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Joan Collins (1933)

Joan Henrietta Collins

Type :  


Joan Henrietta Collins, OBE , is an English actress, author, and columnist. Born in Paddington and raised in Maida Vale, Collins grew up during the Second World War. At the age of nine, she made her stage debut in A Doll's House and after attending school, she was classically trained as an actress at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. After eighteen months at the drama school, she was signed to an exclusive contract by the Rank Organisation and appeared in a number of British films.

At the age of 22, Collins headed to Hollywood and landed sultry roles in several popular films, including The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing and Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! . While she continued to make films in the United States and the United Kingdom throughout the 1960s, her career languished in the 1970s, when she was reduced to roles in horror flicks. Near the end of the decade, however, she starred in two films based on bestselling novels by her younger sister Jackie Collins: The Stud and its sequel The Bitch . Returning to her theatrical roots, she played the title role in the 1980 British revival of The Last of Mrs. Cheyney and later had a lead role in the 1990 revival of Noël Coward's Private Lives.

In 1981, Collins landed Alexis Carrington , the role for which she is perhaps best known, in the long running 1980s prime time television soap opera Dynasty. By the time the soap opera had been cancelled, Collins followed in her sister's footsteps and published her first novel Prime Time which became a bestseller despite critical pans. Although retrieving publication issues with Random House in 1996, she has since published many books: both fictional, non-fictional and autobiographical.

Flamboyant in her personal life and equally flamboyant in roles she pursues, Collins continues to act in theatre, film and television in a career that has spanned 60 years. She has had varying guest arcs on a variety of television shows in both the United States and the United Kingdom.


 early life
Collins was born in Paddington, London, the daughter of Elsa Collins (née Bessant), a dance teacher and nightclub hostess, and Joseph William Collins , an agent whose clients would later include Shirley Bassey, The Beatles, and Tom Jones. Collins' South African-born father was Jewish and her British mother was Anglican. She has one sister, author Jackie Collins, and one brother, Bill Collins. Collins was educated at the Francis Holland School and then trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art .

Collins' childhood was spent in and around Maida Vale and was, according to Collins, an idyllic one with plenty of love, comfort and security. Her father, however, was also a strict disciplinarian and exerted a strong hold over her gentle mother, an attitude which came to annoy her daughters, who sought to rebel against it. Collins has said of her father that "he was detached, cold, hard, critical, difficult, acerbic, and everyone had to please him". He said himself in his 1986 autobiography A Touch of Collins: "I love my daughters but I am not the kind of parent who deludes himself that his children are superior to everyone else's. I did not think of them as particularly outstanding in any way".

At the age of 17 Collins was signed to the J. Arthur Rank Film Company, a profitable British studio.

 early career
In 1951, she made her feature debut as a beauty contest entrant in Lady Godiva Rides Again and had a number of other minor film appearances in the UK. She was next signed by 20th Century Fox in 1955 as their answer to MGM's Elizabeth Taylor. She actually screen tested for the title role in Cleopatra which eventually went to Taylor. According to an article in Picture Post, Collins was frustrated by her time at Rank. Collins told the popular Hulton Press Weekly 'they're always carrying on about there being no women of star material in England. They don't bother to build us up. They concentrate on building the men'. She made her Hollywood debut in Howard Hawks's Land of the Pharaohs and appeared in Island in the Sun .

Collins was popular as a magazine pin-up in the UK throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, with cover appearances on titles such as Span and 66.

Her notable guest appearances on American television during the 1960s and 1970s included Batman, The Virginian, Mission: Impossible, Police Woman, and the notable Star Trek episode, "The City on the Edge of Forever".

In the 1970s Collins made several movies and then starred in the softcore film versions of her sister Jackie Collins's racy novels The Stud and The Bitch. The films were smash hits in England, becoming the most profitable films since the James Bond series. Collins has worked with some of the biggest names and movie legends in Hollywood, including Richard Burton, Bette Davis, Kirk Douglas, Gene Kelly, Laurence Harvey, Bob Hope, Dwayne Hickman, James Mason, Robert Mitchum, Eddie Albert, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Sir Laurence Olivier, Edward G. Robinson, Sir Ralph Richardson, Rod Steiger, James Stewart, Joanne Woodward, Jayne Mansfield, Sir John Gielgud, and Sir Nigel Hawthorne.

In 1981, Collins was offered a role in the second season of the then struggling new soap opera Dynasty (1981–1989) playing Alexis, the beautiful but vengeful ex-wife of tycoon Blake Carrington . Her performance is generally credited as one factor in the fledgling show's subsequent rise in the Nielsen ratings to a hit rivaling Dallas.

In 1985, Dynasty was the #1 show in the US. For her portrayal of Alexis, Collins was nominated six times for a Golden Globe Award , winning once in 1983. Upon accepting the award, Collins thanked Sophia Loren for turning down the part of Alexis. Also around this time, aged 49, she also appeared in a twelve page photo layout for Playboy magazine shot by George Hurrell.

In 1983 Collins starred in Making of a Male Model with young model-actor Jon-Erik Hexum, and in 1984 played a soap star in The Cartier Affair with David Hasselhoff. With Dynasty at the height of its success, Collins began producing and starred in the 1986 CBS miniseries Sins and Monte Carlo.

In the 2001 E! True Hollywood Story episode featuring Dynasty, former ABC executive Ted Harbert stated, "The truth is we didn't really believe that we had this thing done as a hit until Joan Collins walked down that courtroom aisle." Co-star Al Corley noted that Collins "just flew" in the role that was "tailor made...just spot on." In Dynasty producer Aaron Spelling's final press interview he said of Collins: "We didn't write Joan Collins. She played Joan Collins. Am I right? We wrote a character, but the character could have been played by 50 people and 49 of them would have failed. She made it work."

 later career
After the end of Dynasty in 1989, Collins took time off to be with her family. She rejoined her costars for Dynasty: The Reunion, a 1991 miniseries that concluded the series which had been left with a cliffhanger ending after its abrupt cancellation. In the 1990s Collins made several guest star appearances on series such as Roseanne, The Nanny and Will & Grace while dabbling in films like Decadence and A Midwinter's Tale. She also appeared as the main characters of films such as Mama's Back and Annie: A Royal Adventure! during this period. In 1994, at the age of 60, she launched her only exercise video, titled Joan Collins Personal Workout.

In 1990, Collins played Amanda in a revival of Noël Coward's Private Lives in the West End. She would later make her Broadway debut in the same play in 1992. In 1991 Collins also appeared in Noël Coward's Tonight at 8:30 and played eight different women in a series of one act plays written by Coward, including an elderly Victorian spinster. She also guest starred in six episodes of Aaron Spelling's short lived prime time soap opera Pacific Palisades in 1997. During the early 1990s Joan Collins twice appeared as a celebrity guest star on the hit South African soap opera "Egoli" , playing the role of Catherine Sinclair. Collins was chosen as the cover model for the relaunch of the popular celebrity magazine OK! when it changed from being a monthly to a weekly. In the spring of 2000 she completed an American tour of Love Letters with the likes of George Hamilton and Stacy Keach Jr. Additionally, she appeared in a West End production of Over the Moon with Frank Langella in 2000.

In 1999, Collins was cast in the video version of musical theatre show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She played two roles in this video: a pianist and Mrs. Potiphar, the wife of Egyptian millionaire Potiphar.[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0175790/fullcredits#cast]

In 2000, Collins joined the cast of The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, a prequel to the 1994 Universal Studios live action film The Flintstones. She played the supporting role Pearl Slaghoople (Wilma Flintstone's mother) but the film was not a box office success.

In 2001, she costarred in the TV movie These Old Broads with Debbie Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine, and Elizabeth Taylor. The movie was written by Reynolds' daughter Carrie Fisher.

In 2002, Collins returned to soap operas in a limited run on the American daytime soap Guiding Light. She also appeared on South African television, depicting the role of South African journalist Jani Allan in a comedic spoof. In 2004 she appeared on a Dutch comedy film Alice in Glamourland as a successful writer. Several months later she toured the United Kingdom with a revival of the play Full Circle. In 2005 she served as guest host of the popular British quiz show Have I Got News For You.

In 2005, actress Alice Krige portrayed Collins in Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure, a fictionalised television movie based on the creation and behind the scenes production of Dynasty.

In early 2006, Collins toured the United Kingdom in A Evening With Joan Collins, a one-woman show in which she detailed the highs and lows of her roller coaster career and life, directed by her husband Percy Gibson. In 2006, she reunited with her Dynasty co-stars for the non-fiction special Dynasty Reunion: Catfights and Caviar. Later that year, she began a tour of North America in the play Legends! with former Dynasty co-star Linda Evans, which concluded in May 2007 after a 30-week run.

In 2005, Collins joined the cast of the hit British television series Footballer's Wives for a limited run as a glamorous magazine mogul, named Eva de Wolffe. She also guest-starred in the BBC series Hotel Babylon in 2006 as a lonely aristocrat desperate for romance.

Collins appeared in an two hour-long episode of the murder-mystery drama Marple in 2009 ("They Do It with Mirrors"). She played Ruth Van Rydock, an old friend of detective Miss Marple.

On 24 January 2010, it was announced that Collins is joining the German soap opera Verbotene Liebe for a short run. She will play an aristocratic British woman, Lady Joan, who takes a young Prince in tow. Collins started shooting on 22 February 2010 and appeared on-screen in April 2010.

She made her pantomime debut in Dick Whittington as Queen Rat at the Birmingham Hippodrome during the 2010 Christmas season, starring alongside Nigel Havers, Keith Harris and Julian Clary.

 personal life
Collins has been married five times, firstly to Irish actor Maxwell Reed on 24 May 1952, and the couple divorced in 1956.

In 1959, Collins' beauty caught the eye of American actor Warren Beatty, four years her junior, after he saw her while dining at La Scala in Beverly Hills. Their affair, which would last a year and a half, led to a brief engagement and an abortion. She said of her younger paramour, "I don't think I can last much longer. He never stops; it must be all those vitamins he takes." When someone later inquired if they really had sex seven times a day, she answered, "Maybe he did, but I just lay there."

Collins married award-winning singer, actor and film composer Anthony Newley on 27 May 1963. She and Newley had two children, a daughter Tara Cynara Newley and a son, Alexander Anthony "Sacha" Newley. Collins and Newley divorced in 1970.

In March 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 Kennedy "Katie" Kass. Collins's marriage to Kass ended in divorce in 1983, although they remained very close until his death from cancer in 1986.

At the height of Dynastys popularity on 3 November 1985, Collins married Swedish singer Peter Holm in a ceremony in Las Vegas. They were divorced on 25 August 1987, with the lengthy divorce proceedings garnering significant media attention, which prompted her to quip, "I don't need a husband, I need a wife." Collins left Los Angeles and returned to London.

In 2001 Collins met theatrical company manager Percy Gibson, 32 years her junior. They married on 17 February 2002 at Claridge's Hotel in London and later renewed their vows in 2009. The pair also appeared as contestants on the Christmas Day edition of the ITV game show All Star Mr. & Mrs. in 2009.

On 24 October 2003 Collins and her husband were among the passengers on the last transatlantic flight of British Airways Concorde which she described as the very tragic end of a beautiful bird.

Despite having once been a patron of the UK Independence Party, Collins has become a supporter of the Conservative Party.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Joan Collins", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.