Joan Collins is first and foremost an actress, but she is also a best-selling author, an accomplished producer, a successful entrepreneur and a devoted mother.
The daughter of theatrical agent Joe Collins and his wife Elsa, Joan Collins was born on 23 May 1933 in London and made her London stage debut at the age of nine in Ibsen's "A Dolls House" at the ArtsTheatre. She went on to become a student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art when she was 16 and after 18 months was signed to an exclusive film contract by the Rank Organization.
Under that contract Joan made several films and also built a successful theatrical career. Her first major theatrical role was as Sabina in Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth", and other leading roles included "The Seventh Veil", "The Praying Mantis", "Jassy" and "Claudia & David". After working in films and television for several years, Joan Collins returned to the British stage in 1980 to play the title role in the Chichester Festival Theatre's production of "The Last of Mrs. Cheyney", which soon moved to the West End and played to sell-out houses throughout its run. In 1990, Joan played Amanda in a revival of Noel Coward’s "Private Lives", which won her outstanding reviews both in the West end and on Broadway. In 2000, she completed an American tour of "Love Letters" opposite Stacy Keach; in 2001, she starred in Ken Ludwig’s "Over the Moon" at London’s Old VicTheater and in 2004 she toured the UK in Alan Melville's "Full Circle".
Nominated for an Emmy award and winner of the Golden Globe and People's Choice Award, as well as numerous other awards worldwide, Joan appeared in more than 55 feature films and dozens of television programmes. Some of her more memorable films are "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing", "Rally Round the Flag Boys", "The Virgin Queen", "The Bravados", "The Oposite Sex", "Land of the Pharaohs", "Road to Hong Kong" and "The Big Sleep". She has worked with some of the greatest movie legends including Richard Burton, Bing Crosby, Bette Davis, Kirk Douglas, Gene Kelly, Laurence Harvey, Bob Hope, James Mason, Ray Milland, Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Edward G. Robinson, Rod Steiger, Joanne Woodward, Sir John Gielgud and Sir Nigel Hawthorne. She has guest starred in some of the most popular TV series, such as "Star Trek". "Starsky & Hutch", "Mission Impossible", "Love Boat", "The Persuaders", "Space 1999", "Batman", "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", "Policewoman", "Baretta", "The Nanny", "Will & Grace" and "Roseanne".
She produced and starred in "Sins", a six-hour mini-series for television that topped the ratings in the US. Following the huge success of "Sins", Joan also produced and starred in "Monte Carlo", a four-hour mini-series with George Hamilton.
Joan Collins is internationally renowned for her role of Alexis Carrington Colby in "Dynasty", one of the most highly rated evening TV dramas of all time. For eight years, viewers were treated to a weekly dose of Alexis' elaborate schemes for power, money and love, during the course of which Joan created one of televisions most popular characters, and etched a place for herself in Hollywood history. "Dynasty" continues to be aired worldwide. In 1997, Alexis was reunited with Aaron Spelling and guest-starred in several special episodes of his nighttime drama "Pacific Palisades".
In the last decade, Joan has starred in the following films: Steven Berkoff's "Decadence"; Kenneth Branagh's "In the Black Midwinter", a film that premiered at the Venice Film Festival to critical acclaim; Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Joseph & The Amazing Tehnicolor Dreamcoat", with Donny Osmond and Richard Attenborough; "The Clandestine Marriage", an 18th century period comedy with the late Nigel Hawthorne; the Flintstone’s prequel movie "Viva Rock Vegas", as Pearl Slaghoople, executive produced by Steven Speilberg; "Hart to Hart" movie of the week with Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers; "Annie: A Royal Adventure"; and "These Old Broads", a TV Movie of the Week with Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley MacLaine and Debbie Reynolds.
Joan Collins has published thirteen books to date, beginning in 1985 with her first best-selling autobiography, "Past Imperfect", which she followed with "The Joan Collins Beauty Book". Her debut novel, "Prime Time", was published in 1988 and her second novel, "Love & Desire & Hate" followed in 1990. Her beauty book "My Secrets" was published in 1994 and remained on the best-selling list for over three months. Another novel "Too Damn Famous" also went into the best-selling lists in 1995. Her second autobiography, "Second Act", also went straight into the best-seller lists and she then wrote a sequel to "My Secrets" entitled "My Friends Secrets". Another novel, "Star Quality" came out in 2002 and was quickly followed by a beauty and self-help book "Joan's Way" in October of the same year. Her latest novel, "Misfortune's Daughters", was published in 2004.
Joan Collins has three children: A son, Sacha, and two daughters, Tara and Katy. She is deeply concerned about children the world over and is an honorary founding member of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. She has supported several foster children in India for 25 years. Since 1983 she has been a patron of the International Foundation for children with Learning Disabilities and in March 1988 the Foundation awarded her with its highest honour for her continuing support and special interest. In May 1988 the Joan Collins Wing of the Children's Hospital of Michigan was opened and, in November 1994, the Association of Breast Cancer Studies presented Joan with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her unceasing humanitarianism and is a tireless worker for may UK charities associated with breast cancer and children. She is a patron of The Shooting Star Hospice, which opened its doors to terminally ill children and their families this year, thanks in part to fundraising efforts led by Joan. In February 2002 Joan married Theatrical Manager Percy Gibson and they live happily between New York, London and France.
In 1997 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II presented Joan Collins with the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) for her lifetime contribution to the arts and her continuing charity work.