My life through a lens: Hollywood legend Dame Joan Collins shares the stories behind her favourite snaps
Celebrities share the stories behind their favourite photographs – this week it’s Hollywood legend Dame Joan Collins
1937: Here I am topless aged four with my darling mother Elsa on holiday in Bognor Regis. She’s wearing her ‘Lana Turner’ style turban. My father Joe, who was a theatre agent in London, was a stern disciplinarian, but with a great sense of humour. Mummy was beautiful, adored dressing up and going out, but at heart she was a homebody whose world revolved around her family..
1952: This is my younger sister Jackie [right] and me as teenagers, having fun as we always did. It’s also one of the earliest photos of bikinis. We’re in the South of France, which I’ve loved from the moment I first went there as a girl – it’s magical. I miss Jackie since she died in 2015 – we were so close. She was such a remarkable woman.
1968: I always read bedtime stories to my children Tara and Sacha, even before going out for the evening. I was a single mother – something people never saw. I left my second husband Tony Newley when Tara was five and Sacha was three [both pictured] and cared for them myself. It was the same with Katy, my daughter from my next marriage, to Ron Kass.
1955: The Virgin Queen with Bette Davis was my very first Hollywood movie. I was just 22 when I arrived from Britain and I was scared to bits. She was utterly terrifying. She didn’t only scare me, but also the four other girls who played her ladies-in-waiting. She used to stalk around smoking heavily and wore tight corseted gowns. At one point she kicked me clear from her skirts across the set as I tried to tie her shoes.
1954: David ‘Chim’ Seymour, the famous photographer who founded the Magnum photo agency with Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and Robert Capa, loved to make me cross when he shot me. He nicknamed me ‘the pouting panther’. I adore this glamorous picture he took of me – it’s one of my favourites, especially as it was taken at the beginning of my career.
1983: As Alexis Carrington in Dynasty I had some great fight scenes with Linda Evans, who played Krystle, the wife of my ex-husband Blake. Before we shot them Linda would assure me she wouldn’t hurt me, but how the feathers flew! It was great fun. There was a wonderful line in Dynasty, ‘Don’t mess with Alexis!’, which I repeat to myself if trouble rears its ugly head.
2001: Here I am alongside three fabulous broads – Shirley MacLaine, Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor. The film we were shooting here, These Old Broads, was Elizabeth’s last, and she was in pain but always adorable. She overdid it – she drank too much, married too much and had too many jewels. But there’ll never be another actress like her. They’re all too scared now to be that over-the-top.
2013: The great Percy Gibson is my favourite husband, who never stops taking care of me and my whole family. We got married in 2002 and are pictured here at a party together. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like him. I subconsciously always looked for a man I can depend on in life and I hadn’t found it until Percy came along. He’s my rock.