After seven decades in the entertainment industry, Joan Collins has proven that there is nothing she can’t do. The English actress has starred in more than 100 film and television productions alongside acting greats like Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Elizabeth Taylor. Her path to stardom started when she was just a teen.
Born in 1933 to talent agent Joseph Collins and dance instructor Elsa Collins, Joan grew up surrounded by stars looking for their big break. It was her grandmother who inspired her to chase her dreams and pave a path for herself in Hollywood.
“I blame my grandmother for encouraging me to become an actress,” the Quest for Love star told The Guardian in October 2013. “She taught me to sing, tap dance and even do the splits — which I can still do.”
While Joan had her sights set on show business, growing up in England during World War II caused her family to move around often.
”I was very young when the war broke out, so it’s hard for me to remember how it started,” the Will & Grace alum recalled during a May 2020 interview with Hello! Magazine. “My father had to stay in London because he was putting on shows to entertain people who were staying behind. But I was evacuated constantly. My sister, Jackie, and I were taken by my father to a variety of places – Chichester, Bognor, Brighton and Norfolk. We were all over the place.”
After the war ended in 1945, Joan attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She signed her first film contract in 1950 at the age of 17. Soon after, she cemented her status as one of the starlets of the decade and beyond with roles in films like Land of the Pharaohs, Seven Thieves and Our Girl Friday.
Through all of her career highs and lows, the Emmy nominee has taken away some important life lessons that she has passed down to her friends and family members in the industry.
“One of the things you have to do, once you’ve climbed that ladder and gotten to where you think you want to be, is realize that the only way up is down,” she said during a November 2021 episode of her Life Lessons video series. “You have to take the rough with the smooth.”
Keep scrolling to find out more about what happened to Joan.
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