PAST IMPERFECT: An Autobiography by Joan Collins
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PAST IMPERFECT: An Autobiography

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Now that she's a household-name in the US via Dynasty, 50-ish sexpot Collins offers an updated version of her 1978 memoir (UK only). Half-Jewish daughter of a top London show-biz agent, Collins attributes her lifelong man problems to a Daddy complex: he became less loving when she was about ten; thereafter she sought hard-to-get men--""those who couldn't, wouldn't, or didn't know how to commit."" Though virginal, ""spotty,"" and serious about acting studies, Joan became a 1950s teenage starlet, Britain's ""Bad Girl""--and she married the narcissistic actor, sick-o Max Reed, who deflowered her, abused her, tried to turn her into a whore (for a pricey one-nighter with an Arab sheik), and later blackmailed her. Then came Hollywood (Land of the Pharaohs, The Wayward Bus), living in sin with Charlle Chaplin's son Sydney--wild, funny, but oddly unpassionate. (""The only thing he didn't throw himself into too often was me."") Next: a friendly affair with playboy Arthur Loew--while deflecting passes from gross D. F. Zanuck and randy Richard Burton, passing up (because of press racism) Harry Belafonte. Even worse, while filming ""turkey after turkey,"" there was a strenuous Back Street passion for Cloris Leachman's husband George--an incorrigible philanderer--followed by young, funny, sexually insatiable Warren Beatty, who proposed marriage but also insisted on an abortion. So, ""still neurotic enough to be truly interested only in complex, difficult men,"" Joan wound up marrying self-involved workaholic Anthony Newley: the ensuing ""camp follower"" years brought two kids, Tony's limited, chauvinistic loving, infidelities on both sides (Ryan O'Neal for Joan). . . and, after more psychotherapy, divorce. But, despite heightened awareness (and heavy reliance on astrology), Joan chose another loser for hubby #3: a record-executive with a declining career and increasing drug habits. And so has-been Joan needed to become a breadwinner--which she did with sex-ploitation films (The Stud, The Bitch) and, later, Dynasty. Despite some sincere moments re motherhood: a largely unappealing confession, neither zesty (like Shelley W.) nor convincingly self-aware--but sure of a big audience courtesy of TV, People magazine, etc.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1984
Publisher: Simon & Schuster