You don’t have to be British (or queer) to appreciate that 88-year-old actress Joan Collins really is a national treasure. Made a Dame by HM The Queen, she has always been the nearest thing that we Brits ever had to old-style Holywood Glamour. Her rollercoaster personal life took her through her marriages, and affairs with the likes of Warren Beatty, and an on-screen career that hurtled her through hit movies and crappy TVshows. In her own words …… she really is a survivor in the true sense of the word. And a truly glamorous one at that.
In a new 90 minute documentary by Emmy Award-winning director and producer Clare Beavan that premiered on BBC TV tonight based on Dame Joan’s autobiography, we get the full low down on her very packed life. Its helmed by Joan narrating most of it as she reads from her script and looks at the large screen in front full of the images of her life. She never stops being the consummate actor, as when confronted with the details of marriage number 4 to Swedish pop singer Peter Holm, she simply raises her eyebrows and with a sly grin on her face, trots out with “NOW that was a mistake!”
So much of her life was set in an era when actors’ lives were played out in fan magazines and we all desperately wanted to believe in the sheer glamour. But it was far from her reality. Like when the 34-year-old British film star Maxwell Reed took the 17-year-old virgin Joan out on her first date he ‘took advantage of her.’ Which Joan told Barbara Walters many years later was a euphemism for date rape: she was beaten, drug, and raped.
A very innocent Joan admitted she thought she would get her revenge back in marrying Reed. However in a very short time, her career rocketed and his plumeted, so when they divorced he sued her for £1250 alimony a month.
She was and is still very much a charismatic charmer with an infectious sense of humor and a discerning sense of honesty. Whether she is discussing some of her more suspect movies and her questionable taste in men, there is not a hint of regret even though she suggests in hindsight she may have made other decisions.
Unlike most other actors, people have always been so quick to confuse Joan with some of the roles she has played. Particularly in the 1980s when playing Alexis Carrington in the smash-hit TV Dynasty series and the media were quick to suggest that she is a super bitch off-screen too.
There are parts of the story when we cannot but help to really admire Joan Collins for taking back some control of her life. Like persuading her sister Jackie and some B-movie film producers into making The Stud when her career had come to a standpoint. It may not have been the material she had once trained at Royal Academy of Drama for, but its success gave her yet another all-important career boost.
There are parts of the story that even may suprise even her mosr avid fans. For example in 1961 Joan played a NUN . The movie was Sea Wive and she ended up in a desert with just three men …… one of which was played by Richard Burton. Plus at one time or anither Joan has very surprisingly guest starred in so many popular TV Shows like Star Trek: The Original Series, Mission: Impossible, Space: 1999, Police Woman Fantasy Island Batman The Love Boat, Starsky and Hutch Ellery Queen The Virginian, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Persuaders!etc.
Joan is not however one for regrets except save one. When she lived with (an unknown ) Warren Beatty she let him persuade her not to go back to England in 1961 to film Sons and Lovers. She was replaced by Mary Ure who picked up nominations of an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her tribes .
Joan says she knows she is known for wearing big hair, smoky eyes, and red lips, That may be true BUT there is so much more to this remarkable Dame that earned her iconic status ….. particularly amongst the queer community
This Is Joan is streaming FREE on BBCI Player https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00135h7 you can access this globally via a VPN
Labels: 2022, BBC TV, documentary, Joan Collins