Mary Cathleen Collins
November 20, 1956
Long Beach, California, U.S.
(m. 1976; died 1998)
Bo Derek (born Mary Cathleen Collins, November 20, 1956) is an American actress and model. She is best known for her breakout role in the romantic comedy film 10 (1979). Her other film credits include Richard Lang's A Change of Seasons (1980) and the ill-fated Fantasies, Tarzan, the Ape Man (both 1981), Bolero (1984), and Ghosts Can't Do It (1989), all four of which were directed by her first husband, John Derek. Widowed in 1998, she married actor John Corbett in 2020.
Derek was born Mary Cathleen Collins in Long Beach, California. Her father, Paul Collins, was a Hobie Cat executive, and her mother, Norma (née White), was a make-up artist and hairdresser to Ann-Margret. Collins's parents divorced, and her mother remarried to stunt performer Bobby Bass. She grew up with three siblings: two sisters and a brother.
Well, I didn't really mean to quit. Well, what happened—I'll tell you what happened ... I went for like a month without going to school; I went to the beach and I got caught ... So, then I started going back to school, and I was really enjoying it ... and then I went to go do this film with John in Greece ...
While attending Narbonne High School at age 16 in 1973, Collins auditioned for the female lead in John Derek's Once Upon a Love, a low-budget romantic drama film set in Greece. Although Derek had been considering Collins for the part, he felt that her naturally blonde hair was ill-suited to the character, whom he saw as a brunette. He nevertheless offered Collins the role on condition that she dye her hair darker. Collins agreed and was added to the cast. During post-production in Munich, the film ran out of funding and was seized by a German film lab. It remained in a vault for several years until being sold to producer Kevin Casselman. Casselman's attempts to distribute the film globally prompted Derek and Collins to seek a restraining order against its release. They eventually dropped any legal action, deciding it was not worth their time and effort. The film was finally released in 1981 under the new title Fantasies, at which point it received negative reviews.
During the course of these events, Collins became sexually involved with John Derek, who was 30 years her senior and still married to actress Linda Evans. Upon his divorce from Evans, Derek moved to Germany with Collins, where he would not be subject to prosecution under California's statutory rape laws—the reason being that Collins was under the age of consent.
In 1979, Derek was selected over Melanie Griffith, Heather Thomas, Tanya Roberts, and several others for the role of Jenny Hanley in the romantic comedy film 10. Directed by Blake Edwards, the film starred Dudley Moore as a middle-aged man who finds Derek's character to be the ideal woman, i.e., a perfect 10. Derek's appearance in a dream sequence, running towards Moore in a tight-fitting, nude-colored one-piece swimsuit, launched her status as a mainstream sex symbol. Distinguished by Derek's cornrow hairstyle, the sequence has often been parodied. 10 was a critical and financial success. For her performance in the film, Derek received a Golden Globe Award nomination for New Star of the Year but ended up losing to Bette Midler for her performance in The Rose.
After 10, Derek was cast in Richard Lang's A Change of Seasons (1980), a dramatic-comedy film that also featured Shirley MacLaine and Anthony Hopkins. Derek played a college student who has an affair with her older, married professor. A Change of Seasons was only a moderate box-office success, with critics reviewing it and Derek's performance unfavorably ("The only appealing performance is Miss MacLaine's").
In 1981, Derek starred in MGM's R-rated Tarzan, the Ape Man, her first leading role in a mainstream Hollywood film. Directed by John Derek, the film dealt little with Tarzan and instead focused on Derek's character of Jane Parker, and specifically on Derek's physical attributes. Derek appears nude in two scenes, one of which involved her being bathed and body-painted. Ahead of Tarzan, the Ape Man's release, MGM and the film's distributor, United Artists, were sued for an injunction by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate, which alleged that the film infringed their copyright and exceeded the scope of a 1931 license agreement ("1931 Agreement") that permitted MGM to use Tarzan and other Burroughs characters in the 1932 film Tarzan the Ape Man. As a condition of the deal, MGM was only allowed to produce remakes if the story of the 1932 film was maintained. Upon reviewing the evidence, the Federal District Court in New York held that (1) while Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981) required some editing to tone down the sexual content, Derek's nudity on its own does not fundamentally alter the film's narrative, and (2) reduced to their major incidents, both the 1981 film and its 1932 predecessor are "based on substantially the same story." It had also been determined that MGM's copyright license was not subject to termination, as statutory procedures governing the process were never followed. Accordingly, the court ruled against the Burroughs estate and dismissed their injunction request. Although Tarzan, the Ape Man received negative reviews, the film became a box-office success, making over $35 million in ticket sales and becoming the 15th highest-grossing film of 1981. For her performance as Jane Parker, Derek shared the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress with Faye Dunaway, the latter for her starring role as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest.
Derek next appeared in the erotic comedy-drama film Bolero (1984). Directed again by John Derek, Bolero explores the female protagonist's sexual awakening and her journey around the world to find an ideal first lover to take her virginity. Its sexual nature and substantial use of nudity earned the film an X rating, which is traditionally reserved for pornographic or extremely violent horror films. Critical reviews for Bolero, including Derek's performance, were negative ("[Bo Derek] would be a lot more appealing if she tried less assiduously to please"), and the film failed to recoup its production costs. For her performance in Bolero, Derek won her second Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress. The film also received five Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Picture, Worst Director (John Derek), Worst Screenplay (John Derek), Worst New Star (Olivia d'Abo), and Worst Musical Score (Peter Bernstein and Elmer Bernstein).
In 1987, Derek teamed up with Steven Paul of the firm sales agency Paul Entertainment to sell the unreleased feature film A Knight of Love, in which she was slated to star, but the project never materialized.
After a five-year hiatus, Derek returned to feature films with the fantasy comedy-drama Ghosts Can't Do It (1989). The final collaboration of Derek with her husband as director, Ghosts Can't Do It was a failure both critically (a "cinematic abomination") and financially. For her performance opposite costar Anthony Quinn, Derek won her third Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress. The film also received three Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Picture, Worst Director (John Derek), and Worst Supporting Actor (Donald Trump).
Following Ghosts Can't Do It, Derek appeared in the television films Hot Chocolate (1992) and Shattered Image (1994), and the straight-to-video film Woman of Desire (1994). For her performance in the 1995 comedy film Tommy Boy, Derek was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress but ultimately lost to Madonna for her performance in Four Rooms.
In 1998, Derek guest-starred on four episodes of the television series Wind on Water. In 1999, she appeared on The Drew Carey Show.
At the 20th Golden Raspberry Awards in 2000, Derek was nominated for Worst Actress of the Century, sharing the nomination with Madonna (the eventual winner), Brooke Shields, Elizabeth Berkley, and Pia Zadora.
Derek appeared in several more feature films during the early 2000s, including Frozen with Fear (2000), The Master of Disguise (2002), for which she received her second Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress, and Malibu's Most Wanted (2003). She also had guest roles on the television shows Family Law, Queen of Swords, Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, Lucky, Still Standing, and 7th Heaven.
Derek had a featured role in the 2015 made-for-TV campy horror film Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!.
Derek, who describes herself as an independent, supported the presidential campaigns of George H. W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush. She attended the Republican National Convention in 2000 and 2004. Derek has also appeared at public events with Republican Congressman David Dreier of Southern California.
In 2006, Derek was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, on the Operations Committee, by President George W. Bush. When White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten was asked about his relationship with Derek on the April 30, 2006 edition of Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Bolten said she was a friend and a "good supporter of the president."
In a 2020 interview with Variety, when asked who she was supporting in the then-upcoming presidential election, Derek explained, "I don't talk about who I vote for anymore. I supported Bush 43 and I became one of the poster girls for the Republicans. But I'm an independent. I don't want to be pigeonholed and labeled as one thing or another." Recounting Donald Trump's cameo in 1989's Ghosts Can't Do It, Derek said that the part had been written specifically for him and that "he was great."
Horse owner and activist
A horse lover and riding enthusiast since childhood, Derek owns Andalusian horses and is a spokesperson for the Animal Welfare Institute's campaign to end horse slaughter through passage of federal and state legislation. On February 5, 2002, she published her autobiography entitled Riding Lessons: Everything That Matters in Life I Learned from Horses (ISBN 0-06-039437-4). Derek also serves on the California Horse Racing Board.
Wounded veterans advocate
Since 2001, Derek has acted as National Honorary Chairperson for Veterans Affairs' National Rehabilitation Special Events. She is an avid supporter of the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass Village, Colorado.
In 2003, Derek received the VA's highest honor from Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony Principi. She regularly appears on United Service Organizations tours, for which the Special Forces Association named her an honorary Green Beret.
Derek has been active for 18 years with the environmental agency WildAid, which provides funds to protect sharks and dissuade people from purchasing wildlife products. On August 13, 2020, she was a guest on the Discovery Channel's Shark Week.
After Derek began a relationship with John Derek when she was 16, they moved to Germany, where John would not be subject to prosecution under California's statutory rape laws. They returned to the United States soon after Derek's 18th birthday and were wed in 1976. They remained married until John's death from heart failure in 1998.
|1977||Orca||Annie||A.k.a. Orca: The Killer Whale on some releases|
|1979||10||Jenny Hanley||Limited release|
|1980||A Change of Seasons||Lindsey Rutledge|
|1981||Fantasies||Anastasia||Billed as: Kathleen Collins|
A.k.a. Once Upon a Love, Once Upon a Time, And Once Upon a Love, And Once Upon a Time, and Bo Derek's Fantasies
|1981||Tarzan, the Ape Man||Jane Parker|
|1984||Bolero||Ayre "Mac" MacGillivery|
|1989||Ghosts Can't Do It||Katie O'Dare Scott||Limited release|
|1992||Sognando la California||Herself||Cameo appearance|
|1993||Woman of Desire||Christina Ford||Main role|
|1995||Tommy Boy||Beverly Barish-Burns Callahan||Main antagonist role|
|2001||Frozen with Fear||Katherine Sullivan|
|2001||Horror 101||Miss Allison James|
|2002||The Master of Disguise||Herself||Cameo appearance|
|2003||Malibu's Most Wanted||Bess Gluckman|
|2017||5 Weddings||Mandy Singh Dhaliwal|
|1992||Hot Chocolate||B.J. Cassidy||Television movie|
|1994||Shattered Image||Helen Allgood||Television movie|
|1998||Wind on Water||Ciel Connolly||3 episodes|
|1999||The Drew Carey Show||Herself||Episode: "Drew's Reunion"|
|2000||Family Law||Camille Weller||Episode: "Metamorphosis"|
|2000||Queen of Swords||Mary Rose||Episode: "The Witness"|
|2000||Murder at the Cannes Film Festival||Thada Pryce||Television movie|
|2001||Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place||Susan Bergen||3 episodes|
|2003||Lucky||Joan||Episode: "The Dating Game"|
|2005||Still Standing||Mrs. Rose Grundy||Episode: "Still Helping Out"|
|2003-2005||7th Heaven||Mrs. Kinkirk||3 episodes|
|2005||Crusader||Nicola Markham||Television movie|
|2006||Fashion House||Maria Gianni||40 episodes|
|2011||The Hunt for the I-5 Killer||Seaver||Television movie|
|2012||Chuck||Herself||Episode: "Chuck Versus Bo"|
|2012||CSI: Miami||Joanna Toring||Episode: "Last Straw"|
|2015||Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!||May Wexler||Television movie|
|2018||The Last Sharknado: It's About Time||Television movie|
|2018||The Christmas Trap, aka Christmas in the Heartland||Elsa Gentry||Television movie|
|2020||JL Family Ranch 2: The Wedding Gift||Claudia||Television movie|
|2023||Mask Singer: Adivina quién canta||Sirena / Herself||2 episodes|
|Love You||Porn||1979||Producer||Director: John Derek|
|Ghosts Can't Do It||Romantic Comedy||1989||Producer, Actor|
Awards and nominations
|1980||New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture – Female||10||Nominated|
|1981||Worst Actress||Tarzan, the Ape Man||Won|
|1990||Worst Actress||Ghosts Can't Do It||Won|
|Tarzan, the Ape Man||Won|
|1995||Worst Supporting Actress||Tommy Boy||Nominated|
|2000||Tarzan, the Ape Man||Nominated|
|2002||Worst Supporting Actress||The Master of Disguise||Nominated|
- "Bo Derek". AllMovie. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
- "Bo Derek". Biography. May 9, 2003. A&E Network.
- on YouTube
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- "Fantasies Uncovered". Los Angeles Times. August 31, 1986. Retrieved April 27, 2023.
- "AFI | Catalog − Fantasies". AFI Catalog. Retrieved August 6, 2023.
- "Young Bo Derek In 'Fantasies'". The New York Times. November 7, 1981. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- "Heating Up With John and Bo Derek". The Washington Post. January 29, 1980. Retrieved September 6, 2023.
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- "Burroughs v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc". Casetext.com. Retrieved May 11, 2023.
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- "1981 Yearly Box Office Results – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
- "Film: Bo Derek in 'Bolero'". The New York Times. September 1, 1984. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- "Bo Derek To Flog Film With Paul Entertainment; Voight Now Shareholder". Variety. February 25, 1987. p. 106.
- "Ghosts Can't Do It". Allmovie. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- "Your Movie Sucks". ultimatemovierankings.com. January 7, 2017. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- "Bo Derek Dispels the Belief She's Republican: 'I'm Independent. I Voted for Obama'". Hollywood Reporter. January 16, 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
- "Bo Geste: Ms. Derek and Her Handler Do Their Best for George W. Bush". The Wall Street Journal. August 4, 2000. Retrieved July 9, 2023.
- "Brooks & Dunn are GOP headliners". NBC News. Retrieved July 9, 2023.
- "Congressman David Dreier: Gay & Ashamed" Archived December 21, 2005, at the Wayback Machine, Larry Flynt.com
- "The Kennedy Center Activity Report for California" Archived May 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Kennedy Center Web site
- "Transcript: White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten on 'FNS". Fox News. January 13, 2015. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
- Cottle, Michelle (June 14, 2012). "The GOP's Two-Faced Celeb Bashing of Obama's Parker-Wintour Fundraiser". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
- Malkin, Marc (August 14, 2020). "Bo Derek Looks Back on Her Career, Past Relationships and Acting With Trump". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
- "The 50 Hottest Celebrities Who've Posed For Playboy". Complex. February 23, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- "Peyton Manning, Bo Derek, Rob Riggle set to roast Rob Lowe". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
- "How Rob Lowe prepped for his Roast". Entertainment Weekly. Dotdash Meredith. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
- "Bo Derek To Serve as 2005 Honorary Chairperson of VA's National Rehabilitation Special Events". Retrieved April 10, 2023.
- Nolasco, Stephanie (August 30, 2020). "Bo Derek reflects on giving back to American veterans: 'There's just so much we don't do for our heroes'". Retrieved April 10, 2023.
- "Bo Derek named honorary Green Beret". Archived from the original on August 13, 2007. Retrieved January 18, 2008.
- "Josh Gates Tonight: Are We Having Fin Yet? | Expedition Unknown". Discovery. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
- "Bo Derek". WildAid. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
- Vallance, Tom (May 25, 1998). "Obituary:John Derek". The Independent. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- "Surprise! John Corbett and Bo Derek Wed Last Year: 'After 20 Years We Decided to Get Married'".