Novelist Jackie Collins dies of breast cancer, aged 77

Novelist Jackie Collins dies of breast cancer, aged 77
Joan (left) and Jackie Collins during the filming of the New Year's Eve Graham Norton Show in 2013. Picture: PA

Novelist Jackie Collins has died after a battle with breast cancer, her family said.

The 77-year-old sister of actress Joan Collins was described as a trailblazer for women in fiction, having sold more than 500 million novels in more than 40 countries in her four decades-long career.

Paying tribute to the grandmother-of-six, her family said: “It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the death of our beautiful, dynamic and one of a kind mother, Jackie Collins, who died of breast cancer today.

“She lived a wonderfully full life and was adored by her family, friends and the millions of readers who she has been entertaining for over four decades.

“She was a true inspiration, a trail blazer for women in fiction and a creative force. She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words.”

In an interview earlier this month Collins spoke of the tragedies in her life when people close to her died from illness.

“I lost my mother to cancer, my husband of 25 years to cancer and then my fiance. I know a lot about looking after people when they are sick.

"Oscar (Lerman, her second husband) was a very strong man who was 20 years older than me. I knew he’d had a fantastic life. My kids looked after him so wonderfully and I just kept writing.”

Strong women

Creating strong female characters in her books, which included The World Is Full Of Married Men, The Stud and The Bitch, was inspired by what she saw growing up, Collins had said.

“I like strong women,” she said. “It comes from the fact that I grew up in a rather chauvinistic household. My father (theatrical agent Joseph Collins) was always very chauvinistic and my mother (Elsa) was always very gentle and laid-back.

“I didn’t like the inequality between them. I felt that she should have had more say in what was going on in the home.”

It had often been reported that Jackie and Joan, who hit the big-time on screen as an actress in American soap Dynasty, did not get on, but this was rubbished by the author.

Jackie gave Joan, who lives in the south of France, a role when her novel The Stud was made into a film, saying it “made her career soar”, and said they always met up when in the same city.

TRIBUTES

Graham Norton, who had interviewed Collins on his chatshow, wrote: “I’m so very sad to hear about @jackiejcollins She was the definition of a class act. Everyone who met her was Lucky.”

Sharon Osbourne posted a picture of herself with Collins and wrote: “Shocked & devastated at the death of @JackiejCollins. Loved & respected her. Thoughts & prayers go out to her family.”

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