Joan Collins (London, 90 years old) writes that when she entered the bar she did not recognize the blonde who was drinking alone at the bar. She had landed in Hollywood just months earlier, having signed a contract with 20th Century Fox in 1955. The same year, she starred in The Girl with the Red Trapeze, a film based on true events in which Collins played the model, showgirl and actress. Evelyn Nesbit, whose husband, billionaire Harry Kendall Thaw, eventually murdered her lover, architect Stanford White, in a scandal that shocked American society in 1906. “They wanted me to be in “The Girl on the Red Trapeze,” but that happened. “Too much “older for the role,” revealed the blonde at the bar in a sad voice. Only then did Joan Collins realize that she was sitting next to Marilyn Monroe.
“He was extremely friendly, so we started chatting. After a few martinis, he warned me about harassment in Hollywood and told me about the wolves in this city,” Joan Collins admits in her explosive new memoir, “Behind The Shoulder Pads: Tales I Tell My Friends (Behind The Shoulder Pads). : Tales I Tell My Friends). In it she not only talks about her encounters with personalities of the caliber of Queen Elizabeth II, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana of Wales or her ex-boyfriend, the actor Warren Beatty, but also from the new perspective that the Weinstein case and the Me Too movement, talks about some of the episodes of sexual abuse and power he has experienced in the past. But back to Marilyn Monroe, the martinis and those wolves: “I replied that after several years in the British film industry I had become very used to them,” says the veteran actress in her book; “We all had to endure having our butts slapped and our cleavage looked at.”
“That’s nothing compared to the powerful studio bosses, darling,” Marilyn replied. “If they don’t get what they want, they will terminate your contract. “This has happened to a lot of girls.” Then Monroe warned him, “Be very careful with Zanuck. If he doesn’t get what he wants, he’ll fire you.” Collins took note. What was his surprise when, just a few days later, Darryl Zanuck, producer of blockbuster films such as “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940), “How Green Was My Valley!” (1941) and Eva Naked (1950), rushed into the studios at her, pushed her against the wall and told her that he was “the biggest and the best” and that he could last “all night.” The now verbose and perceptive Collins was then left speechless and snuck back onto the set as best she could away from the powerful producer: “I heard a young star had been fired for telling her, ‘I’m the biggest in.’ this business.’” “she told him. replied; “I don’t know, you’re 1.47 inches tall, remember.
This is neither the first nor the last story of abuse of power that Joan Collins remembers from the golden age of Hollywood, which she now speaks about, as she usually does, without mincing words and occasionally using pros and cons surnames, always with the funny slogan “I know it’s wrong to talk about the dead… but I will do it.” “In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the full extent of the depravity to which actresses have been subjected has become clear. to land roles has finally come to light and will no longer be tolerated. At least I hope so. But this happened over too many decades. I know because I was there,” explains the interpreter.
The “Cold Witch”
“My first awkward encounter was at an audition for the 1952 British film I Believe in You,” the actress recalls. “One of the producers had made such obvious advances that I had to avoid him by hiding in a closet in the wardrobe department with the help of the stylists and waiting for him to leave the studio to take the bus and subway home .” But one day this producer intercepted her on the way home and encouraged her to get into his Bentley to get her closer to home: “As he drove, he grabbed my hand and put it in his open fly. I screamed in horror and pulled my hand away. ‘What happens? “Don’t you want the role?” he said lasciviously. “Not so much,” I cried, bursting into almost childish tears as I realized I had wasted my chances.” This surprised the producer, who ignored every other possibility and asked Joan Collins if she was frigid.
“It was the first time a man called me that, but unfortunately not the last time. “Men who viewed women as playthings because of their wealth or power could be very cruel,” the interpreter now says. “Luckily that producer was fired, so I got the role despite his threats. However, he still pursued me and when I told him I wasn’t interested and that I was still a virgin, he called me a “cold little witch.”
The long list of predators he refers to in his book includes actors, producers and directors: “Most actors I worked with believed they had a divine right to sleep with the leading actress,” writes Collins. “When I was 21, I had to repeatedly say no to a very famous and handsome (albeit short) actor I was working with. One night he followed me to my car only to yell at me, “Stupid cow!” You’re done before you’re 23!’ Luckily I had a contract with the studio until I was 27, the age at which the bosses assumed women had lost sexual interest.”
Actors, producers and directors
Joan Collins says that she was offered more than once to play Queen Cleopatra in the film of the same name, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz in the early sixties, and that actress Elizabeth Taylor eventually became the highest paid actress of his time. “Both Fox Chairman Buddy Adler and the CEO (a Greek gentleman old enough to be my grandfather) had bombarded me with suggestions and flowers, culminating in a promise to cast me as Cleopatra if I could.” would be good enough.” . “They both used this euphemism, which was quite common in Hollywood at the time.” Collins says the thought of “these few old men” laying hands on her made her sick: “So I snuck out, made excuses and hid in front of them while the studio was auditioning me for Cleopatra.” It all ended in what she describes as a “glamorous party,” where Adler asked her to dance and suggested giving her the role and a good apartment in return that she could visit them three to four times a week. Collins replied that his agent was at the same party and that it might be better to give him the details. “Very funny,” Adler replied.
“Elizabeth Taylor eventually got the role opposite Richard Burton, another predator she had met in the 1957 war film The Sea Wife.” Collins said Burton always told him that they should go to bed so as “not to spoil their notes finish”. Burton’s track record was to have relationships with every actress he starred with in a film. Collins turned him down and they never spoke again throughout filming.
“Just like George Peppard,” the actress continues. Peppard, who would go down in history for playing Holly Golightly’s romantic interest in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Hannibal in The A-Team, met Collins in the 1970 film The Hangman. During the launch party, Peppard accompanied her home and also tried to sleep with her. Joan Collins told him she was married with children, to which he replied she was “too stuffy.” That wasn’t enough, but later he made it impossible for her to film by taking advantage of her in the bed scenes and giving her French kisses in the romantic scenes: “When I very politely took his tongue out of my throat for the fourth time, I became angry,” writes the actress, who complained about this behavior to the director, who did nothing about it. “You didn’t like it?” asked Peppard. “I hated it,” Collins replied. “You are a Puritan. “They all love it,” he said. “Well, not me.” After that, the actors stopped speaking and communicated with each other through their respective makeup artists when necessary.
For Collins, this story has a happy ending: “When George was chosen to play the protagonist in a new series called Oil, he proved so insufferable that producer Aaron Spelling fired him. Instead, they hired John Forsythe, changed the title to Dynasty, and the rest is history. “I would never have worked with George Peppard for nine years.”
At 90, Joan Collins is one of the few remaining relics of old Hollywood. During her golden years, the actress appeared in more than 60 films and 15 plays, although it was the character of the evil Alexis Colby in Dynasty that brought her back to prominence and brought her worldwide fame. However, Joan Collins’ best role might just be playing Joan Collins. With more than a dozen published non-fiction books, she has managed to become an excellent chronicler of a time and place that, in some subject areas, has fortunately already remained in the past. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth looking back and telling the story, as Collins explains: “This has been happening for too many decades. I know because I was there.”