In Saturday’s Mail, in the first extract from her riotously entertaining memoirs, Joan Collins lifted the lid on her showbiz pals, including an indecent proposal from Paula Yates. Today, she reveals all about a certain former U.S. President and talks candidly about her private life.
April 24, 1997
Drive down to Daylesford in Gloucestershire for the 21st birthday celebrations of [Anthony and Carole Bamford’s daughter] Alice Bamford.
Arrive at four and have tea in the most beautiful of drawing rooms. Each room at Daylesford is more gorgeous than the last and Carole [founder of Daylesford Organic] has done her usual exquisite job.
Donald Trump, that ungallant clown, has written something horrible about me in the New York Post. He said the story that he wanted to be one of Alexis’s lovers in Dynasty is a lie. I know it’s perfectly true because [producer] Gary Pudney told me
At dinner later I’m seated next to [jewellery designer] Theo Fennell and Richard E. Grant. David Linley comes by the table to speak to Theo. David never, ever says hello to me unless I say it first. I stare up at him as he ignores me, then finally say: ‘Hello, David, how are you? Hello, I’m fine.’ He looks startled.
‘Somebody gave me one of your boxes from Dunhill, in New York,’ I say, knowing that he’s going to be interested in that. I’m right and he perks up and we chat for a second.
Later, Theo gets very drunk and insults Michael Winner, which isn’t terribly difficult to do.
Stand in a queue behind David Linley, who ignores me again, as does [his wife] Serena. I’m not imagining it. John Bowes-Lyon, who is sitting next to me and is some distant cousin to David, totally agrees. ‘My dear, he is a terrible snob,’ says Bosie. ‘He often doesn’t speak to people and he’s also a crashing bore.’ That’s for sure.
Went to Harrods, head down, sunglasses on. ‘Joan, Joan, Joan,’ progressively louder, shrieked a voice. Reluctantly I turned to see Suzanna Leigh, star of 1960s films and erstwhile friend. I remember hearing she was having problems getting work.
She’s probably not even 50 yet. This business is so cruel to women. I remember when Suzanna was flavour of the month, dating everyone from Elvis Presley to George Best, and a very, very, pretty girl. Now she’s just not.
Watched the American Film Institute tribute to Martin Scorsese, which had a considerable lack of glamorous stars, with the exception of Sharon Stone who seemed, as usual, terribly pleased with herself.
Robin Hurlstone and Joan Collins at the Serpentine Gallery Kensington Gardens for the Serpentine Gallery 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Charity Auction
Troll off to a society hostess’s party at Claridge’s for her daughter’s birthday. It’s supposed to be one of the major parties of the year. All of a sudden a kerfuffle occurs. Rupert Loewenstein [the Rolling Stones’s financial manager] comes over bowing and scraping to bring Princess Margaret to our table.
She is obviously bored stiff with whomever she’s been. A lot of gratuitous getting up and ‘Hello, ma’am’, ‘How are you, ma’am?’. I curtsey and she actually bestows upon me a thin grin. [Irish businessman] Ned Ryan, always in attendance, says, ‘You know, Princess Margaret really likes you.’
‘Bull****,’ I say succinctly.
Princess Margaret looks regally around, cigarette in place, holding a large Scotch. She’s basically saying to everybody, ‘Come and worship at my shrine.’ But it’s 1997, folks, and nobody ain’t worshipping at any old royal shrine.
Robin [Hurlstone, my then partner] and I went shopping on the Left Bank at Saint Laurent, then to the Ritz where we had lunch on the terrace. Robin proceeded to tell me in detail a lot of facts about how I spoiled my children and how I don’t dress well. All in all it was an unfortunate lunch. I thought it most unnecessary of Robin to tell me this and I was very depressed by it.
Joan Collins meeting Princess Diana in London on March 1987
Went to Shakira and Michael Caine’s party at the Canteen. Robin was in a foul mood, which he often gets into. He did a non-stop complaining monologue about how much he hated parties, hated people, hated going out, hated my family, couldn’t stand this time of year in London, etc.
He kept on saying this had nothing to do with me, it was just him blowing off steam. Fine, but it was draining.
As soon as we got in the taxi [to go home], Robin snapped: ‘You’ve got to lighten up a bit, Joan.’ I was so thrown by this statement that we finished the trip in total silence. I don’t know what’s gotten into him. He’s becoming a pain.
Robin was in a bad mood again. Had a long, not very good talk with him on the phone.
He said he was ‘peopled out’ — he never has liked this time of year in London. However, I do, so after Ascot I went to Conrad Black and Barbara Amiel’s drinks party. Everybody was there, from Margaret Thatcher to Lord and Lady Dudley.
Had a depressing conversation with Robin. We’re going through a bad patch. I guess all couples go through this and I know it’s been exacerbated by [my daughter] Tara’s wedding and all of the attention taken away from him.
Went to Irena and [film executive] Mike Medavoy’s house for a surprise party for Irena’s best friend. There were a lot of forty-something women there. Trophy wives, supremely nipped, tucked and beautifully collagened, none of them looking older than 29.
The opening of [the play] Master Class. Faye Dunaway is good as Maria Callas, even though her ass looks like it’s been sliced off in a bacon-slicer. Caught myself nodding off a couple of times.
Sat next to [Robert] Altman at dinner and we talked movies. He is seventy-something and a real old movie aficionado. He said he can’t get a movie together unless he can attract the cast first, which is what he did with The Player and Prêt-à-Porter. I said I’d love to have been in Prêt-à-Porter.
‘You should have pushed for it,’ he said. ‘Everyone else did.’
‘I know, like Rupert Everett,’ I said.
‘Well, next time I do something, maybe we’ll play,’ he said benignly. ‘That would be great,’ I thought, knowing it will never happen.
Watched the worst film I’ve ever seen called Austin Powers with somebody called Mike Myers and the very pretty Elizabeth Hurley.
Joan Collins, 88, (pictured) dishes tales from her new memoir My Unapologetic Diaries as she documents dinners and events with her celebrity friends in London and Hollywood in the 90s
Went to a screening of Men In Black with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. It’s taken $80 million at the box office in two days and is the hit-hit-hit movie of the summer. I thought it was idiotic: giant cockroaches take over from men on planet Earth. There is much shooting and squidging of cockroaches, and all in all it was perfect for a nine-year-old boy’s night out.
Met Robin in the airport lounge but didn’t arrive at Destino [my house in the South of France] until 10pm. Robin, tired and rather grumpy, put his elbow out lifting my six — yes, I’m now down to six — suitcases and nagged me for an hour about why I needed to have so many. I don’t know why he doesn’t make a recording of this moan, as we go through it several times a year.
South of France
Drove to Wideville, Valentino’s spectacular castle near Versailles. To say it is imposing is putting it mildly. It is a 17th-century castle set in exquisite grounds and even Carole Bamford said that it’s extraordinary.
Va Va greeted us in impeccably pressed pale blue jeans and matching shirt and T-shirt. He’s put on a little weight but still looks iconic. We sat on the sunlit terrace where Giancarlo Giammetti, Tim Jefferies, Bruce and others were already gathered. Although it was drinks time, I seemed to be the only one who drank alcohol.
Valentino was pleased to see me and said, ‘My dear, when I saw you at Sally Khan’s I said, Joan is like my best and favourite girlfriend.’ Very flattering to hear this, but I don’t believe it. They were very complimentary about the fact that I had lost quite a bit of weight and Valentino said, ‘Your skin is fabulous.’ Nice to hear. It must be the new cream I’m using.
After a delicious lunch, during which we gossiped and gossiped, he said, ‘But my dear, you eat nothing!’ ‘That’s why I’ve lost weight,’ I told him.
We were given a tour of the house, which is beyond beautiful. Robin thinks it’s over-decorated but I love the print upon print and picture above picture. Valentino is unbelievably rich and has the best taste, and it shows in his houses.
He has five: Wideville, a villa outside Rome, a London house, a house in Capri, a New York apartment plus a magnificent boat. I believe Valentino is one of the very few people in the world who really knows how to live exquisitely.
Go to a party given by [rich Texan socialite] Lynn Wyatt. Liza Minnelli has put on a lot of weight around the face, probably due to either drink or some kind of substance. She didn’t appear to notice me as I was standing talking to Elton John, and when she did she grabbed me and put me on her knee and hugged me, crooning: ‘My baby, my baby, I’ve missed you.’ These overly excitable displays of emotion are rather cringe-making.
Go to a party given by [rich Texan socialite] Lynn Wyatt. Liza Minnelli has put on a lot of weight around the face, probably due to either drink or some kind of substance
Went to [Sunday Times restaurant critic] Adrian Gill and [his partner] Nicola Formby’s for dinner. He lives in the downstairs flat and she has the upstairs. I think it’s frightfully civilised.
Adrian is divine and totally eccentric. On his mantelpiece he has the stuffed heads of about 20 monkeys. They look extraordinarily human and feel like billiard balls. He has a huge portrait of Stalin over his bed and cushions of Mao Tse-tung.
Richard E. Grant and [his wife, dialect coach] Joan Washington are also there, and as we were having cocktails a young man arrived whom I didn’t recognise. I heard Robin say deferentially, ‘Hello, sir, how are you?’ and when he came in, I realised it was Prince Andrew. He was with a very good-looking, terribly nice girl called Henriette Peace who, according to the tabloids, is his latest girlfriend.
Great dinner, which Nicola cooked all by herself, and no staff so we could be really relaxed. Richard was being utterly outrageous, asking Prince Andrew all kinds of really funny questions like: ‘Is it true that your father — er, sorry, the Duke of Edinburgh — bonked that hideous Anna Massey?’ Andrew took it all with very good humour.
Richard then said: ‘Have you and Henriette done it yet?’ Andrew replied, ‘It’s a little difficult to give in to one’s ardour when the paparazzi are on you all the time.’
Andrew seems to have become a much cooler person since he and Sarah [Fergie] came to dinner with us seven years ago. We played a game called ‘What have you never done?’ and Andrew said he has never been to a supermarket and hasn’t been on a bus since he was six. Started dinner at 9.15 and we left the table at 2.15! One of the best dinner parties I’ve ever been to.
South of France
Donald Trump, that ungallant clown, has written something horrible about me in the New York Post. He said the story that he wanted to be one of Alexis’s lovers in Dynasty is a lie. I know it’s perfectly true because [producer] Gary Pudney told me. But Trump said, ‘The last thing I would want to do in real life or television is to be your lover.’ What a gentleman!
Went to Voile Rouge beach to meet the Delevingnes for Cara’s birthday. Where has the time gone? Poppy and Chloë, Ned Ryan and Mogens Tholstrup and his girlfriend Victoria Hervey all at the table. A hilarious lunch when Paul, the crazy owner, started bringing out huge jeroboams of Dom Perignon and squirting the whole terrace with it.
The fat prince at another table joined in with alacrity and the girls thought it was fantastic fun. I guess this is what everybody thinks St Tropez is like. Mad fashion shows, everybody getting drunk, incredibly loud disco music and people jumping and jiving and getting drenched with champagne. Well, it’s true! Then they brought out the water hoses and it got so wild I had to leave.
Lunch at Elton John’s new mansion, the Pink Palace. High up in the hills above Nice, it is quite a marvellous spread, very modern. He’s decorated it beautifully. We get the grand tour. Elton shows us his closets, which have about 9,000 Versace shirts, robes and scarves.
Paul O’Grady, also known as Lily Savage, and I have a bit of a shriek around the swimming pool. I do my lengths wearing a white towelling turban and everyone calls me Norma Desmond, but since nearly drowning in a pool when I was four, I’ve hated going under water.
Meet Kristina and Roger Moore at Tetou, the restaurant outside Antibes. It’s great to see Roger, who is in very good form and getting ready to do a film in South Africa. He and Kiki are madly in love and I guess they will marry as soon as their divorces are final.
Left at 10 for the airport. Robin not complaining about my suitcases — only five for my next trip [on Anthony Bamford’s yacht]. In Sardinia, we were met by the Bamfords’ major-domo, and one small taxi. Naturally, the bags would not fit in, so major drama and we had to get another one. The boat is extraordinarily grand and my stateroom is wonderful.
A ghastly sneaked picture of Robin and me appeared in the Enquirer last week, me in a bikini looking fat. But being on this boat is sybaritic luxury.
[Composer] Leslie Bricusse filled me in on all the behind-the-scenes dramas on Victor/Victoria and the Raquel Welch debacle. Apparently [producer/director] Blake Edwards was completely vile to Raquel, saying: ‘You can’t act, you can’t sing, you can’t dance and you’re no Julie Andrews.’ The poor woman burst into tears and stalked off, as did Blake.
South of France
Went on Coco Plage and saw the nude beach — not a pretty sight. Mostly between 30 and 60, the men revealed raddled bums and front bits in a sorry state.
Extracted from My Unapologetic Diaries by Joan Collins, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson on October 14 at £20. © Joan Collins 2021.
To order a copy for £17 (offer valid until October 17, 2021; UK P&P free on orders over £20), visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193.
Dame Joan Collins is on tour in London, Bath and Salford from October 11 to 17. For tickets and further information, go to fane.co.uk/joan-collins.