Collins in 2009
|Born||Jacqueline Jill Collins
4 October 1937
Hampstead, London, England
|Died||19 September 2015
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Breast cancer|
|Partner(s)||Frank Calcangnini (engaged 1994–1998, his death)|
|Relatives||Joan Collins (sister)|
Jacqueline Jill Collins OBE (4 October 1937 – 19 September 2015) was an English romance novelist. She moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s, became a U.S. citizen and spent most of her career there. She wrote 32 novels, all of which appeared on The New York Times bestsellers list. In total, 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 mini-series. She was the younger sister of actress Joan Collins.
Collins was born in 1937 in Hampstead, London, the younger daughter of Elsa (née Bessant) 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, actress Joan Collins, and a younger brother, Bill, a property agent.
Collins attended Francis Holland School, an independent day school for girls in London. She was expelled from the school at age 15. During this period she reportedly had a brief affair with 29-year-old Marlon Brando. 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, she 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. Her acting was unexceptional, however, and after further 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 a switch from the screen to becoming a novelist, with her first novel in 1968, The World Is Full of Married Men, becoming 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 later said, adding that she "never pretended to be a literary writer."
Collins' first novel, The World Is Full of Married Men, was published in 1968. She had begun many works of fiction, but had 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. After publication, romantic novelist Barbara Cartland, called it "nasty, filthy and disgusting" and charged Collins with "creating every pervert in Britain". It was banned in Australia and South Africa, 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 bestseller lists.
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 bestseller 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.
In the late 1970s, Collins made a foray into writing for the screen. She co-wrote the screenplay for the film version of her novel The Stud (1978), which starred her older sister Joan as the 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 (1980). She also released her seventh novel, The Bitch, a sequel to The Stud, which was also made into a successful 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 (both 1979).
In the 1980s, Collins and her family moved to Los Angeles on a full-time basis, where she would continue to write about the "rich and famous". She said, "If you wish to be successful, there is a place you should be at a certain time. And Los Angeles in the 1980s was it."
While living in the hills above Sunset Boulevard, Collins collected the knowledge and experience to write her most commercially successful novel, Hollywood Wives, which was published in 1983 and hit The New York Times bestseller list at number one. Marketed as a "scandalous exposé", the novel has sold over 15 million copies and placed Collins in a powerful position making her a celebrity of near equal status to sister Joan, whose own career had taken an upwards direction with her role in the television drama Dynasty.
In 1985, Hollywood Wives was made into a television miniseries, produced by Aaron Spelling and starring Candice Bergen, Stefanie Powers, Angie Dickinson, Anthony Hopkins, Suzanne Somers, and Rod Steiger. Although credited as a "creative consultant", Collins later stated that she was never consulted during production and that she did not agree with some of the casting choices.
In 1990, Collins published her third Lucky Santangelo novel, Lady Boss. Also in 1990, she wrote and co-produced the television mini-series Lucky Chances, which combined her first two Lucky Santangelo novels and starred Nicollette Sheridan (in the lead role) and Sandra Bullock.
In 1992, Collins was widowed when her husband of 26 years, Oscar Lerman, died of cancer. Around this time, she also wrote and produced another mini-series based on the Lady Boss novel, with Kim Delaney playing the lead role. Collins run of bestsellers continued with American Star (1993), Hollywood Kids (1994) and the fourth Santangelo novel, Vendetta: Lucky's Revenge (1996).
In 1998, she made a foray into talk show television with the series Jackie Collins' Hollywood, but this was unsuccessful. A new novel was published (Thrill, 1998), and she 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. The fifth Lucky Santangelo novel, Dangerous Kiss, was published in 1999.
The 2000s turned out to be Collins' busiest time and she published eight bestsellers, more than any other decade in her career. In 2000, Collins brought back the character of Madison Castelli in a new novel, Lethal Seduction. In 2001 she published Hollywood Wives: The New Generation, which was later turned into a television movie in 2003 starring Farrah Fawcett, Melissa Gilbert and Robin Givens (Collins was credited as an executive producer). A new Madison Castelli novel, Deadly Embrace, was published in 2002, and Hollywood Divorces was published in 2003. In 2004, Collins hosted a series of television specials, Jackie Collins Presents, for E! Entertainment Television.
Collins continued with Lovers & Players (2006) and the sixth Lucky Santangelo novel, Drop Dead Beautiful (2007). Married Lovers (2008) concerns the affairs of a female personal trainer named Cameron Paradise. This was followed by Poor Little Bitch Girl (2009), which stemmed from an idea Collins had worked on for a television series about heiresses that was ultimately never made.
Paris Connections (2010), a direct-to-DVD movie adapted from Collins' L.A. Connections series of mini-novels, was made by Amber Entertainment in association with the UK supermarket chain Tesco. The movie stars Charles Dance, Trudie Styler, and Nicole Steinwedell as Madison Castelli. Collins served as co-producer, and three more Connections movies with the Madison Castelli character are planned.
Collins continued to write Lucky Santangelo books, including Drop Dead Beautiful and Goddess of Vengeance. Collins's 29th novel, titled The Power Trip, was published in February 2013. Confessions of a Wild Child, was published in February 2014, with a movie deal announced even before the book came out. Collins' cookbook The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook (2014) is named after Lucky Santangelo, the protagonist of seven Collins novels, who is often portrayed preparing elaborate gastronomic creations for her intimates (and who watched her father throw a plate of food at her mother as a child). Collins' final novel was The Santangelos (2015), a conclusion to her Santangelo series of novels that she had begun with Chances in 1981.
Collins held dual citizenship: British (by birth) and U.S. (by naturalization, from 6 May 1960).
Collins married her first husband, Wallace Austin, in 1960; they divorced in 1964. Austin was addicted to drugs prescribed for manic depression, ultimately the cause of their separation, and died from a deliberate overdose the year after their marriage ended. The couple had one daughter, Tracy, born in 1961. In 1965, Collins married for the second time to art gallery and nightclub (Ad-Lib, Tramp) owner, Oscar Lerman. The wedding took place in the home of her sister Joan and Anthony Newley, who were married at the time. 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 she was asked if she was 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 fiance for six years."
In The Sunday Times Rich List 2011, Collins was listed as the UK's fifth richest author with an estimated personal fortune of £60 million. And in 2013 she was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) Birthday Honours for services to fiction and charity.
Throughout Collins' career, her personal life was used as a fictionalized 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 to them "more as an observer than 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."
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 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.
- The World Is Full of Married Men (1968)
- The Stud (1969)
- Sunday Simmons & Charlie Brick (later Sinners) (1971)
- Lovehead (later The Love Killers) (1974)
- The World Is Full of Divorced Women (1975)
- Lovers and Gamblers (1977)
- The Bitch (1979)
- Rock Star (1988)
- American Star (1993)
- Thrill! (1998)
- Lovers & Players (2006)
- Married Lovers (2008)
- Poor Little Bitch Girl (2009)
- The Power Trip (2012)
- Hollywood series
- Hollywood Wives (1983)
- Hollywood Husbands (1986)
- Hollywood Kids (1994)
- Hollywood Wives: The New Generation (2001)
- Hollywood Divorces (2003)
- Santangelo novels
- Chances (1981)
- Lucky (1985)
- Lady Boss (1990)
- Vendetta: Lucky's Revenge (1996)
- Dangerous Kiss (1999)
- Drop Dead Beautiful (2007)
- Goddess of Vengeance (2011)
- Confessions of a Wild Child (2013)
- The Santangelos (2015)
- Madison Castelli series
- L. A. Connections (serialised novel):
- Power (1998)
- Obsession (1998)
- Murder (1998)
- Revenge (1998)
- Lethal Seduction (2000)
- Deadly Embrace (2002)
- The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook (2014)
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- Leadbetter, Russell (17 October 2007). "10 things about Jackie Collins". The Evening Times (Glasgow). p. 27.
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- Born in 1937 as per findmypast.co.uk
- "Birthdays". The Guardian (London). 4 October 2006. p. 33.
- Gambotto-Burke, Antonella (22 July 2007). "Lucky be a lady". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). p. 1.
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- Francis Holland School website; retrieved 1 January 2014.
- Buchanan, Kathy (24 June 2007). "In my own words – Jackie Collins". The Sunday Telegraph Magazine (Sydney). p. 13.
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- Hamilton, Geoff; Jones, Brian. Encyclopedia of American Popular Fiction, Facts on File — Infobase Learning, (2013) e-book
- Dunne, Dominick. The Mansions of Limbo, Random House Publishing (1991) e-book
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- "Crime books". Red Button Discounts. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
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- "Lady Boss". BarnesandNoble.com. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
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- "Jackie Collins is looking for another miniseries hit with 'Lucky/Chances'". The Baltimore Sun. 3 October 1990. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- Petersen, Clarence (6 July 1986). "The Dictionary of Misinformation, by Tom Burnam (Harper...". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
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- "Interview With Jackie Collins". Readers Read (writerswrite.com). November 2004. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- Kakutani, Michiko (15 June 1999). "'Dangerous Kiss': Those Lips! Those Eyes! That Mojo's Working!". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
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- "Questions & Answers". JackieCollins.com. 7 June 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Jackie Collins Invites You on a Power Trip". The Huffington Post. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Jackie Collins Makes Movie Deal on 'Confessions of a Wild Child' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Jackie Collins' Mob Princess Serves Up A Cookbook You Can't Refuse". National Public Radio. 12 April 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jackie Collins.|
- Official website
- Jackie Collins at the Internet Movie Database
- Jackie Collins at the Internet Book List
- Jackie Collins at the Notable Names Database
- Jackie Collins (Aveleyman)