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Jackie Collins

Jackie Collins, July 2008
Born Jacqueline Jill Collins
4 October 1937 (1937-10-04) (age 72)
London, England
Occupation Novelist
Children Tracy Lerman (b. 1961)
Tiffany Lerman (b. 1967)
Rory Lerman (b. 1969)
Parents Elsa Bessant
Joseph William Collins
Relatives Joan Collins (sister)

Jacqueline Jill "Jackie" Collins (born 4 October 1937)[1][2] is an English novelist and former actress. She is the younger sister of actress Joan Collins. To date, she has written 27 novels, all of which have been on the New York Times bestsellers list and have sold over 400 million copies worldwide.[3][4]


Early life

Collins was born in London in 1937, the younger daughter of Elsa Bessant and Joseph William Collins, a theatrical agent whose clients included Shirley Bassey, The Beatles and Tom Jones.[5] Collins' South African-born father was Jewish and her British mother was Anglican.[6] A middle child, Collins has an elder sister, actress Joan Collins (b.1933) and a younger brother, Bill Collins (b. 1946).

At 15, Collins was expelled from school[3][7]; after she had been expelled, she threw her school uniform in the Thames[8]. In this period she had a short sexual affair with Marlon Brando who was 29 at the time. [9]

Early career

Like her sister, Collins began in acting roles, in a series of British B movies in the 1950s. She also made appearances in the 1960s ITC television series Danger Man and The Saint before giving up an on-screen career. She has since played herself in a few television series including Minder in 1980.

Writing career

Collins's first novel, The World Is Full of Married Men, was published in 1968. Romance writer Dame Barbara Cartland called it "nasty, filthy and disgusting".[10]It was banned in Australia[7] and South Africa[4].This scandal bolstered sales in the USA and the UK. Collins's second novel, The Stud, was published in 1969 and followed the sexually charged affairs of married Fontaine Khaled, who owns a fashionable London nightclub. It soon made the bestseller lists.

Collins's 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 bestseller lists.

Lovehead followed in 1974 (retitled as The Love Killers in 1989). This novel was Collins's first foray into the world of organized crime — a genre that would later prove to be extremely successful for her. The plot concerned the organised murder of women's rights activist and feminist Margaret Lawrence Brown. Three women -- two who are Margaret's half sisters and one whom she saved from a life of working in the porn industry -- plan revenge on the mobster responsible, Enzio Bassalino.

Following this, Collins released two more novels in the mid 1970s: The World Is Full Of Divorced Women (1975) and her longest novel, Lovers & Gamblers (1977).

Later career

In 1978, Collins co-wrote the screenplay for the film version of her 1969 novel The Stud, starring her older sister Joan as gold-digging adulteress Fontaine Khaled. Following this, Collins wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of her first novel The World Is Full Of Married Men, which was released in 1979. She also released her seventh novel, The Bitch, a sequel to The Stud, which was also made into a successful film the same year, with Joan Collins reprising the role. The film version of The Bitch was written and directed by Gerry O'Hara, based on Collins' source novel. Also in 1979, Collins wrote the screenplay for the film Yesterday's Hero.

In the 1980s, Collins and her family moved to Los Angeles on a full time basis. Her next novel was Chances, published in 1981 and which she described as her first Harold Robbins-type novel. It was also the first novel to introduce her most famous character, Lucky Santangelo, the "dangerously beautiful" daughter of a one-time gangster Gino Santangelo. While living in the hills above Sunset Boulevard, Collins collected the knowledge and experience to write her most successful novel, Hollywood Wives, which was published in 1983. The novel hit the New York Times bestseller list at number one, and went on to sell fifteen million copies worldwide.[citation needed]

Marketed as a "scandalous exposé", the novel placed Collins in a powerful position and made her a celebrity of almost equal status to sister Joan, whose own career had taken an upwards direction with her role in the hit television drama Dynasty. In 1985, Hollywood Wives was also made into a highly rated mini-series, produced by Aaron Spelling and starring Candice Bergen, Stefanie Powers, Angie Dickinson, Anthony Hopkins, Suzanne Sommers and Rod Steiger. Although credited as "Creative Consultant", Collins later stated that she was never consulted during production and that she did not agree with some of the casting choices.

She then went on to write the sequel to Chances entitled Lucky (published in 1985), Hollywood Husbands (1986), Rock Star (1988) and a third Lucky Santangelo novel, Lady Boss (1990). Also in 1990, Collins wrote and co-produced the television mini-series, Lucky Chances, which combined her first two Lucky Santangelo novels.

In 1992, Collins's husband of 26 years, Oscar Lerman, died of cancer. Around this time, Collins also wrote and produced another mini-series based on her Lucky Santangelo novel Lady Boss. She went on to pen several more bestsellers; American Star (1993), Hollywood Kids (1994) and the fourth Santangelo novel, Vendetta: Lucky's Revenge (1996). In the mid-1990s, Collins met Los Angeles businessman Frank Calcagnini to whom she became engaged. Calcagnini died of brain cancer in 1998, as Collins's attempted foray into talk television floundered.

She soon penned a new novel, Thrill, and wrote a four-part series of mini-novels to be released in a newspaper every six weeks called L.A. Connections, introducing a new heroine in the form of investigative journalist Madison Castelli. Dangerous Kiss, the fifth Lucky Santangelo novel, was published in 1999 and she soon brought back Madison Castelli in Lethal Seduction (2000). In 2001 she published Hollywood Wives: The New Generation, which itself was later turned into a television movie starring Farrah Fawcett, Melissa Gilbert and Robin Givens. Deadly Embrace, the sequel to "Lethal Seduction", was published in 2002 and Hollywood Divorces was published in 2003.

Her most recent bestsellers were Lovers & Players in 2006 and the sixth Lucky Santangelo novel, Drop Dead Beautiful, in 2007. Collins initially said on her website that this would probably be her final Santangelo novel, but is now writing another. Her latest novel Married Lovers, about the affairs of a female personal trainer named Cameron Paradise, was published in June 2008. Her next novel is entitled Poor Little Bitch Girl and will be published sometime in 2009. Her seventh Lucky Santangelo novel, Goddess of Vengeance, is to be published in 2010.

To date Jackie Collins has sold over 400 million copies of her novels, which have been translated into 40 languages. To date, eight of her novels have been adapted for the screen, either as films or television mini-series.

Other career highlights

In 2004, Collins created a series of specials for E!, which she hosted to great success. Though signed to publisher Simon & Schuster for twenty years, in 2006 Collins signed with St. Martin's Press as her North American publisher though she remains with Simon & Schuster internationally. She has also signed a new deal with Fremantle Television to create a television series based on heiresses entitled Rich Girls.

Personal life

Collins married her first husband, Wallace Austin, in 1959. They had a daughter and divorced after four and a half years.

Collins married for the second time to art gallery and Ad-Lib Nightclub owner Oscar Lerman on 15 June 1965, in the home of sister Joan and (then) husband Anthony Newley. Collins and Lerman had two daughters together and Lerman formally adopted Collins' daughter from her previous marriage. Lerman died in 1992 from prostate cancer. In 1994 Collins became engaged to Los Angeles business executive Frank Calcagnini. Calcagnini died in 1998 from a brain tumor.

Collins now lives her life, in her own words, "like a cool bachelor. I have a man for all seasons." She resides in Beverly Hills in a mansion she designed herself.


Hollywood Series

  • Hollywood Wives (1983)
  • Hollywood Husbands (1986)
  • Hollywood Kids (1994)
  • Hollywood Wives: The New Generation (2001)
  • Hollywood Divorces (2003)

The Santangelo Novels
See main article The Santangelo Novels

Madison Castelli Series

  • L. A. Connections (serialised novel):
    • Power (1998)
    • Obsession (1998)
    • Murder (1998)
    • Revenge (1998)
  • Lethal Seduction (2000)
  • Deadly Embrace (2002)

See also


  1. ^ "Birthdays". The Guardian (London): p. 33. 2006-10-04. 
  2. ^ Gambotto-Burke, Antonella (2007-07-22). "Lucky be a lady". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong): p. 1. 
  3. ^ a b Leadbetter, Russell (2007-10-17). "10 things about Jackie Collins". The Evening Times (Glasgow): p. 27. 
  4. ^ a b Roberts, Oliver (2007-11-18). "Mistress of fiction". The Sunday Times (Johannesburg): p. 16. 
  5. ^ "Joe Collins, 85, actors agent, father of actress and novelist". 
  6. ^ "Joan Collins: low cunning and high drama". The Daily Telegraph. 2007-09-22. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  7. ^ a b "Jackie Collins" (HTML). The Biography Channel. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  8. ^ Buchanan, Kathy (2007-06-24). "In my own words - Jackie Collins". The Sunday Telegraph Magazine (Sydney): p. 13. 
  9. ^ "Jackie Collins - Brando bedded underage Collins after party". 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  10. ^ Butler, Dianne (2007-05-19). "Enduring star". The Courier Mail (Brisbane): p. M27. 

External links



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