortune's Daughters. In addition, she has written several best-selling lifestyle books, The Joan Collins Beauty Book, My Secrets, My Friends Secrets and Joan's Way.


  • 1978: Saturn Award nomination, Best Actress in a Science Fiction film, Empire of the Ants.
  • 1982: Golden Globe nomination, Best Actress in a TV Series (Drama), Dynasty.
  • 1982: Golden Apple Award, Female Star of the Year.
  • 1983: Emmy Award nomination, Best Actress in a TV Series (Drama), Dynasty.
  • 1983: Golden Globe, Best Actress in a TV Series (Drama), Dynasty.
  • 1983: Cable ACE Award nomination, Best Actress in a Drama Series, Faerie Tale Theatre's Hansel and Gretel.
  • 1983: Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Career Achievement.
  • 1984: Soap Opera Digest Award, Outstanding Villainess in a Primetime Drama Series, Dynasty.
  • 1984: Golden Globe nomination, Best Actress in a TV Series (Drama), Dynasty.
  • 1985: People's Choice Award: Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, Dynasty.
  • 1985: Soap Opera Digest Award, Outstanding Villainess in a Primetime Drama Series, Dynasty.
  • 1985: Golden Globe nomination, Best Actress in a TV Series (Drama), Dynasty.
  • 1986: Soap Opera Digest Award nomination, Outstanding Villainess in a Primetime Drama Series and Outstanding Actress in a Comic Relief Role in a Primetime Drama Series, Dynasty.
  • 1986: Golden Globe nomination, Best Actress in a TV Series (Drama), Dynasty.
  • 1987: Golden Globe nomination, Best Actress in a TV Series (Drama), Dynasty.
  • 1988: Soap Opera Digest Award nomination, Outstanding Villainess in a Primetime Drama Series, Dynasty.
  • 1996: OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II and the British Government for her contribution to the arts and ongoing charity work.
  • 1999: Millennium Award of Achievement, Golden Camera Film Council.
  • 2001: Golden Nymph, Outstanding Female Actor, Monte Carlo Television Festival.
  • 2005: Lifetime Achievement Award, San Diego International Film Festival.


Television Work

External links

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