Behind the Shoulder Pads: Tales I Tell My Friends

Permuted. Nov. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9798888451625. $30. MEMOIR
Dame Collins’s latest book delivers stories she has never told before. Beginning with her youth in London during World War II with her younger sister, Jackie, there was training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and early acting success at 17, when she was discovered by Hollywood. There she experienced misogyny and learned that the so-called casting couch is real—and Collins names names. With a career spanning 70 years, she has many anecdotes about actors, the jet set, and the British royals. She takes readers with her as she hobnobs with the glitterati in St. Tropez and attends the Met Gala and several Oscar ceremonies. The book also discusses her movies and TV roles, especially on Dynasty as Alexis Colby, known as much for her shoulder pads as her ruthlessness. Collins is candid about her personal life—an abortion, financial setbacks, and nasty divorces—but today she is happily married and is grateful for what she calls her “happy gene,” her ability to see the bright side of life.
VERDICT A well-written, fun, name-dropping tell-all about the rich and famous as only a 90-year-old who has seen it all can offer.
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