She may be a Dame today, but back in the ’50s, Joan Collins was a 20-something newcomer to Hollywood. Now she’s sharing stories about the movie stars she met during the Golden Age. “The first house I went to was Gene Kelly‘s,” Joan, 85, recalled in a recent TV interview. “Then I met Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, and James Dean.”

An experience she had with James proved eerily prescient. “I went in a car with him a month before he died. He went so fast. We went from Hollywood Boulevard to Beverly Hills and we got there in about six minutes,” she shared. “I said to some people afterward, ‘I think Jimmy is going to kill himself one day.'” When she heard the news of James’ death in a 1955 car crash, “I can still remember it — it was very upsetting because he was such a wonderful actor,” Joan said. “He had such a great future ahead of him.”

james-dean
Getty Images

Her memory of Marlon is sweeter. “He was an ice cream addict — he just loved food,” Joan remembered. “He came to my flat several times and the only thing I had in my flat was lots of cartons of ice cream in the freezer. He would go in there and finish them all off.” Guess it was an offer he couldn’t refuse!

Marlon-Brando
Getty Images

Years and years later, Joan sadly mourned the death of her beloved sister, Jackie Collins, who passed away in 2015 from breast cancer. “You never get over it,” she has said of losing a sibling, noting that her fearless mentality has made her appreciate life even more. “When you get to a certain age, there’s really nothing to be scared of anymore. [I always tell myself], ‘You’ve got to eat life or life will eat you.'”

For more on Joan Collins, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter!