Joan Collins' Life in Pictures

The Dynasty star has had a long and exceptionally glamorous career, which she has shared with one famous sister, five husbands and three children. Look back at some of her most memorable moments

01 of 27

Joan Collins' Childhood

Joan Collins life in pictures
Joan Collins/Instagram

Born Joan Marie Collins on May 23, 1933, the actress was the eldest of three children born to talent agent Joseph Collins and dance teacher Elsa Collins. She's pictured here with her younger sister Jackie, born in 1937, who grew up to be a renowned romance novelist.

02 of 27

Joan Collins During World War II

Joan Collins life in pictures
Joan Collins/Instagram

During World War II, the family lost their home in Maida Vale, London, to air raid bombs. She has recalled her experience staying in the London Underground during the bombings, as well as being evacuated with her sister to safer locations.

"My father had to stay in London because he was putting on shows to entertain people who were staying behind. But I was evacuated constantly," she has said. "My sister Jackie and I were taken by my father to a variety of places – Chichester, Bognor, Brighton and Norfolk. We were all over the place. My favourite was Ilfracombe. To get to the beach you had to go under a dark tunnel, which was very exciting for my sister and me, and then you'd get onto these beautiful golden sands and rocks."

03 of 27

Joan Collins Growing Up

Joan Collins life in pictures
Joan Collins/Instagram

In 2021, the actress paid tribute to her mother with a vintage photo of their family. Brother Bill arrived in 1945.

04 of 27

Joan Collins' Early Career

Joan Collins life in pictures

In her teens, the actress trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, before being signed at age 17 to a film studio. (She's seen here at 21 while on a trip to Rome with sister Jackie.)

05 of 27

Joan Collins' First Husband

Joan Collins life in pictures
Evening Standard/Getty

In 1952, the star wed actor Maxwell Reed. The two divorced in 1956 and had no children together.

06 of 27

Joan Collins' Big Break

Joan Collins life in pictures

Also in 1952, the actress had her breakout role in a British film called I Believe in You, in which she played a girl with a dark side. "I was typecast as the smoldering British bad girl, " she recalls. "I played baby prostitutes, I played juvenile delinquents."

07 of 27

Joan Collins in 'The Land of the Pharoahs'

Joan Collins life in pictures

Her 1954 turn in this Egyptian-themed drama caught the eye of then-20th Century Fox chief Daryl Zanuck, who offered her a Hollywood contract.

08 of 27

Joan Collins' Engagement to Warren Beatty

Joan Collins And Warren Beatty
Anthony Wallace/Daily Mail/REX Shutterstock

Once a single Collins arrived in Hollywood, she dated several men before starting a passionate romance with Beatty, who was then relatively unknown. She became pregnant during their relationship, and has said in recent years she has "no regrets" about having an abortion, as it would have meant "the death of [her] career."

Beatty proposed to Collins by putting a ring in a chopped-liver carton, she told PEOPLE, but his infidelity led to their calling the engagement off.

09 of 27

Joan Collins' Second Husband

Joan Collins life in pictures

In 1963, Collins wed actor and singer Anthony Newley, and later that year they welcomed daughter Tara.

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Joan and Jackie Collins in 1966

Reg Burkett/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty

The two sisters were best friends and incomparably glamorous, as seen in this oh-so-1960s shot.

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Joan Collins' Children

Joan Collins life in pictures
STILLS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

Collins and Newley also had a son, Alexander, in 1965, before they eventually split up in 1971.

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Joan Collins' Third Husband

Joan Collins life in pictures
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty

The actress wed businessman Ron Kass in 1972; the couple (seen here dancing in Marbella, Spain in 1981) were together for more than a decade before divorcing in 1983.

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Joan Collins' Three Children

Joan Collins life in pictures
Gamma-Rapho via Getty

The actress welcomed her third child, daughter Katy, with Kass in 1972.

In 1980, Katy was hit by a car and suffered injuries so severe that doctors feared she might not survive. She was able to fully recover, and Collins recalls the event as "the worst thing that ever happened to me."

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Joan Collins in 'The Stud'

Joan Collins life in pictures
Kent Gavin/Mirrorpix/Getty

Collins got the chance to work with her sister in the 1978 film adaptation of Jackie's novel. It was a hit, and so was the autobiography she published the same year, Past Imperfect. (She would go on to publish 16 books in total.)

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Joan Collins' Fourth Husband

Joan Collins life in pictures
Eddie Sanderson/Getty

In 1985, the star tied the knot with singer Peter Holm at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. Their split in 1987 was acrimonious, and she said she wouldn't marry again.

16 of 27

Joan Collins' 'Dynasty' Reign

Joan Collins life in pictures

The star was cast in what would be her career-defining role, Dynasty's Alexis Carrington Colby, in 1981. Her character was scheming, glamorous, sinister and witty, and the show was a huge success for all of the 1980s. (Here, she's marrying her character's third of four husbands, Farnsworth "Dex" Dexter, played by Michael Nader.)

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Joan Collins and Linda Evans on 'Dynasty'

Walt Disney Television via Getty

Though Collins' character had many relationships with various men on Dynasty, it was her ongoing feud (including this famous pond fight) with Linda Evans' Krystle Carrington that was the true defining relationship of the show. "I did my own stunts, and it was rough," Collins told PEOPLE.

18 of 27

Joan Collins Wins a Golden Globe

Joan Collins life in pictures
Ron Galella Collection via Getty

The star was nominated six times for a Golden Globe for her work on Dynasty, and she took home a statue in 1983. She also received a Primetime Emmy nomination and won several Soap Opera Digest awards, including for Outstanding Villainess.

19 of 27

Joan Collins Gets a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Joan Collins life in pictures
Ron Galella Collection via Getty

In 1983, the actress donned some majorly glam accessories to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Though best known for her Dynasty role, the actress has worked as an actress nonstop since she was 17. In addition to her 70+ film roles and many TV appearances, she also has performed on Broadway and the West End and toured with various theater productions.

20 of 27

Joan Collins Meets Princess Diana

Princess Diana Joan Collins

The actress recalled her relationship to the late royal to PEOPLE, saying that she was "exquisite" at their first meeting (pictured) in 1985, and they went on to have a friendly acquaintance. "I met her five or six more times after that, and she was always exceedingly charming, very down-to-earth, very real, not at all stuffy," Collins said. "She was very natural and unaffected."

21 of 27

Joan Collins' 1980s Glamour

Joan Collins
Dennis Stone/Shutterstock

The star epitomized the excess and decadence of the "Me Decade," as evidenced by this 1989 shot that's all Louis Vuitton luggage, massive shoulder pads and one fabulous hat.

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Joan Collins' Fifth Husband

"I kissed a lot of frogs before I found my prince," Collins told PEOPLE of her fifth husband, Percy Gibson, whom she wed in 2002. "He's my rock."

Gibson is 32 years her junior, but Collins scoffs at anyone who might raise an eyebrow about their "just a number" age gap. "He's the best, I can't imagine life without him," she told the Sunday Times. "He's the rock that holds our family together. Thank God I married somebody 30 years younger than me. I couldn't bear to be married to someone my own age."

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Joan Collins Is Honored by the Queen

Joan Collins life in pictures

In 1997, Collins was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her services to England in the arts.

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Joan Collins at the Met Gala

Joan Collins and Cara Delevigne
Kevin Tachman/MG19/Getty

The star's commitment to over-the-top elegance remains — we'd be surprised if she even owned a pair of sweatpants! Here, she's seen in marabou and diamonds at the 2019 Met Gala, alongside model Cara Delevingne (who happens to be one of Collins' 13 godchildren!).

And, fittingly for a Met Gala whose theme was "Notes on Camp," the actress channeled her extremely campy Dynasty character in a video for Valentino, who created her gown.

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Joan Collins in 'American Horror Story: Apocalypse'

Joan Collins life in pictures

The star (seen here in the 2018 Ryan Murphy production) relishes the fact that she hasn't slowed down well into her 80s.

"Well, I am proud of having survived seven decades in a cut-throat industry. I don't think many actresses have," she told the Irish Times.

26 of 27

Joan Collins Becomes a Dame

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Zuma

In 2015, the star was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her services to charity (including her fundraising efforts for The Shooting Star Hospice, a facility for terminally ill children). She was presented the honor by Prince Charles and joined at the ceremony by Gibson and her two eldest children.

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Joan Collins in 2022

Joan Collins
Jon Kopaloff/WireImage

The star (seen here at a pre-Oscars event in March 2022) shows no signs of slowing down.

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