Jackie Collins’ legacy: Pulpy fun, Hollywood glamour and a sexy good read

20 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Author Jackie Collins has died of breast cancer at the age of 77.

Known for her campy romance novels about Hollywood’s rich and famous, best-selling author Jackie Collins died on Saturday of breast cancer at the age of 77. Jackie Collins, the best-selling British-born author whose dozens of racy, page-turning novels chronicled the glitz — along with the sex, schemes and seductions — of the rich and the rapacious, died Sept. 20 in Los Angeles.I’m so sad to hear about the passing of Jackie Collins..my love and prayers go out to her family and friends and to her sister Joan..what an amazing woman….Last week, in a piece for The Sunday Times style magazine in Britain, Jackie Collins revealed her disdain for a celebrity world where stylists call the shots. Her sister, actress Joan Collins, didn’t learn of Jackie’s diagnosis until about two weeks ago. “She was my best friend,” the actress said in a statement to PEOPLE. “I admire how she handled this.

A statement released by her family said, “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. I don’t like the pictures that appeared in the magazines,’” Collins told Us at the time. “So every day she would come down in a new bikini and I would have to take pictures of her.” Melissa Gilbert, who starred in Hollywood Wives: The New Generation — based on one of Collins’ novels — also weighed in on her “amazing” friend. If it pleases you, do it — and to hell with what everyone else thinks.” A lover of glamorous clothes and an author who was never afraid to shock, Collins was a best-selling romance novelist whose first book was so steamy it was banned in some countries, including Australia.

She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words.” According to People Magazine, Collins had been fighting the cancer in private for almost seven years, receiving assistance and support from only her children. Among the novels was “Hollywood Wives” (1983), whose characters seemed to be thinly disguised and dismayingly flawed versions of real-life figures. From then on, her work came to symbolize the fictional re-creation of the lives of Hollywood’s handsome and haunted as they navigated an environment of raw ambition and ravenous hunger for success and sexual conquest. 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.

Collins had made something of a splash long before that, with the appearance in 1968 of her first published novel, “The World is Full of Married Men.” A blend of show business and monkey business, it created the template for much of her later work. It was so crazy.’’ By the 1980s, she had moved to Los Angeles and turned out the 1983 novel she is still best known for, Hollywood Wives, which has sold more than 15 million copies. Collins did not restrict her novelist’s eye to her immediate surroundings and was known for books about a family she called the Santangelos, with roots in organized crime. Few were regarded as having a closer acquaintance with the often-tawdry reality behind the glossy image, with the links between bedrooms and boardrooms, and with the sometimes drug-addled lives that were hidden from the prying eyes of the public. “I swim lengths in the pool at the end of each day — thinking about my characters and what they might do next,” she told the Wall Street Journal last year. “I don’t plan my story lines.

Sometimes I’ll do a little survey and say, ‘Who is hot this week?’ ” Many yesterday were using Twitter to mourn her, including Oprah Winfrey, who tweeted: “RIP Jackie Collins. Many people would tell her, she said, that they read her as children by flashlight under the bedclothes, and “ ‘I learned everything I know about sex from you.’ ” For someone whose creative process seemed to fluid and unfettered, Ms. Author Christopher Rice wrote: “For many readers, Jackie Collins was their first encounter with fully formed, non-self loathing gay characters.” Collins’s books didn’t stick strictly to Hollywood. She was a wonderful, brave and a beautiful person and I love her.” Joan Collins herself learned of her sister’s illness only within the past two weeks, it reported. “She was very shocked,” Jackie Collins earlier told the magazine of Joan’s reaction to the news. “She had no idea.

She was married twice, first to Wallace Austin, then in 1965 to Oscar Lerman, an art gallery and nightclub owner who died in 1992 after 27 years of marriage. “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. But sex seems to upset people more than violence does.” Jacqueline Jill Collins was born in London on Oct. 4 1937, to a mother who had been a dancer and a father who was a theatrical agent; she later described him as a philanderer.

I am a school dropout.” In the same interview, she reflected on how 15-year-old girls still read her books “under the covers with a flashlight”, and how America had come to resemble her plots in the wake of Bill Clinton’s affair in office (“But in my books, the sex is better.”). Youthful hijinks led to her expulsion from school at 15. “I was thrown out for smoking, being truant, and waving at the resident flasher,” she told Los Angeles magazine. It did comparatively well, however, which she ascribed to her being one of the first women novelists with a female protagonist who was both strong and sexual.

Collins moved to the United States and published “Chances” (1981), her first book featuring Lucky Santangelo, a character whose determination to steer her own course reflected the author’s personality. Collins defended herself by saying that she was only telling the truth about some women “right down to their tummy tucks, designer panties” and other accoutrements of decadence. She told a British interviewer in 2012 that she had been thinking about her legacy: “On my tombstone, I want to have the words: ‘She gave a lot of people a lot of pleasure.’ ” She laughed, “wickedly,” the reporter noted, before adding, “Take that as you will.”

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