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Jackie Collins: Writer of Steamy Bestselling Novels (and Joan’s Sister)

Jackie Collins in 2014

As a writer of steamy, salacious fiction about the rich and famous, Jackie Collins might have been a bigger star than her big sister Joan, the scheming Alex Carrington in the 1980s prime-time soap opera Dynasty. Jackie, who passed away Sept. 19 at age 77 in Los Angeles, churned out more than three dozen books — from Hollywood Wives and Rock Star to The Power Trip. Scantily clad beauties and shirtless male hunks on the covers gave a pretty good indication of what took place on the pages inside, perfect reading for the beach or monotonous travels.

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Collins herself was as intriguing as any of the thinly disguised celebrities in her work. Her are some facts about her.

  • As a teenager in England, she taught herself to write fiction by hand-copying Mickey Spillane detective novels.
  • Kicked out of boarding school for smoking, she moved to Los Angeles to live with her sister and had a brief affair with Marlon Brando.
  • Her own minor acting career in the 1960s included small roles on British TV's The Avengers.
  • She dreamed up the plot lines for her stories while swimming laps each day and wrote them on a legal pad with a felt-tip pen.
  • Deeming her novels too titillating in the late 1980s, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping threatened her publishers in his country with execution.
  • After her breast cancer diagnosis six years ago, Collins wrote five novels and traveled extensively, she recently told People magazine: “I did it my way, as Frank Sinatra would say.”

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Here’s an interview for an Australian TV program in 2013 in which Collins notes that “women say to me all the time, ‘You taught me everything I know about sex.’”

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

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