Joan Collins, 2005, ITV

Actress Joan Collins has spoken to ITV’s The Jonathan Ross Show about getting the role in stateside primetime soap Dynasty and about her late sister, Jackie Collins, in her first sit down interview since the author’s death in September.

Speaking about her sister’s death from cancer, Joan said:

“She kept it from most of her family, she kept it from our brother who lives in England and she only told her three daughters. She didn’t want anybody to know, she didn’t want pity. She wanted to carry on just as she always had, so since she found out that she had got it she wrote five books, five books in seven years! She went to Australia twice, she went to New York three times, she came over to London for my investiture in March, she came over to London again nine days before she died, she did Loose Women, she was phenomenal, a phenomenal woman. Really amazing amazing amazing!”

There was huge applause from the audience. Joan continued:

“She told me when she called us about three weeks before [she died]. She told me that she had [cancer] but that she was fighting it and she had been taking treatment and we planned going to Hawaii for Christmas with all of our various children and grandchildren and so it was quite a blow, quite a blow. I’m still suffering. It’s difficult for me to talk about really.”

When Jonathan asked if Joan wishes her sister had told her about her ongoing illness sooner, Joan replied:

“I don’t know Jonathan, it’s a process. I’m still thinking about the whole thing, I find it very hard to actually realise it. The fact that she lived in LA and I was in Europe most of the time means that when I do think about it, I think ‘she’s in LA, I’ll see her soon.’ I still haven’t processed it totally and I think that grief, great grief is something that takes a while to process and you never get over it, you just learn to live with it.”

Looking ahead to plans to celebrate Jackie’s life in LA, Joan said:

“It’s a celebration, that’s what she wanted. She planned to have 100 of her friends come to her house and celebrate and have a big party. She loved giving parties, she gave great parties, she was a great hostess, people loved her. I’ve never seen such an outpouring of love and attention when she passed away which was only five weeks ago, six weeks ago. The headlines, she got the cover of People magazine in New York… I’ve never heard of anybody getting that, an author.”

Speaking about their relationship over the years, she said:

“No we weren’t estranged we just weren’t as close as we used to be. I was going out with somebody who she loathed and he didn’t like her very much and so we sort of didn’t spend a lot of time together but this happens.”

Speaking about being made a Dame earlier this year, Joan said of Prince Charles, who presented her with her damehood:

“He was very nice to me… he said ‘about time too’ which I thought was rather fabulous… I never expected in a million years Jonathan that I would become a Dame, never, I swear to you, I never did. No because I don’t feel like I look like a Dame!… I didn’t expect it, it was quite a shock.”

Joan also talked about her career and famous role as Alexis Colby in Dynasty:

“You know that I was like third choice or fourth choice for this role, they wanted Elizabeth Taylor, they wanted Sophia Loren and they wanted another actress that I can’t remember who her name is… Aaron Spelling, he really wanted me, he really pushed for me and the ABC people and the rest of the suits didn’t want me but Aaron got me. …When my agent called me and said they want you for Dynasty I said, ‘what’s that? Is it a chinese restaurant? What is it? It was unheard of in England!”

The Jonathan Ross Show, ITV, UTV and STV, Saturday 7th November.

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