Radio 2 gave us a beguiling glimpse into the high life of Joan Collins
Cheer yourself up even more with, as recommended below right, Joan Collins: a Life in Lipstick on Radio 2. Last week’s episode was a belter, racing between her childhood (first stage appearance, aged nine, as a boy in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House) through her days as a Rank studios starlet to her contract being sold (“like a pound of Brussels sprouts,” she said) to 20th Century Fox and Hollywood where “they made a star of one”.
She was just 20 and watched “mouth open in awe” at everything, Ava Gardner storming out on a beau, Joan noting for future use the drama Ava put into donning her mink stole. She learned from Bette Davis to be kind (as Bette wasn’t) to young actresses. She discovered, on The Road to Hong Kong, why the film crew hated Bing Crosby but loved Bob Hope.
She lived with Robert Beatty and dated Robert Wagner until the night he introduced her to Anthony Newley and, said Wagner, “that was that”. She married Newley, had two daughters and, at 28, found herself “washed up”. Not our Joan, as you’ll discover tonight. These two shows move like lightning, tunes and quotes and scraps of dialogue popping up like non-stop slices of delicious toast. Economics, it ain’t. Life, it is.