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The Celebrity Archaeology Podcast


May 23, 2018

Jacqueline Jill "Jackie" Collins born 4 October 1937, was an English romance novelist. Jackie Collins moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s and spent most of her career there. She wrote 32 novels, all of which appeared on The New York Times bestsellers list. Her books have sold over 500 million copies and have been translated into 40 languages. Eight of her novels have been adapted for the screen, either as films or television miniseries. She was the younger sister of Dame Joan Collins. Early life Collins was born in 1937, in Hampstead, London, the younger daughter of Elsa Collins (died 1962) and Joseph William Collins (died 1988), a theatrical agent whose clients later included Shirley Bassey, the Beatles, and Tom Jones. Collins' South African-born father was Jewish, and her British mother was Anglican. A middle child, Collins had an elder sister, Joan Collins (actress and author), and a younger brother, Bill (who became a property agent). Collins attended Francis Holland School, an independent day school for girls in London and was expelled at age 15. During this period, she reportedly had a brief affair with 29-year-old Marlon Brando. Early career She began appearing in acting roles in a series of British B movies in the 1950s and worked as a stage singer alongside a young Des O'Connor, among others. Her parents then sent her to Los Angeles to live with her older sister, Joan, a Hollywood actress. There, Collins tried acting in small parts in low budget British films, including Barnacle Bill (1957), Rock You Sinners (1957), The Safecracker (1958), Intent to Kill (1958), Passport to Shame (1958), and The Shakedown (1960), in which she was credited as Lynn Curtis. After minor appearances in such television series as Danger Man and The Saint, Collins gave up on pursuing an acting career, although she did play briefly on the television series Minder in 1980. She made the switch from acting onscreen to writing novels, and her first book, The World Is Full of Married Men (1968), became a best-seller. Four decades later, she admitted she was a "school dropout" and "juvenile delinquent" when she was 15: "I'm glad I got all of that out of my system at an early age," she said, adding that she "never pretended to be a literary writer.” Writing career 1960s Collins had begun many works of fiction but abandoned them, and only completed her first novel after being persuaded to do so by her second husband Oscar Lerman. "You’re a storyteller", he told her.[3] After its publication, romantic novelist Barbara Cartland called the book "nasty, filthy and disgusting",[21] and charged Collins with "creating every pervert in Britain".[11] The book was banned in Australia and South Africa,[5] but the scandal bolstered sales in the United States and the UK. Her second novel, The Stud, was published in 1969. It also made the best-seller lists. 1970s Collins' third novel, Sunday Simmons & Charlie Brick (first published under the title The Hollywood Zoo in the UK and then retitled Sinners worldwide in 1984) was published in 1971 and again made the best-seller lists. This was Collins' first novel to be set in the United States. Lovehead followed in 1974 (retitled as The Love Killers in 1989). This novel was Collins' first foray into the world of organized crime, a genre that would later prove to be extremely successful for her. Following this, Collins published The World Is Full of Divorced Women (unrelated to her first novel) in 1975, and then Lovers & Gamblers in 1977, which told the story of rock/soul superstar Al King. [caption id="attachment_1167" align="alignleft" width="268"] Jackie Collins in 2011 By Cyotethndr [GFDL (gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]In the late 1970s, Collins made a foray into writing for the screen. She co-wrote the screenplay for The Stud (1978), based on her second book; the film starred her older sister Joan as the gold-digging adulteress Fontaine Khaled. Following this, Collins wrote the screenplay for The World Is Full of Married Men (1980), the film adaptation of her first novel. She also released her seventh novel, The Bitch (1979), a sequel to The Stud; The Bitch was also made into a successful 1979 film, with Joan Collins reprising the role. Around the same time, Collins wrote an original screenplay (not based on any of her novels) for the film Yesterday's Hero (1979). Personal life Collins held dual citizenship: British (by birth) and the U.S. (by naturalization, from 6 May 1960). She married her first husband, Wallace Austin, in 1960; they divorced in 1964. Austin's addiction to drugs prescribed for manic depression ultimately caused their separation, and he died from a deliberate overdose the year after their marriage ended. The couple had one daughter, Tracy, born in 1961. In 1965, Collins married again, this time to art gallery and nightclub (Ad-Lib and Tramp) owner, Oscar Lerman. The wedding took place in the home of her sister Joan and her husband at the time, Anthony Newley. Collins and Lerman had two daughters, Tiffany (born 1967) and Rory (born 1969). Lerman also formally adopted Collins' daughter, Tracy, from her previous marriage. Lerman died in 1992 from prostate cancer. In 1994, Collins became engaged to Los Angeles business executive Frank Calcagnini, who died in 1998 from a brain tumor. She said that what got her through the tragedies of losing two loved ones was "celebrating their lives, as opposed to dwelling on their deaths.” In 2011, when asked if she were dating anyone, Collins said: 

"I have a man for every occasion”, adding: "When I was a kid growing up, I used to read my father's Playboy and I'd see these guys and they had fantastic apartments and cars. I have all of that now. Why would I want to hook myself up with one man when I've had two fantastic men in my life? One was my husband for over 20 years and one was my fiancé for six [sic] years".
Throughout Collins' career, she fictionalized aspects of her personal life as a source for her novels. She said she loved Los Angeles and recalled that while growing up in England, she often read novels by Harold Robbins, Mickey Spillane, and Raymond Chandler. Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne explains that Collins "loved the picture business, the television business, the record business, and the people in them, the stars, celebrities, directors, and producers." And although she was a "great partygoer", he says, she went "more as an observer than a participant", using them as part of her "research." "Write about what you know", Collins said at a writer's conference. "I love what I do. I fall in love with my characters. They become me, and I become them.” Death Collins died on 19 September 2015, of breast cancer, two weeks before her 78th birthday. She had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer more than six years before her death but kept her illness almost entirely to herself. She reportedly only informed her sister Joan Collins two weeks before she died and flew from Los Angeles to London to appear on the ITV chat show Loose Women only nine days before her death. Links: The Book: https://amzn.to/2HrXUUS The Podcast on iTunes: https://apple.co/2HGtPQZ The podcast on Google Play: http://celebrityarchaeologypodcast.com/gpm The website: http://CelebrityArchaeology.com Become a Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/celebrityarchaeology