Joan Collins

On this date in 1933, actress and writer Joan Henrietta Collins was born in London to Elsa (Bessant) and Joseph Collins, respectively a British dance teacher/nightclub hostess and a talent agent from South Africa. After debuting on the stage at age 9 in Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” she trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Her movie debut was as a beauty contest entrant in “Lady Godiva Rides Again” (1951), followed by significant roles in other films, including a 1953 top billing in “Our Girl Friday.” After moving to Hollywood at age 22, her performance in “Land of the Pharaohs” (1955) led to a contract with 20th Century Fox and roles in several successful films in the ’50s and early ’60s, when she started appearing in television productions.

After returning to Britain to act and later going back to Hollywood, Collins’ portrayal of Alexis Carrington on the ABC-TV series “Dynasty” from 1981-89 led to a Golden Globe in 1982 and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame the next year. It was the most-watched show in 1984-85. She continued to appear in films, on the stage and on TV into the 2000s. She also became a successful writer of fiction and nonfiction books. (Her sister was the late romance novelist Jackie Collins.)

A political conservative, she became a regular columnist with The Spectator, a British weekly, in the late ’90s and contributed to numerous other U.S. and British publications. She was named a dame, the female equivalent of a knight, by Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 for her charitable works. Collins has married five times, most recently to Percy Gibson in 2002. He’s 31 years younger. Collins has three children.

PHOTO: Collins in 1956 during filming of “The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing.”

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