Joan Collins has a new book out: The World According to Joan (available Oct.6). It is a clever and witty book, full of lines such as “I have never met a rich man yet who wasn’t in some way flawed.” On a more serious level, Joan wages a one-woman battle for a brighter, cleaner, better-mannered Britain than the one that showed its ugly side in the recent riots.
I have adored Joan since she first appeared as Alexis Carrington in Dynasty. That was nearly thirty years ago, when she was approaching 50 and already too old - in theory - to play such a glamorous role. So here we are in 2011, and Joan is an astonishing 78 and still going strong. I have seen her close up in the flesh and I can honestly say that she is amazing - not just her face, but also her lithe figure and splendid legs.
Understandably, her one-woman shows are a sell out. I saw one of her special evenings last year and she was absolutely sparkling. The audience was notably packed with celebrities such as Elaine Paige, Christopher Biggins, Michael and Sandra Howard.
Joan has worked for over 60 years. She is a Golden Globe winner and Emmy-nominee. She has sold over 50 million copies of her novels and memoirs, appeared in over 60 films, been seen on television in more than 100 parts, acted in more than 25 theatrical productions in New York and London, won over 30 awards. She has also supported many charities over the years.
Unlike many stars, she has been ruthlessly honest about her private life, admitting her mistakes rather than running to the law courts to obtain injunctions like a host of bankers, aristocrats, entertainers and sportsmen have done.
She has long encouraged women to make the best of their appearance. She even made a one-off makeover programme - Joan Does Glamour - in which she showed an ordinary family how to smarten up.
Last winter, Joan starred in the pantomime Dick Whittington in Birmingham with fellow actors Julian Clary and Nigel Havers. Interrupted by a heckler in the audience who shouted at Havers: "He hasn't got a personality," Joan instantly replied: "Yes, he has, in real life! Now, carrying on... " Then she slipped seamlessly back into character as Queen Rat.
After such a long career, surely being a pantomime dame is not enough?
Joan is an international icon and a national treasure and it’s time she was rewarded for her tremendous contribution to the world of entertainment by being made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. This is the way Britain rewards its best, so here’s hoping we can salute Dame Joan in the near future.