The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Latin lady mystery in Tinseltown tittle-tattle

Los Angeles, April 23 (Reuters): “Most men are dogs,” she sniffs. “There are some nice dogs and some really nasty dogs. But you get the good ones — the faithful that hang around and treat you well and you treat them well — and that’s it.”

She should know: She’s Jackie Collins, empress of raunch and best-selling author who can lay claim to having 400 million copies of her books sold in more than 40 countries.

The younger sister of actor Joan Collins, this 62-year-old, once-divorced, once-widowed mother of three has ruled the best seller roost since 1968, when she first titillated with The World Is Full of Married Men.

Also possessed of the Collins beauty gene, the author, looking regal with a lustrous mane of dark hair and perfectly made-up face, is covered in wrist, neck and ear jewellery, as she held court at her Beverly Hills mansion, touting her 23rd tome Hollywood Divorces, published in December. Another tale of thinly disguised portraits of Tinseltown players, it’s crammed with the usual best-selling mix of sex, power and glitz.

“I have a very interesting life and enjoy it tremendously,” said London-born Collins in her library, filled with leather-bound manuscripts bearing titles of previous smashes — Rock Star, Lucky and Hollywood Wives.


Crisp English accent in full bloom, she added “I don’t mind promoting my books, since it’s only two or three weeks a year. But I love rewriting. I’m always tinkering — like it’s a tapestry.”

A tapestry only Collins could weave: The ultimate Hollywood insider, the writer not only knows where the bodies are buried, she’s probably been privy to their embalmings.

Her latest work, which quickly scaled best-seller lists, offers three female protagonists, including 24-year-old superstar Lola Sanchez, who “climbed to the top the hard way”. The novel opens at the Cannes Film Festival, requisite glitterati in attendance. If Sanchez smacks of a younger J.Lo, readers don’t mind. In fact, they lap it up.

Explained Collins: “I love writing bad girls and I really wanted to write Lola, since there are a number of Latina superstars now — Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez. But I can’t reveal names, or I’d be ruined forever.”

Collins is also hooked on scandal, which is to her what shoes were to Imelda Marcos. When asked about Paris Hilton, Michael Jackson and gay marriages, she offers more than a few bon mots. “Paris is a nice girl, but if you’re going to tape yourself having sex, you have to keep the tapes,” she said. “I know Michael. He’s innocent until proven guilty...I could believe in gay marriages, but it’s very complicated.”

She says she prefers being single. “I live my life like a cool bachelor. I have a man for all occasions.” Hmm. Not bad for a lady who thinks all men are dogs.

But, even with her fabulous success, she says it would be nice to snag the medal for distinguished contribution to American letters, as Stephen King did last year. “I doubt it will happen,” she said. “The New York Times Book Review caters to literary writers. Dickens wasn’t considered literary, and my biggest critics have never read me.”

But Collins will probably have the last laugh with her final literary coup. She wants her epitaph to read: “She gave a lot of people a lot of pleasure.”

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