The glamour of Joan Collins

Joan Collins on cover of Film Review in 1960
   Joan Collins was born in 1933 and has had a career as a glamour magazine pin-up and cover star for 70 years! The images here show her pulling power for magazine editors – appealing to both men and women – from 1951 to 2015; from Tit-Bits to Woman, from Playboy to OK! And there are more examples of Joan Collins in print media on the Magform blog.

Joan Collins was all over the media in 2007 with the publication of Joan Collins: The Biography of an Icon by Graham Lord. The Daily Mail of 20 August started a serialisation of the book, beginning with her wild days in Hollywood (as can be seen from the Picture Post below, she went there in 1954 at the age of 21). The book serialisation reminds us that Fleet Street christened her ‘Britain’s Bad Girl’ and ‘The Coffee Bar Jezebel’. She starred in 1953's Cosh Boy, 'the year's most controversial film', according to the 13 March front page of Answers. The Lewis Gilbert film was the first to be given the new X certificate.

There is a tale about Joan Collins when she stayed at Champney's health farm in the 1980s. It had a sauna used by the men in the morning and the women in the afternoon. The men refused to leave one day and a queue of women developed. La Collins appeared, strode to the front and laid down an ultimatum: ‘You lot had better leave or I’ll drop my towel and come in there.’ The men all meekly trapsed out.

Tit-Bits put Joan Collins on its front cover in 1951, with a double-page spread inside of her aged 18 demonstrating 'jerks'. The second image is from Picture Post in 1954 when a stropped-off Collins is going to Hollywood. The next is from the popular chair photo shoot on the cover of ABC's Film Review in March 1960, where the picture is credited to 20th Century Fox. The three pictures that follow are from pocket monthly pin-up magazines Span and 66 in the 1950s and early 1960s when she was at the height of her pin-up powers. Then, there's a Woman front page from 1979 – in the days when the IPC magazine could shout about being the 'World's greatest weekly for women'. As for Collins, the TV soap Dynasty was about to propel her on to the front cover of Playboy magazine. The

Punch asked whether Joan Collins and Jackie Collins were 'the new Brontë sisters' in 1988.

OK! image is from two decades later when Richard Barber – a former editor of Woman's Own, Radio Times and Clothes Show – chose her to front the relaunched celebrity monthly as a weekly.

The final three images show Collins on the front of newspapers supplements from the Guardian, Times and Daily Mail.

Tit-Bits 1951 Joan Collins
Joan Collins on the front cover of weekly Tit-Bits (10 November 1951). And yes, she really was heading up a feature called 'Jerks while you work'! The centre-spread reveals all: 'Eighteen-year-old Joan Collins, our Cover Girl this week and who specially posed for these pictures is now playing an important part in "One Sinner", now filming at Ealing Studios. She is a young star of the future, sparkling with vivacity and good health – and with beautiful posture.' The article was about exercise for housewives by Alison Barnes. lists no film of that title. However, Collins was in the Ealing feature 'I Believe in You' in 1952, the year she made her first three credited films.

Joan Collins on Picture Post front cover
Joan Collins on the front cover of weekly Picture Post (11 September 1954). The spread inside quotes a forthright Collins: ‘They’re always carrying on about there being no women of star material in England. They don’t bother to build us up. They concentrate on building the men.’ The photos were by David Seymour (possibly 'Chim', who was one of the founders of the Magnum agency and was killed in 1956 at Suez)

66 pin-up magazine
Span magazine Joan Collins Joan Collins on the cover of pin-up title 66 (1957). It's from a shoot that dates back to at least 1954, as the page to the left from what looks like the same photo session testifies (Span, Sep 1954). The black and white photo has been touched-up with warm red as a spot colour for the later 66 cover

Joan Collins Blighty 1960
Joan Collins centre spread from Parade and Blighty magazine (February 1960). The photographs were supplied by 20th Century Fox to promote the film Seven Thieves, in which Collins played a stripper. Edward G. Robinson and Rod Steiger also starred. The photos were used by magazines in the UK and overseas for several years. In 2020, Helena Bonham Carter appeared to parody the Joan Collins photographs in a Sunday Times Magazine shoot

Film Review magazineFilm Review, which was sold in ABC cinemas, also led on the Collins photo shoot

Joan Collins on Span front cover
Two year later, the Collins shots were on the cover of pocket pin-up monthly Span (no 102, 1962)

Joan Collins Woman magazine cover 1979
Joan Collins on cover of Woman (7 July 1979). In the 1970s, she starred in the film versions of her sister Jackie's novels The Stud and The Bitch – hence the 'Why Joan Collins enjoys playing the bitch' cover line. She really lived up to the description from 1981, when she took on the role of the vengeful Alexis in the US TV soap opera Dynasty

Playboy Joan Collins Playboy magazine cover girl  december 1983
Joan Collins Playboy cover (December 1983)

Joan Collins and Jackie Collins on Punch cover
Punch portrays Joan Collins and Jackie Collins as the new Brontë sisters (20 October 1988)

Joan Collins on OK! front cover
Joan Collins on front cover of first weekly OK! (20 March 1996)

Joan Collins interview with Penny Vincenzi
‘Just call me John Collins’ was the headline on this Penny Vincenzi interview with the leather-jacketed star for the first issue of Me (19 June 1989). The cover line was: ‘Joan Collins: Why I want to be a man’

Joan Collins in Guardian Family supplement
Joan Collins on the masthead of the Guardian's Family supplement (26 October 2013)

Joan Collins You magazine cover
Joan Collins on the cover of the Daily Mail's You supplement (2 March 2014).

Joan Collins Times magazine cover
Joan Collins, aged 82, with an artfully placed pair of Christian Louboutin's red-soled high heels on the cover of the Times Magazine supplement (7 November 2015)