Friday, April 18, 2014


JOAN COLLINS’ “Dynasty” was great fun, really amazing, hitting the dressing-up box every morning’

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Friday, April 18, 2014
You’ve got 15 minutes on the phone with Joan Collins, legendary actress, memoirist, cosmetics mogul and iconic argument for the Fountain of Youth. And your mind is completely blown right off the bat that you might address someone of the aforementioned description as simply as that: “Joan.”
It seems wrong. So you say so.
“Well, that’s up to you, then,” she says, bemusedly but politely — always politely. “I don’t really care.”
And that’s the kind of refreshing frankness that promises to be on display at the Seminole Coconut Creek on Friday during “One Night With Joan Collins,” the well-received one-woman show she’s been doing around the globe for several years.
 — Best known as “Dynasty’s” shoulder-pad-wearing glamazon Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan — culls some of the highlights of her 60-plus year career in a constantly changing collection of stories.
In our 15 minutes, she talks about the famous friend who inspired the show, the six-week job that became a nine-year career definer, and why you should never call her a diva. Just. Don’t.
I understand that the idea for your show came from dinner with Gregory Peck. Before that, had you been wondering what to do with all those stories you had?
“I had written two autobiographies by then, so I had done a lot with them. But it was Greg, who had been doing a tour of his one-man show, who gave me the idea. These shows have apparently become quite prevalent. I saw Billy Crystal do his, and it was magnificent.”
Has your live show changed over the years?
“We’ve been doing it since 2008, and it’s morphed into several different versions. Once I had done it about 2,090 times — I did it many, many times in London at the same theater — we changed some of the stories. We cut and paste and edit and put new things in. It’s always like a work in progress.”
Does any specific story get a reaction that you didn’t expect?
“Not really. The reaction to everything ‘Dynasty’ is always amazing, particularly because we included some very funny outtakes. Sometimes the audiences are really hysterical, laughing extremely appreciatively everytime I say something. Some audiences are more sober, just here to hear the stories, and they don’t really want to laugh. It’s interesting to go to another venue and see what you’re gonna get.
Obviously you’re known for “Dynasty” but there are so many other things, like the episode you did of the original “Star Trek” series. What do you get recognized for the most?
“I’m not kind of walking the streets. I live in North Hollywood, on the cusp of Beverly Hills. When I go out I’m usually in a car. I do walk about quite a bit, but in Los Angeles people are pretty cool. They’re used to seeing celebrities. In London, where I live as well, if I go down to Oxford Street, or the King’s Road, I will get recognized a lot. There are a lot of tourists in London.
When you first signed on to do “Dynasty,” did you have any idea how iconic it was going to be?
“Not a clue. My agent called me and said, ‘There’s a part that was offered to Sophia Loren, and she turned it down. I think they’ll need you for about six weeks.’ I thought, ‘Six weeks in the California sunshine?’ and off I went, thinking that it was going to be six or eight weeks. And nine years later, it came to an end.”
I interviewed Diahann Carroll several years ago, and she said “Dynasty” was the most fun she’d had in her career, wearing beautiful clothes and pretending to slap and throw drinks on people.
“I do agree. It was great fun, really amazing, hitting the dressing-up box every morning. Nolan Miller, who was the designer, and I had a huge rapport with each other, and we’d discuss every article of clothing before I wore it. I was very into what I was wearing. I was the one who said, ‘These big shoulder pads that are just being brought out by Pierre Cardin in Paris? We should start using them more.’ And Nolan used them then. That was the beginning of 1983, and that silhouette became iconic.”
The term “diva” has been associated with you for decades. What does that mean to you?
“I don’t think it’s a very flattering word. It means a spoiled b——-. It should not mean that. It should mean a great opera singer like Maria Callas.
So no one should call you that.
“Not to my face, darling. If they do it behind my back, I don’t care.”
Noted. So, one of the things that strikes me about “Dynasty,” looking back, is that it featured people in their 40s, 50s and 60s as glamorous, romantic, sexy people, and you just don’t see that much.
“Not anymore. I think that the world today is youth-obsessed, which is pretty pathetic, since the life expectancy today is 80, 85. Every time I talk to a friend, I’m going to a 100th birthday celebration. It’s nothing I have a lot to say about, but I just know that my agent told me that there were 120 pilots being made this season, and I said ‘Interesting. Is there anything for me?’ And he said, ‘there are only two significant roles for women over the age of 60.’ And that’s about it for show business today.”
So what’s next? Are you touring the show some more?
“I’m taking the summer off — I have a house in the south of France — so I can be with my children and grandchildren, and I’m making a lot of appearances on QVC for my new makeup line. I’m going to be very, very busy. I don’t really want to tour it anymore. There are five or six times I am doing it around the time of Thanksgiving, in places I particularly want to go to. I really love Florida. There are so many places I have been asked to where I’ve said, ‘I don’t want to go there, thank you!’ It’s a labor of love.”
Well, we hope that you love it here and want to come back.
“I love Florida, so I already know I will!”
One Night With Joan Collins, Seminole Coconut Creek Casino, Friday, 8 p.m. (800) 653-8000.

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