Jackie Collins, best-selling author, dies at 77

21 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Author Jackie Collins Dies at 77.

LOS ANGELES — The novels of Jackie Collins dramatized the lives of the most elite people and places, but they were read by everyone, everywhere — from airports to beaches to, sometimes, under the covers with a flashlight to hide from disapproving parents and partners.“It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the death of our beautiful, dynamic and one-of-a-kind mother, Jackie Collins, who died of breast cancer today,” her family said in a statement. “She lived a wonderfully full life and was adored by her family, friends and the millions of readers who she has been entertaining for over four decades,” the statement said. “She was a true inspiration, a trailblazer for women in fiction and a creative force. Collins, whose books like “Hollywood Wives” were as brazenly sexual as they were proudly pulpy, sold hundreds of millions of novels in dozens of countries, and it led to a level of wealth, celebrity and glamour that in many ways surpassed her own characters, and arguably matched that of her older sister, “Dynasty” actress Joan Collins. She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words.” The English author of 40-plus years was best known for writing novels, 500 million copies of which have been sold worldwide, about glamorous Hollywood lifestyles.

Collins’ tales of sex, glamour, power and more sex were a forerunner to the culture of “Desperate Housewives” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Her books provided at first more than some wanted to hear, but she became the kind of author from whom readers could never get enough, providing forbidden fodder for housewives and for teenagers raiding their parents’ bookshelves. “As a writer, you can never think about who is going to read your books. Despite being diagnosed six and a half years ago the British author, who lived in Beverley Hills, told few people about her illness, saying she did not want to “burden” others with it. Joan Collins, who only found out in the last fortnight, posted a picture online of herself and Jackie, writing: “Farewell to my beautiful brave baby sister. It came at the same time that her sister hit the height of her own fame on “Dynasty.” “Dynasty” producer Aaron Spelling would also produce the 1985 hit TV miniseries of “Hollywood Wives,” which featured Candice Bergen, Angie Dickinson and Suzanne Somers, among others.

Before she passed away, Jackie told People she had “no regrets” about the decision to keep her struggle with the disease to herself. “Looking back, I’m not sorry about anything I did,” she said. “I did it my way, as Frank Sinatra would say. I’ve written five books since the diagnosis, I’ve lived my life, I’ve travelled all over the world, I have not turned down book tours and no one has ever known until now when I feel as though I should come out with it. Lovers and Gamblers, is still getting rave reviews on Amazon, even though it was published in 1977. “What a wonderful story,” writes Natasha. “For some reason, you just had to love Al even though he was crude, arrogant and so damn nasty to women, I just couldn’t help but like him.” Collins’ longest novel, her Middlemarch if you will, tells the story of rock superstar Al King and Dallas, the beauty queen who has a secret the tabloids would love to tell. “Together, they’re on a wild ride from London to New York, from Hollywood to Rio and the steaming jungles of the Amazon, where all their dreams and nightmares are about to come true…” That’s what it says on her website. Trips to the dentist remain a little unnerving to this day, thanks to Ms Collins. (This has nothing to do with extraction, quite the opposite, in fact.) “When Lucky came to me I thought, fuck it, I have read so many books where the women are having nervous breakdowns in Harrods and all they can think is, ‘Isn’t it terrible, is he going to marry me?’ – soft, wimpy women.

I wanted to write a real kick-ass heroine, and she’s still going strong.” And in spite of Joan Collins, her film-star older sister, the rich, nightclub-owning second husband, the pools, the leopard print, the designer sunglasses, Jackie was our girl. Collins told People magazine, which first reported her death Saturday, in her final interview Sept. 14 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer over six years ago, but she had chosen to keep the news among family, confiding mainly in her three daughters, 54-year-old Tracy, 48-year-old Tiffany and 46-year-old Rory.

Every Friday night, the Collins parents would have a card party. “I would hide on the trolley – my mother would do this big trolley of food to take in to the men – so I could hear what men said about women. From an early age I got the impression of the double standard, and have been writing about it ever since.” Thank goodness Jackie Collins was hidden under that trolley. She was then engaged to Los Angeles businessman Frank Calcagnini, who died in 1998. “When I was a kid growing up, I used to read my father’s Playboy and I’d see these guys and they had fantastic apartments and cars,” she said. “I have all of that now.

She has reflected the truth about the division of gender power right back at us – and in a very pleasantly satisfying way. “It wasn’t just the sex, but the premise of the book in which a man who leaves his wife for his mistress is sent packing when she says she isn’t interested in marriage. It’s a great power, being able to do that.” It did, she concedes, get people reading but “I think that the term ‘mummy porn’ is totally degrading to women,” she told Gloria Hunniford on Loose Women.

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