To the 87th anniversary of Joan Collins: social chic and scandals of the legendary TV series “Dynasty”
Today, May 23, celebrates the birthday of actress Joan Collins. She is 87 years old! She has more than 100 roles in films and serials – she began to actively act in the 1950s, but the audience remembers and loves her, first of all, as Alexis Colby from the TV hit of the 80s "Dynasty". The series not only became a key one in Collins’ career, but also had a significant impact on both fashion and pop culture, so today we offer you to remember this legendary story, learn some interesting facts about its creation and, of course, once again admire the spectacular outfits.
Joan Collins as Alexis Colby
The image of Alexis Colby, and the whole entourage of the series, which tells about the glamorous life of wealthy families who own the oil business and are at war with each other not only because of competition, but also for personal reasons, fascinates the audience so far.
In recent years, the style of "Dynasty" has experienced another renaissance. In 2017, the TV series of the same name was released, which is a reboot of the original version.
Designer Jeremy Scott filmed Moschino’s advertising campaign featuring Irina Shayk and Gigi Hadid based on the cult series, while Valentino invited Joan Collins herself in the image of Alexis to star in a Christmas video for the brand.
In a word, the glory of "Dynasty" lives on, although the series itself has ended thirty years ago. And she lives largely thanks to the charisma of Joan Collins.
When the actress joined the film crew, the first season of "Dynasty" had already passed on the ABC channel and, I must say, did not make much of a splash, although the creators had certain hopes for it – the show was supposed to be the answer to the "Dallas" family saga from the CBS channel .
Joan Collins as Alexis Colby and John Forsyth as Blake Carrington
Everything changed with the appearance of the actress in the role of the first wife of the main character Blake Carrington in the second season of the series. After that, "Dynasty" got into the top twenty shows at the end of the year, and was also able to take first place according to the results of the channel’s rating.
Collins herself won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in 1983, and her character is still considered one of the most significant in the history of American television.
For the first time and again
Despite the entertaining and rather scandalous nature of the series – skirmishes, the so-called catfights, between Alexis and Krystle, Carrington’s new wife, became a feature of "Dynasty" – it touched on quite serious and at that time still not very common topics on TV, such as homophobia and violence. In addition, the series became a milestone in the issue of racial equality in film and TV.
Fight scene between Alexis and Krystle
The role of Dominique Devereux, Blake’s half-sister, was played by black actress Diane Carroll, which for a prime-time show of that time was not a matter of course.
– Diane herself commented then.
Diane Carroll as Dominique Devereux
The creators of "Dynasty" clearly wanted to change this situation and break a number of certain prejudices about what roles are usually assigned to non-white actors.
– said one of the creators of the show Esther Shapiro.
Carroll became the first black actress on American TV at the time to land a highly visible and long-running role on a late-night series (the contract stipulated that she would appear in at least 17 of the season’s 29 episodes).
The actress followed the series herself and was very interested in joining the show.
– Carroll admitted in an interview.
In addition, Dynasty also broke another long-held prime-time taboo – in the series, the black heroine had romantic ties with white men. Dynasty also became a show that brought mature women to the fore: both Carroll and Collins were over forty at the time of filming.
Homosexuality and women’s rights have become important and even plot-forming themes. So, Blake despises his son Stephen for being gay and not wanting to conform to what his father wants him to be; Stephen, in turn, criticizes his father for his political views and business methods and does not want to continue his work at all.
Jack Coleman as Steven and now
At the same time, Stephen is forced to hide his orientation – according to the plot, he also has relationships with women (Heather Locklear played his wife in the series).
Actor Jack Coleman admitted that, starting the role, he could not have imagined what impact it would have, and he himself would become a kind of symbol.
His sister Fallon is quite suitable for the role of a tenacious business woman, but her father does not take her seriously and does not believe that she is capable of becoming a leader.
Pamela Sue Martin as Fallon and now
But in general, in the series, women are clearly at the forefront and are not at all like decorative elements of the plot, which is also the difference between Dynasty and its competitors.
Esther Shapiro said.
Distinguished "Dynasty" and a few more innovative moments. So, it was in this series that the word “bitch" was heard for the first time on American TV, and former US President Gerald Ford appeared as guest stars, who played himself in one of the episodes of 1983, along with his wife Betty and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. This is the only series in which guest stars of this rank appeared.
Social chic and 80s style
An intricate plot with all the classic “soap opera” tricks from lost children to amnesia, daring dialogues and images of bitches, of course, attracted the audience, but the costumes of the main characters also played a significant role in the entertainment of the show.
"Dynasty" is a true anthology of 80s fashion, as well as classic glamor with heavy diamond necklaces, fur coats and floor-length dresses.
Linda Evans as Krystle
Costume designer Nolan Miller was inspired by 1940s film star Joan Crawford. Hats, gloves, fitted evening dresses, luxurious fur coats – all this has also migrated to Dynasty. The fashion of those years was also characterized by broad shoulders, so the "Dynasty" largely influenced the resurrection of this trend in the fashion of the 80s.
Common features can also be seen between the characters that Crawford and Alexis embodied on the screen: a dark square laid in waves and an unchanging cigarette in their hands.
The whole dressing room was clearly thought out – there were no random things on the site, and each image was pre-made down to the smallest detail: each dress was supposed to have its own handbag, hat, shoes and other accessories.
As a result, the following concept was born – Alexis will never appear in the frame in the same. According to Miller himself, executive producer Aaron Spelling gave such an indication.
Although the creators still failed to comply with it to the end – attentive fans noticed some repetitions. For example, in the sixth and seventh seasons, Alexis appears in the same white and green dress. And then in the series there is also an analogue of this outfit, but in red and white colors.
Collins herself invited Miller to copy for her heroine models presented in couture fashion, for example from Yves Saint Laurent or Chanel. And the influence of these brands on Alexis’s wardrobe cannot be ignored: there are suits with jackets without lapels, cut in the style of classic tweed, and geometric prints, which Yves Saint Laurent also widely used in the collections of the 70s.
Joan Collins recalled.
The actress also said that she worked quite closely with Miller to create the image of Alexis.
— shared the actress.
Miller’s budget for costumes for one episode was 35 thousand dollars – a very impressive amount at that time, and in total about three thousand outfits were made during the show!
Nolan used natural fur, while Krystle and Alexis wore Harry Winston jewelry they rented.
— said about the series stylist Rene Horsch.
Alexis’s wardrobe is truly impressing with its ingenuity: it seems that everything is here – from shiny lamé dresses to silk peignoirs and modest gray suits, but they, of course, are alien in this holiday of purple jackets with fur sleeves, contrasting lapels, spectacular total look’ ov from things of red, yellow and hot pink colors.
And yet there are a few details that defined Alexis’ signature style. These are, of course, massive earrings, brooches and headdresses, and she does not limit herself in styles at all – there are pillbox hats with a veil, and wide-brimmed hats, and bonnets, and wicker variations of turbans.
By the way, Collins herself was a big fan of this fashion – and in the paparazzi pictures she can be seen today in hats and leopard coats.
Collins shared her views on fashion.
In 1985, a scandal broke out around the series, which almost led to new rules for filmmaking. Between 1984 and 1985, actor Rock Hudson starred in nine episodes of Dynasty as Linda Evans’ Krystle’s lover, Daniel Rhys.
Linda Evans and Rock Hudson
The producers did not yet know that Hudson had HIV (the actor hid the diagnosis). According to the scenario, a passionate kiss was planned between him and Linda, but the scene turned out to be completely different.
The scandal erupted when Hudson died of AIDS at the age of 59. It happened on October 2, 1985, and the role in Dynasty was the last in his career (but the image of the actor still appears on the screens – his biography became part of the plot of the new Hollywood series by Ryan Murphy, Rock Hudson himself was played by Jake Picking ).
At that time, the disease was not yet well understood, and it was believed that it could be transmitted by airborne droplets. Panic immediately began to swell in the press: many believed that the actor had also infected his stage partner.
Journalists escalated the situation to such an extent that the Screen Actors Guild was forced to write a letter that "recommended the elimination of kissing, which includes the exchange of saliva with members of high-risk AIDS groups – homosexuals, those who use intravenous drugs, and patients with hemophilia."
All a piece of luxury!
The world of wealthy life created on the screen was too seductive. It’s no surprise that viewers around the world dreamed of somehow touching the Carrington-Colby universe. All sorts of souvenirs, beauty products and other merch eventually brought in 400 million dollars!
Polls showed that viewers watch the show not only because of the characters, but also because of their outfits, and the studio received letters asking them to share sketches – at first, these requests were even satisfied: about 200 sketches were sent a week.
The Dynasty line included $3 pantyhose, $150 Forever Krystle perfume (the fragrance was an absolute hit), $500 tuxedos, $800 evening gowns, $10,000 handmade Alexis and Krystle dolls, and a coat of chinchillas for $200,000.
Nolan Miller’s designs and patterns were now also sold through McCall’s Pattern Co. – needlewomen among the fans of the show themselves could repeat the famous outfits.
Krystle and Alexis as Barbie dolls
Main characters: before and after "Dynasty"
John Forsyth (Blake Carrington)
The actor was a star even before Dynasty. Thanks to the 70s cult TV series Charlie’s Angels, where he got the role of the mysterious invisible millionaire and private detective Charles Townsend, Forsyth became the highest paid actor on television. Nevertheless, the role of Blake went to him quite unexpectedly, because George Peppard was originally planned for it.
Apparently, a long-term acquaintance with the executive producer of "Dynasty" Aaron Spelling, who also worked on "Charlie’s Angels", played a role. Forsyth became the only actor to appear in all 220 episodes.
After Dynasty, the actor starred in several more sitcoms, and in 2000 he returned to the image of Charlie Townsend in a remake of the famous story. In 1994, Forsyth’s wife Julie, with whom he had lived for 51 years, died – he had to make a difficult decision and take her off life support, as she had been in a coma for a long time due to lung problems.
In 2002, Forsyth remarried businesswoman Nicole Carter, who was 22 years his junior. John Forsyth died on April 1, 2010 from pneumonia at the age of 92. His wife Nicole died six weeks later on May 11, 2010.
Joan Collins (Alexis Colby)
Joan Collins’ career started in the 1950s and developed very successfully. In 1955, the London native traveled to Hollywood, where she signed a contract with 20th Century Fox, becoming the answer to Elizabeth Taylor, who was under contract with competitors from MGM. It is noteworthy that then Taylor was also named among the candidates for the role of Alexis.
But in the 70s, Collins’s career came to a standstill – there were no major roles in the cinema, she starred more on television, and also returned to the UK to work with local directors.
The role in "Dynasty" was Joan’s triumphant return and the revival of her success. While working on the role of Alexis, she became the highest paid actress, received the Golden Globe Award in 1983 and received a star on the Walk of Fame at the same time. After Dynasty, the actress focused on working in the theater, and in 1992 she made her debut on Broadway.
Later, in one project, she also agreed with her longtime "rival" Elizabeth Taylor – both starred in the film "American Old Nags."
The actress was married five times – the last husband, theater manager Percy Gibson, is 32 years younger than Joan. When asked about the age difference, she always laughed it off: "If he dies, he will die." Today, the 87-year-old actress continues to lead a social life, appearing at various events and fashion shows. She also starred in a Valentino campaign last year.
Linda Evans (Crystle Carrington)
Linda Evans got her first major role on television in the western Big Valley in 1965. She was busy in the project for four years, but it was Dynasty that became her real success. In eight years of filming, she was nominated five times for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a TV Drama and won this award once in 1982.
And it seems that Evans decided to be remembered by the audience in the role of the spectacular Krystle. After Dynasty, the actress almost did not act in film, devoting herself to fitness and soon creating a small network of fitness centers.
She returned to the screen again only in the image of Krystle in the television movie Dynasty: Reconciliation, and in 1997 she completely completed her film career. The actress was married twice, but both marriages fell apart.
Today, the 77-year-old actress takes part in theatrical productions and gives lectures.