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C Entries
Edward L. Cahn
James Cameron
Lewis John Carlino
Richard Carlson
John Carradine
Helena Bonham Carter
Leo G. Carroll
Maurice Cass
Lon Chaney
Lon Chaney, Jr.
John Cho
Arthur C. Clarke
Phyllis Coates
Joan Collins
Sir Sean Connery
Roger Corman
Buster Crabbe
Richard Crane
Tom Cruise
Peter Cushing
 
COLLINS, JOAN
(1933– ). British actress.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: Esther and the King (Mario Bava and Raoul Walsh 1960); The Road to Hong Kong (Norman Panama 1962); "The Galatea Affair" (1966), episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; "The City on the Edge of Forever" (1967), episode of Star Trek; "Ring Around the Riddler," "The Wail of the Siren" (1967), episodes of Batman; "Nicole" (1969), episode of Mission Impossible; Quest for Love (Ralph Thomas 1971); Terror from under the House [aka Inn of the Frightened People, After Jenny Died, Behind the Cellar Door, Revenge] (Sidney Hayers 1971); "Five Miles to Midnight" (1971), episode of The Persuaders; Tales from the Crypt (Freddie FRANCIS 1972); Tales That Witness Madness (Francis 1972); Dark Places (Don Sharp 1972); Fear in the Night [aka Dynasty of Fear, Honeymoon of Fear] (Jimmy SANGSTER 1973); "Mission of the Darians" (1976), episode of Space: 1999; The Devil within Her [aka I Don't Want to Be Born, The Baby, It's Growing inside Her, The Monster] (Peter Sasdy 1976); "The Kansas City Kid" (1977), episode of Future Cop; "Turnabout" (1977), episode of The Fantastic Journey; Empire of the Ants (Bert I. GORDON 1977); "Neck" (1979), episode of Tales of the Unexpected; "My Fair Pharaoh" (1980), episode of Fantasy Island; "Hansel and Gretel," episode of Faerie Tale Theatre (1982); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (video) (David Mallet and Steven Pimlott 2000); The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (Brian Levant 2000).
 
The secret of Joan Collins's appeal is not difficult to discern. On the one hand, she has the crisp British accent and impeccable manners that define her as a member of the upper class; on the other hand, she has that look in her eye telling you that, far from being prim and proper, she's more than ready for a discreet roll in the hay—as long as you are willing to pay her price. She could serve a Victorian gentleman, then, as wife and mistress rolled into one. While a woman of such overtly worldly desires would hardly seem suited for the esoteric and intellectual pleasures of science fiction, Joan Collins has also been a very hard worker, and hard-working actresses going through lulls in their careers tend to find themselves in science fiction films.

In the beginning, after starring in Esther and the King, she was pencilled in to star in a remake of Cleopatra, and probably would have been fine in the part; but delusions of grandeur and a larger budget brought Elizabeth Taylor in as her replacement, with well-documented and disastrous results. She then served as an incongruous substitute for Dorothy Lamour as love interest for the aging Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in their final, and science-fictional, "Road" picture, until public displeasure belatedly brought Lamour herself into the picture to shove her out of the limelight. Traveling to America in search of work, this aristocratic actress then was bizarrely cast in a Star Trek episode as a Jane Addams-like social worker in 1930s America, feeding the poor and housing the homeless while rhapsodizing about a future of space travel and carrying on a chaste romance with a disguised James T. Kirk (William SHATNER); yet she was very affecting in the part, reminding us that, for all the glitz and glamour of her celluloid career, Collins has in real life tirelessly devoted herself to charitable causes, even earning the Order of the British Empire for her efforts in that area. At the same time that she excelled in Star Trek, however, she brought absolutely no panache to her portrayal of a villainess on Batman and did little to impress viewers in her other television roles.

So, Collins returned to England to briefly reign as the queen of Hammer horror in a series of second-rate films. She hit rock bottom in the mid–1970s, posing nude for a men's magazine, taking roles in soft-porn films, and most humiliatingly of all, starring in Bert I. Gordon's Empire of the Ants—a sophisticated lady completely out of her element, stranded in a swamp wearing high heels and screaming at some of the most pathetic giant insects to ever grace a science fiction film. Yet that film represented a turning point in Collins's career, as it was arguably her first major outing as a beautiful middle-aged bitch-queen, the role that would finally make her a star in the television soap opera Dynasty. In fact, recalling that Irwin ALLEN took advantage of David HEDISON's role in his abysmal remake of The Lost World to re-edit the film as an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, one wishes that producer Aaron Spelling had made something worthwhile out of Empire of the Ants by purchasing and re-editing the film as an episode of Dynasty, with scheming Alexis recruited to help ex-husband Blake Carrington deal with the latest threat to his far-flung empire, an invasion of giant ants.

Her fortune made after Dynasty, Collins performed on screen less often and launched her controversial writing career, successfully portraying a genuine author in a courtroom case involving a publishing company that questioned her talents. Coming full circle, she most recently replaced Elizabeth Taylor—as Fred Flintstone's mother-in-law in the sequel to The Flintstones—and if William Shatner really wishes to play Captain Kirk one more time, he might consider pitching a sequel to "The City on the Edge of Forever," reuniting an elderly Kirk with long-lost love Edith Keeler. With the still-attractive Collins as his formidable ally, the film might actually be produced; she isn't a woman I would ever bet against.

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