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Writer Jackie Collins digs up the dirt

Writer Jackie Collins digs up the dirt

June 23, 1987: Author Jackie Collins in her Beverly Hills home.

This Tony Barnard photo accompanied a story by Nikki Finke’s story in the Aug. 23, 1987, Los Angeles Times.

Underneath a subhead of “Novelist Stirs Up the Dirt Her Hollywood Friends Dish Out,” Finke’s story began:

A small earthquake registering moderately severe on Beverly Hills panic scale is rumbling from Malibu to Hollywood, Jackie Collins is finishing her 12th novel in 20 years this month, and her friends already are feeling the aftershocks.

On this particular night, the epicenter is located at Spago.

Standing in the garden terrace, a drink in one hand, a slice of pizza in the other, producer David Niven Jr. whispers conspiratorially, “People keep saying to me ‘David, don’t you think you should write a book?’ but how can I when everything, everything, I have ever done, said or thought appears in Jackie’s novels.

“There’s nothing left,” he laments. “I don’t know why the headings on some of the chapters shouldn’t be, ‘I’d like to dedicate this to…’”

At the other end of the restaurant, Alana Hamilton Steward, ex-wife of actor George Hamilton and “Do You Think I’m Sexy,” singer Rod Stewart, admits she tells Collins too many intimate details about her marriages. “I trust her completely to change the names so I’ll be safe. Otherwise,” Stewart adds, her eyes opening wide, “I’ll kill her.”

Actress Angie Dickinson is warier. “I love her but that doesn’t mean I trust her,” she confides in a corner of the room. “I mean, she’ll take notes right in front of me.”

Super-agent Irving Lazar see himself in every Collins book. “I’m always the guy getting out of bed!” he says, And “Tonight Show” producer Fred de Cordova is awaiting Collins’ latest opus “to see if I’m in it.”

As if on cue, the 46-year-old writer makes her entrance.

Dressed in her trademark animal prints (a black-and-white tiger-striped outfit this time out), the tall brunette has warm greetings (“Kiss, kiss”) for everyone. After all, these are more than just friends. These are the sources for most of the tastiest parts of her novels. As she collects every gossipy morsel (“You must be joking. You’re not? How wonderful!”) the ground imperceptibly shakes. If information is power, then Collins is a veritable 800-pound gorilla. “It is amazing what people tell me,” she says.

One of the publishing industry’s best-selling quartet of novelists, along with Stephen King, Sidney Sheldon and Danielle Steele, Collins was crowned by literary critics long ago as the undisputed queen of flash-and-trash fiction. Indeed, she is expert at producing the sort of books that serious readers are embarrassed to be seen devouring. …

Nikki Finke full story is online: The Adventures of Writer Jackie Collins.

Collins passed away on Dec. 19, 2015. This Los Angeles Times obituary is online: Jackie Collins, best-selling author of sexy Hollywood books, dies at 77.

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