Best Known For
Actress Joan Collins played Alexis Carrington Colby, the vicious, vengeful ex-wife of patriarch Blake Carrington, on Aaron Spelling’s prime-time drama Dynasty.
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Joan Collins was born on May 23, 1933, in London, England. She landed her first film role in the 1951 movie Lady Godiva Rides Again. For the next three decades, she punctuated a series of B-movie roles with frequent TV appearances and pin-up shoots. In 1981, Collins was called to an audition for Dynasty, and took the role of Alexis Carrington Colby. After Dynasty, Collins continued to act and write.
Actress Joan Henrietta Collins was born on May 23, 1933, in London, England. She is the eldest child of Elsa Bessant Collins, a former nightclub hostess, and Joseph William Collins, a successful talent agent whose clients included Tom Jones and the Beatles. Her British-born Anglican mother and South African-born Jewish father had two more children together: Jackie (a successful novelist whose books have sold more than 400 million copies) in 1937, and Bill in 1946.
Joan Collins was so pretty as a baby, that her mother hung a sign on her stroller warning over-eager well-wishers, "Do Not Kiss." During World War II, the Collins family hunkered down in Tube stations with other Londoners while German bombs rained down on the city. Collins's mother died in 1962. Her father remarried, and had another daughter 35 years younger than Joan.
Joan Collins moved to Hollywood in the 1950s with dreams of becoming a star. She landed her first film role, as an uncredited beauty pageant contestant, in the 1951 movie Lady Godiva Rides Again. For the next three decades, she punctuated a series of B-movie roles with frequent television appearances and pin-up shoots. She became a Hollywood fixture, driving a signature pink Thunderbird and racking up high-profile liaisons with leading men including Dennis Hopper, Harry Belafonte and Warren Beatty.
She appeared in The Stud and The Bitch, both wildly popular film adaptations of her sister Jackie's novels. In 1978, she published her first memoir, Past Imperfect, a lascivious account of her affairs. It became a bestseller.
In 1981, Collins was called to an audition for Dynasty, then a struggling primetime drama in its second season, after actress Sophia Loren had turned down the part. She took the role of Alexis Carrington Colby, the vicious, vengeful ex-wife of patriarch Blake Carrington (played by John Forsythe). Ratings immediately shot up. Producers credited Collins with resuscitating the show's ratings. We didn't write Joan Collins," said show creator Aaron Spelling. "She played Joan Collins. We wrote a character, but the character could have been played by 50 people and 49 of them would have failed. She made it work."
Collins was nominated six times for a Golden Globe, finally winning one in 1983. She also received an Emmy nod for her performance on the show. Fans so identified Collins with her unapologetically vengeful character, that more than two decades after the show's finale people continued to identify her on the street as Colby. Dynasty ended its television run in 1989, but Collins again appeared as Colby in the 1991 miniseries Dynasty: The Reunion.
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