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Joan Henrietta Collins

Birthplace: Paddington, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Joseph William Collins and Elsa Collins
Wife of Private
Ex-wife of Maxwell Reed; Anthony Newley; Ronald S Kass and Peter Holm
Mother of Private; Private and Private
Sister of Jackie Collins and Private
Half sister of Private

Occupation: Actress
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Joan Collins

Flamboyant British actress Joan Collins made her showbiz bow in a production of The Doll's House -- in a male role -- at the age of 9. She made a name for herself in Hollywood in the '50s and '60s but is best known for her killer portrayal of Alexis Colby in the long running television series Dynasty.

She was born on May 23, 1933 in Paddington, London, the eldest child of Elsa Collins (née Bessant), a former nightclub hostess, and Joseph William Collins, a successful talent agent whose clients included Tom Jones and the Beatles. Her British-born Anglican mother and South African-born Jewish father had two more children together: Jackie (a successful novelist whose books have sold more than 400 million copies) in 1937, and Bill in 1946.

Collins was so pretty as a baby, that her mother hung a sign on her stroller warning over-eager well-wishers, "Do Not Kiss." During World War II, the Collins family hunkered down in Tube stations with other Londoners while German bombs rained down on the city. Collins's mother died in 1962. Her father remarried, and had another daughter 35 years younger than Joan.

She moved to Hollywood in the 1950s with dreams of becoming a star. The first role she landed was as an uncredited beauty pageant contestant in the 1951 movie Lady Godiva Rides Again. For the next three decades, she punctuated a series of B-movie roles with frequent television appearances and pin-up shoots. She became a Hollywood fixture, driving a signature pink Thunderbird and racking up high-profile liaisons with leading men including Dennis Hopper, Harry Belafonte and Warren Beatty.

She appeared in The Stud and The Bitch, both wildly popular film adaptations of her sister Jackie's novels. In 1978 she published her first memoir, Past Imperfect, a lascivious account of her affairs. It became a bestseller.

In 1981, Collins was called to an audition for Dynasty, then a struggling primetime drama in its second season, after actress Sophia Loren had turned down the part. She took the role of Alexis Carrington Colby, the vicious, vengeful ex-wife of patriarch Blake Carrington (played by John Forsythe). Ratings immediately shot up. Producers credited Collins with resuscitating the show's ratings. We didn't write Joan Collins," said show creator Aaron Spelling. "She played Joan Collins. 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." Collins was nominated six times for a Golden Globe, finally winning one in 1983. She also received an Emmy nod for her performance on the show. Fans so identified Collins with her unapologetically vengeful character, that more than two decades after the show's finale people continued to identify her on the street as Colby. Dynasty ended its television run in 1989, but Collins again appeared as Colby in the 1991 miniseries Dynasty: The Reunion.

Joan Collins's off-camera life was often as dramatic as the roles she played. She married her first husband, Irish actor Maxwell Reed, in 1952 and divorced him in 1956 after, Collins claimed, he attempted to sell her to an Arab sheik for a one-night stand. She married second husband Anthony Newley in 1963, and had a daughter and a son with him before their divorce in 1970. She had daughter Katy with her third husband, Apple Records president Ron Kass, during their 11-year marriage, which began in 1972. Her fourth marriage, to Swedish pop singer Peter Holm, ended after just 13 months in a messy 1987 divorce. In February 2002, Collins married her fifth husband, theater company manager Percy Gibson, who is 32 years her junior. They renewed their vows in 2009.


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Joan Collins's Timeline

May 23, 1933
Paddington, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom