Tuesday, July 16, 2013

TRIBUTE: ALAN WHICKER .. 1921 - 2013

As the death was announced of legendary broadcaster Alan Whicker here is another chance to read an extract from his 1985 book which featured Joan.This book tied in with his then BBC series which featured British folk who left England and found great success in America..
Joan featured in the programme, interviewed in Hollywood as she was hot property at that time, riding high on 'Dynasty'.. Joan has known Alan for many years and recently to celebrate 50 years in television, he caught up with Joan... This exerpt from the 1985 book is edited......
Joan collins was a good old trouper for many years, though her showbiz rollercoaster never paused long enough at the top, it kept swooping her down again, into obscurity. Then after appearing with some desperation in such indelicate British B-films as 'The Bitch' and 'The Stud', she joined Hollywood's 'Dynasty' as a tentative Alexis Carrington and became the world's most famous sensual woman, not merely a star in a night-time soap of little merit, but an international phenomenon bringing reassurance to every woman over fifty-two who could see how, with a little luck, everything can be held together. With Joan it was not so much luck as application, determination, discipline and ferocious ambition. With looks the lens adores, she cannot take a bad picture, large eyes, large cheekbones, large teeth, large mouth, everything perfectly proportioned for the camera. The extraordinary 'Dynasty' clothes in fierce colours may look tawdry in real life with their glitter and swansdown and beading, but on the small screen show a sort of Sunset Boulevard style. Joan/Alexis adds an enviable glitz to everything she promotes, not only herself, but Cinzano, Revlon's 'Scoundrel', Cannon Mills towels, fur coats.... Far more significant, she has brought hope to watching generations-
"You may be here today and gone tomorrow-but you could be back the day after!"
"I get all the English Sunday papers first thing Monday morning so I know what's going on and I must say I do miss it terribly. Believe it or not I miss the weather.. I miss the change of seasons.. I miss the sort of reality of it.. I miss the buses down the street, the look of London, the look of the English countryside. Los Angeles is a very barren sort of place and when you're locked into a sound stage as I am three or four days a week you don't get to see any sun, wind, moon or rain! Looking at people just walking down Oxford Street or Park Lane, just looking at people in action. Here everbody's in their cars and of course when you're in your car you have to close everything up, lock the doors because this is not a terribly safe place, particularly if you're very well known. I hardly ever walk along the street at all. I did the other day along Rodeo Drive and because I'm rather sort of obvious and well known, it was kind of difficult. I couldn't be private. People kept on coming up and talking to me. In England people have a tendency to leave you alone a lot more than Americans do. If you come into their living rooms every Wednesday night they think you're their friend and they have a sort of right to come and say hello..How much they liked the show, whereas of course we in England are more laid back...

       I am pretty famous now! Well I think I'm probably a sort of controversial, notorious or colourful character, people like to read about my life, what I'm doing. So often I've found that what they write about is a gross exaggeration and often downright absolute fabrication, but there's not much I can do about it other than grit my teeth and not let it bother me too much. It's strange because it used to be that film stars, movie actors were the sort of creme de la creme of show business, but it's changed now. Television has become such a major force, you're finding the biggest stars of stage and screen coming on to television, in fact desperate to get on to the hit shows, so the television stars have become more important. People are avid to read about what we're doing...
In terms of work, in terms of being an actress, for the very first time in my life, I'm secure, employed in something- that I love doing and secondly, quite lucratively, for at least another two years, because the show is number one, vying with 'Dallas'. That is an enormous security for an actress because this is the most insecure of professions. There is no security as an actress, none at all. I've had quite a bit of that, so this is quite gratifying. I've got a wonderful house, a swimming pool, it's great for entertaining, but of course I never have time to entertain. One goes to Palm Springs if you really want to get a tan!

Joan in Sun City in 1992 with Alan for Miss World

I'm quite popular with American women.. I think because I typify in a way in the character that I play. What Alexis has I think is this tremendous drive, this competitive spirit in which she will not be downtrodden by anybody. You see a lot of bitches on television and they are just black and white, they are just boring. Alexis is much more complex, nobody is going to say no to her, absolutely nobody and this strong sense of survival in a man's world. I think this is what a lot of women like and identify with. If Alexis was a man they wouldn't call him a bitch. They wouldn't dare call him a bastard, because you can't say that word on tv. They'd probably say a strong, tough, aggressive man, isn't that wonderful... But because I'm a woman, she's a bitch...
(c) 1985 ALAN WHICKER.

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