"I write about real people in disguise. If anything, my characters are toned down-the truth is much more bizarre." -- Jackie Collins
Jacqueline Jill "Jackie" Collins (born 4 October 1937) is an English novelist and former actress. She is the younger sister of actress Joan Collins. To date, she has written 27 novels, all of which have appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list. In total, her books have sold over 400 million copies and have been translated into 40 languages. To date, eight of her novels have been adapted for the screen, either as films or television mini-series.
"Agents are essential, because publishers will not read unsolicited manuscripts.""All of my books have the potential to become movies, it's just a question of finding a studio who wants to get behind me and put up the money to make the movie.""Authors change publishers because it's like being married for a long time and suddenly you want to go out and have a wild affair! No, not seriously, sometimes the deal is more interesting with a new publisher, and other times they have more enthusiasm for your books.""Brittany Murphy... who knows if she's going to be around. Kirsten Dunst, I think she's really boring. Reese Witherspoon? She can open a movie.""Do not copy my style! The first rule of writing is write about what you know, not what you think you know. So, think about what you've done in your life and write about that.""I am currently talking to one of the studios about making American Star as a TV series.""I am still shocking people today, and I don't know why. Is it because I'm a woman talking about sex and men? One magazine said that no one writes sex in the back of a Bentley better than Jackie Collins.""I don't believe in writing anything that I don't know about or haven't researched about personally. I like to transport the reader to places, and in order to do that I have to do the research.""I have considered rap music stars, and there is one in my new book, Lovers and Players, and there is also a hip-hop music mogul who I think you will like a lot.""I have this theory that people in Hollywood don't read. They read 'Vanity Fair' and then consider themselves terribly well read. I think I can basically write about anybody without getting caught.""I have visited Australia several times, and I always try to make a point of going to Melbourne because it's almost my favorite city there, Melbourne and Sydney. But I shouldn't say that because I haven't been everywhere-and I'm very fond of Perth too!""I have written 20 books, and each one is like having a baby. Writing is not easy; some people want to write books but just can't put a story together. I can put together a story that interests both me and my readers.""I know that I am very popular in Holland, in fact I have visited Amsterdam several times to publicize my books. I have a great publisher in Holland and they have published all of my books in Dutch.""I managed to take a family trip to the Bahamas and it was quite lovely.""I really fall in love with my characters, even the bad ones. I love getting together with them. They tell me what to do; they take me on a wild and wonderful trip.""I think I'm a born storyteller. Inspiration is all around me. I can read a newspaper article and come up with an idea for a book.""I was never confident about finishing a book, but friends encouraged me. When I finished my first book, it was accepted by a publisher right away and became an instant bestseller. One male critic called it the most shocking book he ever read.""I write about the American dream: if you set your mind to do something, you can do it. My fans know they're getting the real thing.""I write synopses after the book is completed. I can't write it beforehand, because I don't know what the book's about. I invent something for my publisher because he asks for one, but the final book ends up very differently.""Ideas are all around me. If I wasn't interested in them myself, I don't think anyone else would be either.""If you want to achieve your dreams, you must follow them, and the best way to follow them is not to think about wanting to be very rich, but to think about doing something that you really want to do.""My philosophy is, unless you're sick and need help, why bother?""My weakness is wearing too much leopard print.""People are intrigued by fame, power and wealth and I think Hollywood is the only place where you get all three together.""The biggest critics of my books are people who never read them.""The husbands, who sometimes have another family who's grown, are going, Now I can spend time with my baby. Oh yeah, I bet your other family is really thrilled.""Viagra is a drug, just like cocaine. It can cause you to become addicted.""Whatever you have a passion for, then you must do. If you want to write, write about something you know about.""Where was Paris Hilton a year ago? She's a fabulous character to write about.""Who is ready to settle for five minutes when three hours does nicely?""You've got your hands full if you have three children under 2 years old."
Collins was born in London in 1937, the younger daughter of Elsa Bessant and Joseph William Collins, a theatrical agent whose clients included Shirley Bassey, The Beatles and Tom Jones. Collins' South African-born father was Jewish and her British mother was Anglican. A middle child, Collins has an elder sister, actress Joan Collins (b.1933) and a younger brother, Bill Collins (b. 1946).
At 15, Collins was expelled from school; after which, she threw her school uniform in the Thames. During this period she had a brief sexual affair with Marlon Brando who was 29 at the time.
Like her sister, Collins began in acting roles, in a series of British B movies in the 1950s. She also made appearances in the 1960s ITC television series Danger Man and The Saint before giving up an on-screen career. She has since played herself in a few television series including Minder in 1980.
Collins' first novel, The World Is Full of Married Men, was published in 1968. Romance writer Barbara Cartland called it "nasty, filthy and disgusting". It was banned in Australia and South Africa, but the scandal bolstered sales in the USA and the UK. Collins' second novel, The Stud, was published in 1969 and followed the sexually charged affairs of married Fontaine Khaled, who owns a fashionable London nightclub. It also made the bestseller lists.
Collins' third novel, Sunday Simmons & Charlie Brick, (first published under the title The Hollywood Zoo in the UK and then retitled Sinners worldwide in 1984) was published in 1971 and again made the bestseller lists. This was Collins' first novel to be set in the United States.
Lovehead followed in 1974 (retitled as The Love Killers in 1989). This novel was Collins' first foray into the world of organized crime — a genre that would later prove to be extremely successful for her. The plot concerned the organised murder of women's rights activist and feminist Margaret Lawrence Brown. Three women - two who are Margaret's half sisters and one whom she saved from a life of working in the porn industry - plan revenge on the mobster responsible, Enzio Bassalino.
Following this, Collins published The World Is Full Of Divorced Women (unrelated to her first novel) in 1975, and then her longest novel, Lovers & Gamblers, in 1977 which told the story of rock/soul superstar Al King.
In the late 1970s, Collins made a foray into writing for the screen. In 1978, she co-wrote the screenplay for the film version of her 1969 novel The Stud, which starred her older sister Joan as the gold-digging adulteress Fontaine Khaled. Following this, Collins wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of her first novel The World Is Full Of Married Men, which was released in 1979. She also released her seventh novel, The Bitch, a sequel to The Stud, which was also made into a successful film the same year, with Joan Collins reprising the role. The film version of The Bitch was written and directed by Gerry O'Hara, based on Collins' source novel. Also in 1979, Collins wrote an original screenplay (not based on any of her novels) for the film Yesterday's Hero.
In the 1980s, Collins and her family moved to Los Angeles on a full time basis. Her next novel was Chances, published in 1981 and which she described as her first Harold Robbins-type novel. It was also the first novel to introduce her most famous character, Lucky Santangelo, the "dangerously beautiful" daughter of a one-time gangster Gino Santangelo.
While living in the hills above Sunset Boulevard, Collins collected the knowledge and experience to write her most successful novel, Hollywood Wives, which was published in 1983. The novel hit the New York Times bestseller list at number one, and went on to sell fifteen million copies worldwide. Marketed as a "scandalous exposé", the novel placed Collins in a powerful position and made her a celebrity of almost equal status to sister Joan, whose own career had taken an upwards direction with her role in the hit television drama Dynasty. In 1985, Hollywood Wives was also made into a hugely successful television mini-series, produced by Aaron Spelling and starring Candice Bergen, Stefanie Powers, Angie Dickinson, Anthony Hopkins, Suzanne Sommers and Rod Steiger. Although credited as "Creative Consultant", Collins later stated that she was never consulted during production and that she did not agree with some of the casting choices.
She then went on to write the sequel to Chances entitled Lucky (published in 1985), followed by Hollywood Husbands (1986), and Rock Star (1988).
In 1990, Collins published her third Lucky Santangelo novel, Lady Boss. Also in 1990, she wrote and co-produced the television mini-series Lucky Chances, which combined her first two Lucky Santangelo novels and starred Nicolette Sheridan in the lead role and Sandra Bullock.
In 1992, Collins was widowed when her husband of 26 years, Oscar Lerman, died of cancer. Around this time, she also wrote and produced another mini-series based on her third Lucky Santangelo novel Lady Boss (with Kim Delaney now playing the lead role).
Collins went on to pen several more bestsellers; American Star (1993), Hollywood Kids (1994) and the fourth Santangelo novel, Lucky's Revenge (1996).
In 1998, Collins made a foray into talk-show television with the series Jackie Collins' Hollywood, but this was unsuccessful. She then released a new novel, Thrill (1998), and also wrote a four-part series of mini-novels to be released in a newspaper every six weeks called L.A. Connections, introducing a new heroine in the form of investigative journalist Madison Castelli. The fifth Lucky Santangelo novel, Dangerous Kiss, was published in 1999.
The 2000s turned out to be Collins' busiest time and she published eight bestsellers, more than any other decade in her career. In 2000, Collins brought back the character of Madison Castelli in a new novel, Lethal Seduction. In 2001 she published Hollywood Wives: The New Generation, which itself was later turned into a television movie starring Farrah Fawcett, Melissa Gilbert and Robin Givens (Collins was credited as Executive Producer).
A new Madison Castelli novel, Deadly Embrace, was published in 2002, and Hollywood Divorces was published in 2003. In 2004, Collins hosted a series of television specials, Jackie Collins Presents, for E! Entertainment Television.
In 2006, after being signed to publisher Simon & Schuster for twenty years, Collins signed with St. Martin's Press as her North American publisher though she remains with Simon & Schuster internationally.
Collins continued with Lovers & Players in 2006 and the sixth Lucky Santangelo novel, Drop Dead Beautiful, in 2007. Her most recent novels include Married Lovers (2008), about the affairs of a female personal trainer named Cameron Paradise. This was followed in 2009 by Poor Little Bitch Girl, which stemmed from an idea Collins had worked on for a television series about heiresses that was ultimately never made.
In 2010, Paris Connections, a direct-to-DVD movie adapted from Collins' L.A. Connections series of mini-novels was made by Amber Entertainment in association with the UK supermarket chain Tesco. The movie stars Charles Dance, Trudie Styler, and Nicole Steinwedell as Madison Castelli. Collins served as co-producer, and three more Connections movies with the Madison Castelli character are planned.
Although Collins initially said on her official website that there would probably be no more Lucky Santangelo novels after Drop Dead Beautiful, she is now actually working on the seventh book in the series, Goddess of Vengeance, to be published in 2011. Also according to her official website, she is currently writing a play entitled Jackie Collins' Hollywood Lies.
Collins married her first husband, Wallace Austin, in 1959. They had a daughter and divorced after four and a half years.
Collins married for the second time to art gallery and Ad-Lib Nightclub owner Oscar Lerman on 15 June 1965, in the home of sister Joan and (then) husband Anthony Newley. Collins and Lerman had two daughters together and Lerman formally adopted Collins' daughter from her previous marriage. Lerman died in 1992 from prostate cancer. In 1994 Collins became engaged to Los Angeles business executive Frank Calcagnini. Calcagnini died in 1998 from a brain tumor.
Collins now lives her life, in her own words, "like a cool bachelor. I have a man for all seasons." She resides in Beverly Hills in a mansion she designed herself.