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Author Profiles Contributed by Chris Bacon, Mason County District Library


Jackie Collins was born in Hampstead, London in 1937. Her father was a famous theatrical agent whose clients included Shirley Bassey, The Beatles and Tom Jones. Jackie’s older sister is the actress Joan Collins and she also has a younger brother, Bill. Jackie attended the all girls’ school Francis Holland School in London, but she was expelled from the school at age 15 for truancy, smoking, and selling copies of her own book of dirty limericks. For a short time Jackie was a stage singer before following her sister to acting roles in a series of British B movies in the 1950s. She gave up her acting career after appearing in the 1960’s ITC television series “Danger Man” and “The Saint."


Collins married her first husband, Wallace Austin, in 1960, but they were soon divorced 1964 after having one daughter, Tracy, in 1961. In 1965, Collins married Oscar Lerman, an art gallery and night club owner.   Collins and Oscar had two daughters, Tiffany born 1967 and Rory born two years later. In the early 1980’s Jackie and her family moved to LA where Oscar died in 1992 from prostate cancer. In 1994, Collins became engaged to Los Angeles business executive Frank Calcagnini. Unfortunately, Frank died in 1998 from a brain tumor before the two were married. Jackie is still currently living in LA.


Jackie Collins is one of the world’s top-selling novelists. There have been over 500 million copies of her books sold worldwide with thirty of her novels making the New York Times Bestsellers list. She began her prolific writing career when she was a teenager. She would write steamy stories and sell them to her classmates. Collins' first novel, “The World is Full of Married Men” was published in 1968. It was banned in Australia and South Africa for its sexual content. This banning actually increased sales in the US and the UK. In 1978, Jackie tried her hand at screenwriting with the screenplay for the 1978 film version of her 1969 novel “The Stud” starring her sister Joan. Jackie has written several other screenplays for television miniseries based on her books and she even briefly had a TV talk show “Jackie Collins’ Hollywood” in 1998.


Besides writing standalone romance novels Jackie has two very popular series, “Hollywood” and the “Santangelo” series. Her latest novel published in 2013 is actually a prequel to the Santangelo series as it chronicles the teenage years of the main character in the series Lucky and her brother Dario. Jackie’s latest book released in 2014 is actually a cookbook called, “The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook” based on the food creations of the character Lucky.


Jackie’s romance novels have been described as scandalous to say the least. Her graphic descriptions and philandering characters have been chastised by many a critic. But, those steamy sex scenes and outrageous behavior is what people love about her stories. Although there aren’t any authors that can match Jackie’s talent for writing intimate relationships between adults there are some who do have similar styles without the raunchiness found in some of Jackie’s books.   So if you can’t wait for Jackie’s next steamy novel you might want to give these authors a try: Judith Krantz, Joan Collins, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Judith Michael, and Elizabeth Lowell.


So if you are looking for characters who aren’t afraid to take their clothes off for a night of passion and plots that twist and turn as characters stab each other in the back looking for love and money you might just want to give Jackie a try. She’ll leave you breathless and maybe even a little embarrassed.