Joan Collins
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Joan Collins
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    Joan Collins is an amazing British actress, who made her American debut in films in the mid 1950's. Her biggest success, however, was in the eighties with the hit televesion series, Dynasty.

    British actress Joan Collins, daughter of a London theatrical booking agent, made her showbiz bow in a production of The Doll's House -- in a male role. She was 9 years old then, and it would be the last time there would be any doubt as to her gender. 

    With the sort of glamorous countenance that prompted people to ask "why aren't you in movies?", Collins first appeared before the cameras in a small role as a beauty contestant in Lady Godiva Rides Again (1953). She made an auspicious American debut as an Egyptian temptress in Land of the Pharoahs (1955). This assignment led to a contract with 20th Century-Fox, where despite a few good dramatic parts (Girl on the Red Velvet Swing [1955] in particular) and an adroit comic characterization in Rally Round the Flag, Boys (1958), she was written off by critics as decorative but nothing more. She was perilously close to "perennial starlet" status in the 1960s, and by the 1970s was the uncrowned queen of "B" pictures. Offscreen she cut quite a swath through the tabloid headlines; if her autobiography, Past Imperfect is to be believed, she dallied with virtually every male actor in Hollywood except Wile E. Coyote.

    Her maturation from mere personality to superstar came about when she was cast in 1981 as glamorous and predatory Alexis Carrington on Dynasty. Despite professional and personal setbacks, Collins has managed to survive in an industry that swallows up lesser starlets on an average of ten per hour. 

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