Archive for the ‘Joan Collins’ Category

Joan Collins – the world’s top sex symbol

October 26, 2015
Joan Collins was the world's greatest sex symbol according to Woman magazine in 1987

Joan Collins was the world’s greatest sex symbol according to Woman magazine in 1984

For the weekly magazine Woman in 1984, cover star Joan Collins was the world’s biggest sex symbol and ‘The greatest glamour queen of them all’.

Collins – or Dame Joan as she now is – had been a cover model, film actress and pin-up since the 1950s but her career was brought back to the boil when she landed the role of Alexis Carrington in a struggling US soap opera, Dynasty. She took the series by the scruff of its neck and made it into the biggest soap, overtaking Dallas and played the role for eight years.

Collins was nominated six times for a Golden Globe, winning the US TV acting award in 1983. In December that year, at the age of 50, Collins appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine, photographed by Hollywood glamour portraitist George Hurrell.

Thirty years earlier, she had starred in Cosh Boy, ‘the year’s most controversial film’, according to the 13 March front page of Answers – and the first to be given the new X certificate.

It’s difficult to see her popularity and longevity being surpassed, even by the likes of Madonna and Kate Moss.

>>>The glamour of Joan Collins

Advertisements

Beautiful Britons magazine – 1950s glamour still sells

September 26, 2015

Beautiful Britons glamour magazine first issue cover from November 1955

The mid-1950s saw an explosion of men’s magazines after paper rationing was lifted. Many of them used a pocket format and one of the most popular was the monthly glamour magazine  Beautiful Britons.  Two copies of the first issue have sold on eBay recently, one for £29.99 and the other for a hefty £51.

Note the magazine’s motto: ‘The magazine of [EYE] appeal.’

Centre spread from the 1955 first issue of Beautiful Britons

Centre spread from the 1955 first issue of Beautiful Britons magazine

Although the colour was cover, all the pin-ups inside were printed mono. The picture above is from the centre spread. The bikini was a relatively new invention – at least in modern times – dating from 1946 when a French engineer came out with the world’s smallest swimsuit, named after the nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll.

The magazine’s publisher – Town & Country, known as ‘Toco’ – already published Spick and Span, both pin-up glamour magazines launched in 1954, in the same format. Many of the pin-up photographs were of unknown models but actresses such as Shirley Ann Field and Joan Collins were a staple for such magazines. All three titles survived into the 1970s.

Initially, the models were not topless, but the market was changed by the advent of Kamera, published by photographer Harrison Marks and his wife, the model Pamela Green. Kamera included topless models. Marks and Green, who also modelled under the name Rita Landre, were involved in the making of Michael Powell’s  controversial 1960 film  Peeping Tom. The horror thriller centred on a photographer who murdered women with a device built into his camera.

>>List of men’s magazines with profiles


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

 

 


 

Joan Collins a dame after 50 years on magazine covers

December 31, 2014
Debut magazine cover: Joan Collins on the front of Tit-Bits in 1951 – she was 18 at the time

Debut magazine cover: Joan Collins on the front of Tit-Bits in 1951 – she was 18 at the time

It must have been the publicity for Joan Collins on Magforum that did it – at 81 she joins the ranks of the nation’s dames (and we’re not talking pantomimes here) in the New Year’s Honours list. Though they say it was for services to charity, we all know it was for services to magazine covers over 53 years (which is as long as she’s been an actress, and a lot longer than she’s been writing books or doing charitable works). According to IMDB, her first role was in Facts and Fancies, a 17-minute short about ‘by-products resulting from the carbonisation of coal’ in 1951.

Joan Collins, Madonna and Kate Moss on magazine covers

December 22, 2014
Joan Collins talks about married life as a slave in the Daily Mail's Weekend supplement - 30 August 2014

Joan Collins talks about married life as a slave in the Daily Mail’s Weekend supplement this year

When it comes to longevity as a magazine cover star, the prize has to go to the actress Joan Collins. I’ve identified her as far back as 1951 at the age of 18 on the cover of Tit-Bits and there can’t have been a year since when she hasn’t graced a magazine, from Picture Post, to Span, to Film Review, Woman, Playboy and OK! That’s 63 years a cover star.

But although she may not be showing her age – the Weekend supplement cover here is from August this year – Collins is getting on (she’s 81!), so who can rival her in future? Two names spring out –  Madonna and Kate Moss (far too early to consider Lady Gaga). So what are their chances of rivalling Joan Collins?

Madonna on the cover of Smash Hits back in February 1984

Madonna on the cover of Smash Hits back in February 1984

Joan Collins had a massive boost to her career with the role of Alexis in Dynasty and such reworkings are vital to a long career. Madonna is back in the news at the moment over the ‘artistic rape’ she says she suffered because someone stole demo tapes from her new album. There’s no doubt the US-born singer and actress is a brilliant self-publicist. She has been recognised as the best-selling female record artist on record. Now 56, Madonna’s first Vogue cover was February 1989. Before that, she was a Smash Hits cover in 1984, when she was coming up to the age of 26. That’s 30 years as a cover star and, assuming she is still popular when she’s 81, another 25 years to go, total: 55 years of cover stardom.

Kate Moss in Corinne Day photograph on cover of the Face magazine in July 1990

Kate Moss in Corinne Day photograph on cover of the Face magazine in July 1990

Kate Moss turned 40 this year and marked it with a Playboy cover. Her modelling fortune was made by her appearance – as a scrawny 16-year-old – on a 1990 cover of style bible The Face shot by Corinne Day. Moss was the face of the Third Summer of Love (the others being 1967 and then the rave summer of 1988).

Starting at such an early age clearly gives Kate Moss an advantage. She has 24 years behind her and, assuming the 81 limit again, 41 years to go. Total: 65. That early start at 16 gives her a potential two-year edge on Joan Collins and a full decade on Madonna. Her first cover was on the Face, a relatively niche title, whereas Tit-Bits in 1951, the launch platform for Joan Collins, was probably selling a million copies a week. In contrast, Moss has been on a Vogue cover – frequently twice a year – just about every year since 1997, whereas Collins has never been on a Vogue cover.

On a personal level, Collins is on her fifth marriage – including Anthony Newley, one of the most gifted actors, singers and songwriters of his generation (Goldfinger title song, a dozen top 40 hits, roles in Dr Dolittle and Eastenders) – and has three children.

Madonna has been married twice – to Dead Man Walking actor Sean Penn and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director Guy Ritchie – and has four children. Moss has been married just once and has a child from her relationship with Dazed magazine co-founder Jefferson Hack.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether Kate Moss, or Madonna, has the staying power and the ability to appeal to such a wide range of people as Joan Collins.

WATCH OUT for my book on British Magazine Design, a highly illustrated large format hardback from the V&A

Joan Collins collection up for sale

April 28, 2010
Joan Collins on the cover of 66

Joan Collins on the cover of 66

Fans of the British star may like to know there is a collection of about 70 Joan Collins items up for sale on ebay. These include Italian, Dutch and US magazines, one of which dated 1956 has as its cover line alongside a bikini-clad Joan: ‘Britain’s bad girl invades USA’.

Joan Collins covers

More for Joan Collins fans

October 18, 2008
Joan Collins on cover of ABCs Film Review

Joan Collins on cover of ABC's Film Review

Another big image from 1960 has gone up at Magforum’s Joan Collins page. It’s from the popular 20th Century Fox ‘chair’ shoot.