Perhaps it is only fitting that as the daughter of a prominent theatrical agent destiny would lead Joan Collins to make her stage debut at the tender age of nine; and that life would never let her leave life’s stage again. Since those precocious early days the ever-stunning Joan has succeeded spectacularly as a stage actress, movie star, celebrity, writer, and more recently as a novelist.
Unlike many of today’s overnight stars success in the British system involved years of hard work where actors served tough apprenticeships and learned their craft from the bottom up. During her youth, Joan underwent the same rigorous training that would also launch the careers of contemporaries like Jean Simmons, Richard Burton and Robert Shaw. These young stars followed the generation of great stars who built the early British Cinema from England’s more traditional roots treading the floorboards. These young actors were filling the shoes of Olivier, Gielgud and Richardson, but they also stood on the brink of that other great tradition; Hollywood.
So Joan served her apprenticeship; performing on stage, attending RADA before being snapped up by RANK to decorate some of their films of the early 1950s. And this led to better roles in Hollywood where she played opposite movie greats including Richard Burton, Bing Crosby, Bette Davis, Kirk Douglas, Joan Fontaine, Laurence Harvey, Bob Hope, James Mason, Ray Milland, Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Edward G. Robinson, Rod Steiger, Joanne Woodward and Sir John Gielgud.
During the 1970s Joan made several Hammer Horror films, many, like Revenge, are now cult favourites. With the remake of The Big Sleep her star would soon be on the rise once more. Coupled with two very vampy roles in the movie adaptations of her sister Jackie’s bestselling novels, The Stud, and, The Bitch, Joan soon caught the eye of the makers of Dynasty. This series shot Joan to fame, once and for all, and her place in Hollywood history was assured.
In this long running role, Joan also proved that glamorous women did not need to flee the screen at forty and she made it much easier for many female actors to get past the glass ceiling of ageism that plagues Hollywood. Since Dynasty, Joan has also shown that she has many strings to her bow and that celebrity can be based upon a multitude of talents and not just a God-given beauty.
Since the late 1980s the demand for autograph has grown exponentially, and the many photographic images of the very sexy Joan Collins have become highly sought after. Unfortunately, this has also led to a huge quantity of fake autographs being sold on the Net and at memorabilia shows. Recently I managed to purloin a few words with Joan about this subject and she kindly sent me the signed portrait photo opposite, which gives a definitive sample of her signature. We have also checked in with her and identified a number of fakes that are doing the rounds and that all collectors should avoid. Those of you whom have bought the multi-signed photo of Joan and Jackie Collins sitting in the back of a limousine should take this opportunity to test the worth of the accompanying COA as Joan has pointed out that she did not sign this item with her sister Jackie.
In recent years, Joan has worked tirelessly to help many charities including 'THE SHOOTING STAR TRUST CHILDREN'S HOSPICE,' which helps care for disabled and extremely sick children. It is also supported by the Duchess of York seen with Joan in the accompanying photo.
You should also check in with Joan’s great websites for all the up to date news on Joan at:
David: Dear Miss Collins. You began your career in England in 1951 playing in a movie which included two fine British actors in Diana Dors and George Cole. Did you sign your first autograph during the release of this film or later on? What was your first autograph experience like for you? And did other actors give you advice about handling autograph hunters in those days?
Joan: No, I never signed with these actors nor did I receive any advice about autograph hunters in those early days.
David: Over the years that you have been working, you’ve met with some great and interesting people. During that time did you co-sign many photos with the other great stars you have worked with?
Joan: During the earlier days I never signed photos with other actors.
David: There seem to be a lot of photos on the Net signed by both you and your sister, Jackie. One in particular shows both of you sitting in the back of a limousine. Have you in fact signed many photos together or do you believe that there are a lot of forged photos of you circulating on the Web? How do you handle such situations?
Joan: No, I never signed that particular photo and yes, I have seen numerous forged examples of my signature at movie memorabilia shows and on the Web.
David: Have you ever been in a position where you’ve met someone and wanted to ask them for their autograph? Perhaps someone who wasn’t an actor; who were they, and why did they impress you?
Joan: As a child I used to send off for autographed photographs and had quite a collection. Unfortunately during one of my many house moves they were all stolen. I would have liked to gotten Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe, but of course it is now too late.
David: Taking the last question to its logical conclusion, which famous person in history would you most like to have met, and what would you ask them to write for you in their dedication?
Joan: I would have loved to have met Cleopatra and asked her, “What is your secret?” This reminds me of Anne Robinson’s, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” which was grand fun, as I could choose my favourite guests for my dinner party. I chose John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso, Noel Coward, Sarah Bernhard and, of course, Cleopatra and researched them pretty thoroughly which made for some very interesting reading.
David: Are there any messages or thoughts that you would like to share with your many fans around the world?
Joan: I love sending photographs to individuals but dislike it when I see photos that I've initially signed and paid for, later being sold on the internet for a profit.