Joan Collins has had a career as glamour magazine pin-up and cover star for 50 years! The images here show her pulling power for magazine editors - appealing to men and women - over more than 40 years, from 1951 to 1996; from Tit-Bits to Woman, from Playboy to OK!
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 told 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 naked.’ 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, were 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 of Playboy. The final 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 OK!.
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. IMDB.com 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. Back to top
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) Back to top