Joan Collins: You can bed’em but yo don't have to wed’em
Siren ... Joan Collins
SHOWBIZ icon Joan Collins became an international star thanks to American soap Dynasty in the 1980s.Her new show, One Night With Joan, opens a nine-city tour in Northampton on April 6 and runs from April 12 to 28 at London’s Leicester Square Theatre. All dates are listed on joancollins.net.
She told GARTH PEARCE what she wishes she had known at 18.
I WISH I had known at 18 that if you slept with a man you did not have to marry him.
I married Maxwell Reed (an actor then aged 33) because he had taken my virginity.
Good girls didn’t in those days — if you did, you married. We married the day after my 19th birthday.
I was unbelievably naive as a teenager. I was still playing with dolls at the age of 15. When a boy asked me out on a date, I was utterly shocked.
The first time I saw the word f***, it was written on a railway carriage and I had no idea what it meant. When I got home I asked my mother. She went berserk. She said: “How dare you use that word! I have told Daddy, ‘If you ever use that word, I’ll divorce you.’ ”
The innocence of childhood is so hard to hold on to, part of me is glad that I had such a naive upbringing. But part of me thinks I was too innocent. If I had been more knowing, I would not have married my first husband. Yet I have always been a fan of marriage.
My mistake? I always say I was asked so many times, I had to marry some of them. I got it right for a few years with Anthony Newley, but his penchant for other ladies was something I could not live with. Yet I had two fabulous children with him.
I also had a child with my third husband, Ron Kass. He went down the dreaded path of addiction and I never believed anyone should ruin their lives with drugs.
My fourth marriage, to Peter Holm, was an absolute disaster. My life was so screwed up at the time. I did not look screwed up because I was riding so high.
I was on Dynasty, the biggest TV show across the world, and my character Alexis Carrington was the most powerful woman. But I was having a very tough time with my daughter Katy, who had been in a car accident aged nine and was recovering from brain damage.
I was screwed by business managers and lawyers. One of my accountants failed to file my tax returns for one of the years I made the most money. It came to light a couple of years later, which meant paying over all the money.
So I wish I had known at 18 just how incompetent some of these people could be.
You can make money but there’s always someone, somewhere, who wants to part you from it. But I don’t like talking about the bad things. Life is tough for everyone. I never thought I was good-looking at 18. Looking back, I realise that I was.
I do wish I had known, because beauty is power. Youth and beauty are incredibly powerful. I did not realise how lucky I was to be young, beautiful and in Hollywood.
When I was 17 or 18, I was voted by a British photographers’ association as The Most Beautiful Girl In England, or something like that. I was thrilled.
My father was asked: “What do you think?” He said: “I am amazed. She’s a nice-looking girl but nothing special.” That is the way myself and younger sister Jackie (best selling novelist Jackie Collins) were brought up — we were “nothing special”.
What do I wish I had known about men?
I find it difficult to generalise about men, even today. I have a wonderful husband and my life is happy. They come in all shapes and sizes, but what I wish I had known is that most men are less sensitive than us women and do not talk about everyday things. They are not girlie like us girls, which is probably why I have so many gay friends.
I did learn two tips for staying young when I was very young. One is to keep your face out of the sun. The other is to maintain the same weight, and keep off buns, cakes and fried food.
But some things I have never learned. Like how to travel light!
Considering how much I travel (Joan has homes in London, LA, New York and France), you’d have thought I may have worked that out. But one of the many joys of life is to carry on learning