To coincide with the release of her much-anticipated memoir Behind the Shoulder Pads, global superstar Dame Joan Collins is embarking on a brand new tour for 2023. She comes to the Theatre Royal, Brighton, on Saturday 21 October.
With her husband Percy Gibson by her side, they will field your questions, giving audiences the opportunity to have an intimate chat with the world famous actress.
Featuring seldom-told tales, enchanting anecdotes and rare and fascinating footage from her seven decades in show business, the evening will be full of the usual wit, candour and of course glamour that we have come to expect from this British-born Hollywood legend.
As an award-winning actress, author, producer, humanitarian and entrepreneur, Dame Joan Collins’ career places her in the unrivalled ranks of an international icon. This is a show not to be missed!
Book your tickets now to avoid missing out.
Brighton and Hove News were delighted to catch some time with Dame Joan ahead of her UK tour.
KK Your memoir Behind The Shoulder Pads, fabulous title by the way, came out on 28 September.
You’ve written other memoirs, advice books, novels newspaper and magazine columns. How many books is that to date?
KK Have you always been compelled to write or did it emerge later in life ?
DJC I was always writing from a young age. I wrote my first autobiography at age 13, but sadly it did not have mass appeal.
KK You faced up to the publishers Random House in the 1990s. What caused you to end up in court?
DJC Random House had been giving massive advances to celebrities for years, and then the market crashed and publishers were in a panic. They had given Marlon Brando a $4 million advance the year before me and when I asked him what he had written he said, “Not a thing – I think they’ve forgotten they paid me.” I think they thought they could make an example of me – maybe they did not expect me to fight, and win!
KK I got the importance of looking ‘good’ from my mother – she always looked immaculate and I still wouldn’t consider wearing a black bra under a white shirt because of her. Even in my hippy days I was colour co-ordinated! Where did the importance of glamour come from for you?
DJC Similarly, from my mother and my aunts. They were always impeccably turned out and impossibly glamorous. The idea of “dressing down” in the 50’s was anathema. But I went through my rebellious “no make-up and jeans” phase when I was a teenager. I remember the day Richard Fleischer, the director of “The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing” came up to me while I was lunching at the commissary and screamed “You look hideous! Never got out without full makeup, a nice dress, and white gloves!”
KK After RADA you set your sites on Hollywood. Did your whole family moved to the USA and were your parents fully accepting of your career choice?
DJC I did not set my sights on Hollywood. Hollywood came looking for me. I was perfectly content doing British films and I most wanted to be a serious actress on the stage, because that’s what RADA had inculcated in me. That’s why I did not want to accept until I received a salary that I thought would be commensurate with my experience. Otherwise, I would have been thrown on the scrapheap of wannabe starlets whereas I was given above the title billing with proper roles. My father had already accepted my choices since I was starring in British films and my mother always supported me.
KK I’m not going to ask you to spill the beans about the stories in Behind The Shoulder Pads but I’m interested to know which of your fellow movie stars have stuck in your mind and why?
DJC Paul Newman. He and I, and his wife Joanne Woodward became very good friends and they lobbied for me to be in their movie “Rally ‘round the Flag, Boys”. They were the only ones in the business, aside from my sister Jackie, who have ever helped me along my career. When I lived in New York while Tony (Anthony Newley) was on Broadway, we’d go up to Paul’s country house and he would fire up the bar-b-q and made the most amazing dressings. He said “one of these days I’m going to bottle them!” Which he did with “Newman’s Own”. The last time we saw each other I asked him how he was and he said “still got a pulse!”
KK Do you have any particular roles down the years of which you are most proud?
DJC I think it’s impossible not to say Alexis in Dynasty, for which I am forever grateful to have had, but I am immensely proud of a small movie I made with Steven Berkoff called Decadence because I played four different characters and it gave me the chance to flex my acting muscles.
KK You and your sister Jackie were tight friends and terrors ‘on the town’ I suspect. How did you cope with losing her?
DJC Losing your younger sister is not something you get over. It’s something you learn to live with.
KK Have you suffered from sexual inequality in your career regarding pay?
DJC Oh indeed. Some have even credited me with being one of the earliest to fight for equal pay when I demanded a raise during Dynasty. I certainly always felt that one should get paid commensurate to ability and experience regardless of sex or race. That’s what I had done since the beginning of my career when I demanded from Fox what my agent said they “would never pay”.
KK Do you have a favourite era for fashion and if so, why?
DJC The Belle Epoque I think was the most glamorous period in fashion history, and of course the “new look” by Dior in the late forties. Simple yet stunning, understated yet dramatic. Very similar to the early years in dynasty. The power look.
KK How did you feel to be made a Dame?
DJC Humbled and honoured.
KK I’m considered to be outgoing, confident and fearless but in fact it’s a bit of an act. I have to force myself to approach strangers at parties and am quite shy in crowds. Is it true that you are same and how do you deal with it?
DJC I once read an article by Woody Allen about his shyness. I saw him at a party not long after and went up to him to express how much I identified with it, as I am a shy person in crowds. He looked down the extremely low-cut dress I was wearing and replied, “I wouldn’t have guessed,” and scuttled away.
KK You’ve said that maintaining the mystery in romantic life is imperative – I won’t shave my legs in front of my partner for instance. You’ve stated separate bathrooms as one tip. What other pointers can you give us?
DJC That’s a good question! I’m going to have to think about that one. Don’t mix finance with romance perhaps? I think a woman should always retain a bit of mystery and keep her partner guessing. Always keep them off-balance, I say!
KK With your husband Percy alongside you are embarking on a UK wide tour following the release of Behind The Shoulder Pads and are coming to Brighton’s Theatre Royal on 21st September. You’re opening up yourself to answer questions from your audience – are you at all trepidatious of what they may ask?
DJC I’ve been doing one-woman shows since 2006 and answering questions from journalist since my very young days in the business but yes, there is always something that will stump me. But not, I try not to worry about what I cannot control.
KK You and Percy have been together for over 20 years. What is special about him and your relationship that has made it so enduring.
DJC I think it’s that we started as friends. It wasn’t one of those sudden mad passionate affairs (well, it was but not until later). We got to know each other before we fell in love, so the bond became much stronger as a result. We already knew each others bad and good spots and accepted them for what they were, and we don’t try to change each other.
KK Thank you for giving up some of your precious time for Brighton & Hove News. I’d like to applaud you for your support for many charities but particularly with regard to breast cancer, of which I am a survivor. We are all very grateful for your charitable work.