Born Jacqueline Jill Collins 4 October 1937
Died 19 September 2015 (aged 77)
Beverly Hills, California, United States
Wallace Austin (m. 1960; div. 1964)
Oscar Lerman (m. 1966; wid. 1992)
Frank Calcangnini (engaged 1994–1998, his death)
Relatives Joan Collins (sister)
Jacqueline Jill “Jackie” Collins OBE was an English-American novelist. She wrote 32 novels, all of which have appeared on The New York Times bestsellers list. In total, her books have sold over 500 million copies and have been translated into 40 languages. Eight of her novels have been adapted for the screen, either as films or television mini-series. She was the younger sister of actress Joan Collins.
Collins was born in Hampstead, London, in 1937, the younger daughter of Elsa Bessant and Joseph William Collins (died 1988), a theatrical agent whose clients included Shirley Bassey, the Beatles and Tom Jones. Collins’ South African-born father was Jewish and her British mother was Anglican. A middle child, Collins had an elder sister, actress Joan Collins (born 1933) and a younger brother, Bill (born 1946).
Collins attended Francis Holland School, an independent day school for girls in London. She was expelled from the school at age 15;after which she threw her school uniform into the Thames.During this period she reportedly had a brief affair with Marlon Brando, who was 29 at the time.
For a brief period Jackie also was a stage singer and appeared alongside a very young Des O’Connor when they both featured in the billing for Lonnie Donegan on his UK tour about 1958.
Like her sister, Collins began appearing in acting roles in a series of British B movies in the 1950s. She also made appearances in the 1960s ITC television series Danger Man and The Saint before giving up an acting career. Since then, she played herself in a few television series, including Minder in 1980.
Collins held dual citizenship: British (by birth) and U.S. (by naturalization, from 6 May 1960).
Collins married her first husband, Wallace Austin, in 1960 and divorced in 1964. They had one child, Tracy, born in 1961.
In 1965, Collins married for the second time to art gallery and nightclub (Ad-Lib, Tramp) owner, Oscar Lerman. The wedding took place in the home of her sister Joan and Anthony Newley, who were married at the time. Collins and Lerman had two daughters, Tiffany (born 1967) and Rory (born 1969). Lerman also formally adopted Collins’ daughter, Tracy, from her previous marriage. Lerman died in 1992 from prostate cancer.
In 1994, Collins became engaged to Los Angeles business executive Frank Calcagnini, who died in 1998 from a brain tumour.
In the Sunday Times Rich List 2011, Collins was listed as the UK’s fifth richest author with an estimated personal fortune of £60 million ($96 million).Collins was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to fiction and charity.
Collins died on 19 September 2015 of breast cancer. She had kept her illness a secret from everyone except her closest family members.