Publicist: ‘Hollywood Wives’ novelist Jackie Collins dies at 77

21 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Author Jackie Collins Dies at 77.

Less than two weeks ago, as she contemplated her looming 78th birthday, Jackie Collins was in a firmly optimistic mood. “I couldn’t care less about my age,” she said. “I’m still here, I love what I do, and I have a passion for it … it’s better than the alternative.” They did not seem like the words of a woman facing a terminal illness. Jackie Collins, the prolific best-selling author behind The World Is Full Of Married Men, Hollywood Wives, and Lady Boss died on Saturday at the age of 77. “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,” Collins’ 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.It’s relatively rare to find a star who’s a hit in multiple arenas — publishing, movies, television, even the stage — but Jackie Collins left a legacy in all.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. 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.

Her passing from breast cancer at age 77, on Saturday in Los Angeles where the British-born beauty had long lived, came as a shock to millions, famous and not, because she chose to keep her illness of more than six years to herself and close family. 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.

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. 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 said to PEOPLE magazine on Sept. 14 during what would become her last interview.

Those novels, as delectable as cupcakes and just as filling, combined a distinctive form of sex-saturated female empowerment, Hollywood glamour, pots of money and fame, and a rollicking good time — or “bonkbusters,” as the British put it. Rest in peace.” Sitting in a London hotel suite to discuss her latest book, The Santangelos, with the Observer, Jackie had been equally effusive about their bond. “Joan and I are the best of friends,” she said. “We had tea a few days ago and she sent me beautiful flowers when I arrived in London. Put another way: Collins was selling zillions of erotic novels — more than four times as many — long before the three Fifty Shades of Grey books, by British novelist E.L. 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.

She told People she wants her gravestone to read: “She gave a great deal of people a great deal of pleasure.” Carol Fitzgerald, president of the Book Report Network, said Collins was a “tireless promoter” with a genuine interest and curiosity about her readers and the business of publishing. Power-suited in a black jacket and trouser ensemble (plus trainers, which she explained with an apology about her bad ankle), she was immaculately made up and on great form. The plot, as USA TODAY described it, will be familiar to her fans: Lucky is dealing with “a vengeful enemy, a drug-addled Colombian club owner, and a sex-crazed Italian family.” That’s just for starters. Her teenage daughter, Max, is becoming the “It” girl in Europe’s modeling world and her Kennedyesque son, Bobby, is being set up for a murder he didn’t commit. 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.

She described a ménage à trois between three female models at a recent Hollywood party and said, with a wink and her trademark dirty laugh “of course that’s going in the next book!”. 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.

In the past all I’ve said about Oscar and Frank’s deaths is that I wanted to celebrate their lives, not mourn their deaths. “But I wanted to write about the experience of caring. As Collins told Vanity Fair in 2010, Hollywood Wives was controversial, too. “The Hollywood wives hated me,” she said. “I got beneath the façade and into the mansions.

But the queen always knows what to say to anyone. “And I said, yes, especially for a school dropout,” Collins recounted. “I’m British through and through and to meet the queen and come to (Buckingham) Palace is great.” Frank came out of the doctor’s office to where I was sitting in the ante room and just said: ‘I’m fucked, I’ve got three months to live.’ Three months later he was gone.

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