Joan Collins

Photo Credit: Joan Collins: Credit: 20th Century Fox 

Soap Opera Royalty

By Taylor Neumann, ReMIND Magazine

The queen of mean, the dame of deviousness: Joan Collins has probably heard them all. Her character on Dynasty – Alexis Carrington – remains one of the most deliciously awful villains of the modern age.

Collins herself lived a charmed life befitting the soap opera queen she later became.

She was born on May 23, 1933, in London; she is the older sister to bestselling novelist Jackie Collins. Joan was such a pretty baby that her mother had to hang a sign on her stroller to stop strangers: “Please Do Not Kiss Me.” When Collins turned 17, she signed with a film studio and began her career as an actress.

Her first film role was uncredited, in 1951’s Bikini Baby, but she quickly rose up the ranks and the following year was offered a major role in I Believe in You. That film opened the doors for a barrage of star turns, including the lavish production Land of the Pharaohs. She replaced Marilyn Monroe in The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, took over for Joan Crawford in The Opposite Sex and, in 1957, starred in Island in the Sun, which became a huge box office success. Her most notable film release of the ’60s was Bing Crosby and Bob Hope’s The Road to Hong Kong in 1962.

Collins then made the transition to television. Most memorably, she appeared in what is considered one of the best Star Trek episodes, The City on the Edge of Forever. In 1978, Collins starred in the film version of her sister Jackie’s novel The Stud, following it up the next year with a sequel, The Bitch. Both were commercial hits.

In 1981, Collins received a job offer for the U.S. series Dynasty, which had finished its first season struggling in the ratings. She played Alexis Carrington, ex-wife of tycoon Blake Carrington (John Forsythe). Her performance elevated the series to the No. 1 show in the U.S., beating out top dog Dallas in its fifth season. Collins won a Golden Globe for the role in 1983, using her speech to thank Sophia Loren for turning down the part.

When Dynasty ended in 1989, she took time off before again popping up in television guest roles on Roseanne,The Nanny and Will & Grace. She played Mrs. Potiphar in the film version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and in 2002 took on a limited guest run on the soap opera Guiding Light. Her most recent roles were in the anthology series American Horror Story and, in 2019, a guest-starring appearance on the CBS reboot Hawaii Five-0.

Collins has been married five times and has three children. She was named a dame in 2015 by Queen Elizabeth and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Collins continues to act and write, with several memoirs, novels and nonfiction to her name.

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