An Evening With Dame Joan Collins

An Evening With Dame Joan Collins
Dubai Opera December 12th 2017

Thursday, January 2, 2014

PRESS UPDATE : THE EXPRESS .. JANUARY 1ST 2014 ....



The wartime childhood and Hollywood high life of super stylish Joan and Jackie Collins

BETWEEN them the fabulous Collins sisters have clocked up a century in acting and writing. The elder has more than 50 Hollywood films to her credit and her face is just as familiar on the small screen, while the younger can boast worldwide novel sales of more than 500 million.




 Joan left and Jackie together on last night s Graham Norton ShowJoan, left, and Jackie together on last night’s Graham Norton Show [PA]
BETWEEN them the fabulous Collins sisters have clocked up a century in acting and writing. The elder has more than 50 Hollywood films to her credit and her face is just as familiar on the small screen, while the younger can boast worldwide novel sales of more than 500 million.
Today it's almost impossible to say whether Joan or Jackie Collins shines more brightly and they have deservedly become national treasures.
There's a happy equilibrium between the pair, which was obvious when they appeared last night on the Graham Norton Show. Joan and Jackie also showed that they've lost none of their trademark glamour.
Remarkably during all their years at the top it was the first time they've chatted together on a British show. Amid all the frivolity and banter the host couldn't resist asking the sisters why they were so rarely seen together.
"We're not a double act," replied Joan.
It was a throwaway remark which underpins how the sisters have achieved stardom in their own ways.
Yet when Joan and Jackie set out from London in the 1950s to seek fame and fortune as Hollywood actresses it seemed they were destined to take identical career paths.
It was a route which at one stage resulted in their relationship suffering from sibling rivalry and ever since has forced them to refute claims that they don't get on.
Joan and Jackie were born into a showbusiness family. Their mother Elsa was a dance teacher while their father Joseph was a theatrical agent. Joan made her acting debut when she was nine and was signed by the J Arthur Rank film company when she was still in her teens. Before she was 20 she'd appeared in her first Hollywood movie Land Of The Pharaohs.
Jackie initially wanted to be a journalist but was soon following her sister into acting and across the Atlantic to Hollywood where they shared a flat. Jackie's tiny waist and pneumatic breasts caught the attention of Marlon Brando and there was a brief fling.
Joan became established but Jackie quickly realised there wasn't room for two members of the Collins family on the block. In desperation she even tried changing her surname to Douglas then Curtis but to no avail. Their father once recalled: "Jackie had the right attributes - good looks, a superb figure and acting talent too. But throughout her acting career she was always tagged 'Joan Collins's younger sister'."
stylish, hollywood, joan collins, jackie collins, sibling, rivalry, graham norton, wartime, Joan and Jackie vamp it up in a 1977 publicity shot [REX]
You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. I love my sister but I'm not as close to her as I used to be. I don't think she was thrilled when I started writing
Joan Collins
While Joan's star continued to rise, making her a pin-up in the US and Britain, Jackie lasted just 11 months in Los Angeles before returning home. She limped along for a while with a few B-movie parts before reluctantly deciding to call time on her fledgling acting career.
Jackie could have spent the rest of her life cursing her misfortune to have been born second but instead put her time in Hollywood - and more importantly the outrageous characters and behaviour she had witnessed - to good use.
Her first novel The World Is Full Of Married Men was published in 1968. The book ensured that Jackie would no longer have to worry about being overshadowed by her sister.
Romance writer Barbara Cartland called it "nasty, filthy and disgusting" and the novel was banned in several countries.
Even Jackie's father found its racy content too much but readers loved it and demanded more of the same. The bonkbuster was born and her follow-up The Stud was also a best-seller. During this period Jackie also married twice and gave birth to her three children.
Meanwhile Joan, who was hyped as Britain's answer to Elizabeth Taylor in her early days, continued to be popular throughout the 1960s. In addition to her film roles the growth of television boosted her career and she went on to star in series including Mission: Impossible and The Virginian.
NOTHING it seemed could halt the march of the Collins sisters. Their relationship, which had been tested by their different experiences of acting, was also back on track.
However in the 1970s Joan's film career stalled and it was Jackie who came to the rescue when the sisters collaborated on a screen version of her second novel. Joan was cast as a nymphomaniac jet-setter and the film was produced by their husbands Ron Kass and Oscar Lerman. It was never going to win any Oscars but the success of The Stud helped revive Joan's career and paved the way for her to play Alexis Carrington in 1980s hit US soap Dynasty.
stylish, hollywood, joan collins, jackie collins, sibling, rivalry, graham norton, wartime, The sisters at a film premiere in 1970 [REX]
Perhaps it was that streak which prompted Joan, buoyed by acclaim for her biography Past Imperfect, to publish a debut novel. She received a £1.5million advance for Prime Time which strayed into Jackie territory with its saucy content.
When Jackie protested that Joan was stepping on her toes Joan replied: "Come off it. You started your career acting when I was already doing it so why shouldn't I have a bash at a bestseller?" Jackie's agent Morton Janklow admitted there had been "flareups" between the sisters, although both continued to deny publicly that there was any rift. "We're not in each other's pockets but we're good friends," said Jackie at the time. "We're not the kind of sisters who call each other every day but she knows I'm there for her."
However Joan later admitted they had drifted apart during this period, adding: "You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. I love my sister but I'm not as close to her as I used to be. I don't think she was thrilled when I started writing."
There was also the not insignificant matter of five marriages for Joan, which no doubt proved a distraction from family ties. Yet both eventually came to realise they should take pleasure from one another's successes and not resent it, even if the inevitable ups and downs don't happen to coincide. Over time there was also a recognition that the longevity of their chosen careers was a cause for celebration.
Both are driven by a steely determination and fortunately for their many fans neither is showing any sign of taking things easy.
"What is retiring?" Joan quipped recently. She says her motto is to be content with your lot in life.
Finding time to spend together and happening to be in the same country is the issue these days for the sisters, rather than a lack of desire.
Joan, who also has three children, continues to be in demand for film, theatre and television work, including commercials. Despite a protracted legal battle with one publisher she also still writes fiction. In the world of novels at least there appears to be room for both Collinses.
Joan has recently agreed to play a former Hollywood sex symbol who escapes her retirement home in London for a Thelma & Louise-style adventure with a bored housewife.
Her sister is just as busy, penning eight best-sellers between 2000 and 2010, her most successful decade so far. In November Jackie again followed her sister, who was honoured in 1997, in receiving an OBE from the Queen. At the ceremony at Buckingham Palace there was no one more proud than her big sister.

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