Exclusive Photo: Happy Birthday to Movie & TV Icon Joan Collins

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CHICAGO – The ageless Joan Collins is probably best known for the prime time soap opera “Dynasty,” which ran from 1981 to 1989, but she is also a throwback to the last of the old studio system in Hollywood, when she was signed to a contract with 20th Century Fox in 1955. For her latest act, she will appear in the upcoming eighth season of FX Channel’s “American Horror Story.” Her birthday, May 23rd, is today.

Dame Joan Henrietta Collins was born in Paddington, London, and received her early performance education at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She was 17 years old when she signed with the J. Arthur Rank Film Company in Britain, and made her debut in “Lady Godiva Rides Again” (1951). She rose quickly through the British system, eventually receiving top billing in “Our Girl Friday” (1953). Hollywood came knocking shortly thereafter, as took a role in director Howard Hawks’ “Land of the Pharaoh” (1955), which landed her the Fox contract. Several big time films followed, including “Girl in the Red Velvet Swing,” “The Opposite Sex” (a musical remake of “The Women”) and “Rally Round the Flag Boys.” She even got to play opposite Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in their last “Road” picture, “The Road to Hong Kong” (1960).

Dame Joan Collins in 2007
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

After taking some time off to marry her second husband, singer Anthony Newley, she resumed her career in the heyday of 1960s U.S. television, appearing on “Batman,” “Mission: Impossible” and the original “Star Trek,” in one of that show’s most famous episodes, “The City on the Edge of Forever.” She also kept doing movies, in lesser American films like “If it’s Tuesday, it Must be Belgium” (1969), and British films like “Tales From the Crypt” (1972), which inspired the TV series.

It wasn’t until 1978 that another big breakthrough occurred for Dame Joan, the film version of her sister Jackie’s novel, “The Stud.” This relaunched interest in her career, and led to the part of Alexis Carrington – the beautiful and vengeful ex-wife of John Forsythe’s Blake Carrington – in the TV series “Dynasty.” The show took off with Dame Collins aboard, ranking Number One in 1984 and ’85, and the producers said later that it was because of the way she created that character.

After “Dynasty,” she has worked steadily, both in television (“The Royals”) and film (“Viva Rock Vegas”). Her charity efforts, especially those involving children, earned her the title of “Dame” from Queen Elizabeth in 2015. And like all Great Dames, she has been married five times, and dated Harry Belafonte and Warren Beatty. Her sister, novelist Jackie Collins, passed away in 2015, but Joan is a fairly prolific writer herself, penning four memoirs, eight non-fiction books and six novels. For that amazing career, a toast to Dame Joan Collins on her birthday, through this never-before-published Exclusive Photo, shot in 2007 by photographer Joe Arce of HollywoodChicago.com.

Article source from Wikipedia. For more information about Dame Joan Collins, click here.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2018 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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