Joan Collins

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Joan Collins main title credit from Dynasty
<tr valign="top"><th style="text-align:right;">Occupation</th> <td>Actress, author</td></tr>
Joan Collins
Born May 23, 1933
London, England

Joan Henrietta Collins OBE (born May 23, 1933) is an English actress and bestselling author. She is most widely known for her role as Alexis Carrington in the 1980's TV series Dynasty.


[edit] Biography

[edit] Family and early life

Collins was born in London to Joseph William "Will" Collins (a South African-born Jewish talent agent) and Elsa Bessant (an English mother). She has one full sister, the author Jackie Collins, and a brother Bill Collins. She was educated at the Francis Holland School and then trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) with actors such as Sir Roger Moore and Sir Michael Caine.

[edit] Early film career

At the age of 17 Collins was signed to the J. Arthur Rank Film Company, a highly profitable English studio and charm school.

In 1951, she made her feature debut as a beauty contest entrant in Lady Godiva Rides Again. 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 in 1954 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.[citation needed] After losing such high-profile roles as Cleopatra (Collins was cast when Elizabeth Taylor fell ill, then dumped upon Taylor's recovery), Collins continued to work in films and occasionally in television.

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

In the 1970s, Collins starred in the film versions of her sister Jackie Collins' romantic novels The Stud and The Bitch. Both were smash hits in England, becoming the most profitable films since the James Bond series. [citation needed]

[edit] Dynasty

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

Collins' career changed dramatically when she was offered a role in the then-struggling prime time TV soap opera Dynasty (1981 - 1989) by producer Aaron Spelling. Created by Esther Shapiro, Spelling wanted Collins to play the role of tycoon Blake Carrington's vengeful ex-wife.

The role of Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan successfully relaunched Collins as a powerful sex symbol and icon of independence in her late 40s. 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. Dynasty was shown in more than 80 countries and is still being re-run today around the world.

She also appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine at the age of 50 to further establish herself as a sex symbol despite the then-popular cultural opinion that older women could not be sexually attractive.

[edit] After Dynasty

After the end of Dynasty in 1989, Collins worked less frequently, making guest star appearances on series such as Roseanne, The Nanny and Will & Grace while dabbling in films like Decadence and A Midwinter's Tale in the mid 1990s.

In 1992 she made her successful Broadway debut in an adaptation of Noel Coward's Private Lives. She also guest starred in six episodes of Aaron Spelling's prime time soap opera Pacific Palisades in 1997.

In the late 1990s she appeared in several theatrical tours with the likes of George Hamilton and Stacey Keach. Additionally, she appeared in a West End production of Over the Moon with eccentric actor Frank Langella in 2000.

In 2002 she appeared in a limited run on the legendary daytime soap opera Guiding Light to favorable reviews. In 2004 she toured the United Kingdom with a revival of the play Full Circle to great success and much critical praise. In 2005 she proved to be a formidable guest host of the popular British quiz show Have I Got News For You, often making quick jokes with the audience.

In early 2006, Collins toured the United Kingdom in A Night 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.

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

In late 2006 she is set to tour North America in the play Legends! with former Dynasty co-star Linda Evans.

[edit] Marriage and family

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. During this time she carried on much-talked-about romances with Conrad Hilton Jr., Dennis Hopper, Ryan O'Neal, Terence Stamp, Sydney Chaplin, and Warren Beatty.

The gossip mills set ablaze when Collins walked away from Hollywood and a successful career in the early 1960s to marry 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 is now a highly regarded artist).

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' world was turned upside down when Katy was struck by a speeding car, leaving the young child in a coma. 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' 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 singer Peter Holm in a quickie ceremony in Las Vegas. The marriage lasted a year and the divorce proceedings lasted just as long with a media circus ensuing. Collins left Los Angeles and returned to London where she lived with much younger art dealer Robin Hurlstone for over a decade.

In 2001 Collins and Hurlstone ended their relationship and Collins struck up a romance with theatrical company manager Percy Gibson, a man 32 years her junior. ("If he dies, he dies" quipped Collins.) They married on February 17, 2002 at Claridge's Hotel in London.

[edit] Personal politics

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 commented 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 was rumoured that Collins was approached by several members of the Conservative Party in hopes of luring her to run for Parliament.

She also continues to contribute as The Spectator Magazine Guest Diarist, something she has done since the late 1990s.

She has commented that she was a huge supporter of former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. Collins is also a devout monarchist, remaining loyal to the British Royal Family.

[edit] Charitable Work

Collins has publicly supported several charities for several decades. In 1983 she was named a patron of the International Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities, earning the foundations highest honour in 1988 for her continuing support. Additionally, 1988 also saw the opening of the Joan Collins Wing of the Children's Hospital of Michigan. In 1990 she was made an honorary founding member of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. In 1994 Collins was awarded the lifetime achievement award from the Association of Breast Cancer Studies in Great Britain for her contribution to breast cancer awareness in the UK. In 2003 she became a patron of the Shooting Star Children's Hospice in Great Britain while continuing to support several foster children in India, something she has done for the past 25 years.

[edit] Homes

Collins has lived, at different times, in London and Los Angeles. In 2001 Collins sold her Los Angeles penthouse, moving to a luxurious Manhattan condo in the Upper East Side. She now divides her time between her New York City home, an apartment in the fashionable neighbourhood of Belgravia (London), and a stylish villa in the south of France.

[edit] Books

Her sister, Jackie Collins, is a well-known novelist, and Joan Collins has also established herself as an author. In addition to her memoirs, Past Imperfect (1978) and Second Act (1996), she has written bestselling novels (Prime Time, Love & Desire & Hate, Infamous, Star Quality, Misfortune's Daughters) and lifestyle books (The Joan Collins Beauty Book, My Secrets, My Friends Secrets, Joan's Way, The Art of Living Well).

In September, 1991, Joan Collins delivered a 690-page manuscript to Random House. However, the publishing firm later demanded the return of its $1.3 million advance from Collins, claiming she failed to deliver completed books as per her contract. In court, Collins stated that Random House had received her novel, The Ruling Passion, in 1991 plus another novel, Hell Hath No Fury, in September, 1992. She also contended that Random House had not provided the editorial assistance she had expected.

Her Random House contract, negotiated by agent Irving Lazar, required that she was to be paid even if her completed manuscripts were not published. On February 29, 1996, a jury determined that she could keep the advance for the first novel, but the publisher did not have to pay for the second manuscript since it was a reworking of the first. Judge Ira Gammerman then ruled that Random House owed Collins $925,000 plus interest for a grand total of $1.3 million.

The Guinness Book of World Records cites Collins as holding the record for retaining the world's largest unreturned payment for an unpublished manuscript.

[edit] TV adverts

Beginning in the early 1970s, Collins appeared in television and magazine advertisements for British Airways, in which she was referred to as their "Most Frequent Flyer of First Class" a title which she has maintained, having promoted the airline for more than three decades. In the late 1970s, she appeared alongside Leonard Rossiter in a series of Cinzano TV commercials in which the drink was spilled down her character's dress. This was named as one of the Top 100 British Adverts in a Channel 4 poll. In the mid 1980s, Collins appeared in print advertisements for Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Sanyo and was the face of Revlon's Scoundrel perfume. In 1992 she appeared in internationally broadcast television commercials for Marca Bravaria beer while also acting as the face of the perfume Spectacular. Since 2000 she has appeared in TV ads for UK retailer Marks & Spencer, Olympus cameras, Old Navy and Marriott hotels.

[edit] Music

In 1956 she sang in the musical The Opposite Sex.

In 1959 she sang It's Great Not To Be Nominated at the Academy Awards with fellow British actresses Angela Lansbury and Dana Wynter.

In 1963 she teamed up with husband, Anthony Newley and Peter Sellers to record the album Fool Britannia which made the UK Top 10.

In 2001 she was featured in the music video for Badly Drawn Boy's Pissing in the Wind which made the Top 30 in the UK Singles chart.

[edit] Titles

In 1997, Collins was granted the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

Collins often styles herself in the following ways for official patronage to several charities:

  • Joan Collins OBE.
  • Joan Collins, Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

[edit] Awards

  • 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.
  • 2002: Icon Award, Maxim Magazine UK.
  • 2005: Lifetime Achievement Award, San Diego International Film Festival.

[edit] Filmography

[edit] Theatrical credits

[edit] Television credits

[edit] External links

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Joan Collins

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