Joan Henrietta Collins OBE (born 23 May 1933) is a Golden Globe Award-winning English actress, bestselling author and columnist.
Collins was born in Paddington, London, UK the daughter of Elsa (née Bessant), a dance teacher and nightclub hostess, and Joseph William Collins, an agent whose clients would later include Shirley Bassey, The Beatles and Tom Jones. Collins’s South African-born father was Jewish and her British mother was Anglican. She has one sister, the author Jackie Collins, and a brother, Bill Collins. Collins was educated at the Francis Holland School and then trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
Collins’ childhood was spent in and around Maida Vale and was, according to Collins, an idyllic one with plenty of love, comfort and security. Her father, however, was also a strict disciplinarian and exerted a strong hold over her gentle mother, an attitude which came to irritate her daughters who sought to rebel against it. Collins has said of her father that "He was detached, cold, hard, critical, difficult, acerbic and everyone had to please him." He said himself in his 1986 autobiography, A Touch of Collins: "I love my daughters but I am not the kind of parent who deludes himself that his children are superior to everyone else’s. I did not think of them as particularly outstanding in any way."
At the age of 17 Collins was signed to the J. Arthur Rank Film Company, a highly profitable British studio.