That legendary Dame, Joan Collins, turns 85 years old today. Very early on in her illustrious career, the actress played Edith Keeler in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Her performance and the episode itself remain as heartbreaking as ever, more than 50 years later. To mark the occasion of her birthday, StarTrek.com is happy to share Six Things to Know About Joan Collins….
The Early Days
Collins was born and raised in London. She was just nine when she made her stage debut in production of A Doll’s House, and she honed her craft at RADA, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Thank You, Collins Children
Trek fans can thank Collins’ kids, Tara and Alexander, for their mum’s appearance on TOS. As she told StarTrek.com in 2015, “When I was asked to do Star Trek, I remember saying to my agent, ‘Well, what is Star Trek?’ I'd never heard of it. When I told my children -- who were then about two and four -- that I'd been asked to do Star Trek, my daughter (who was the older child) jumped up and down and said, ‘Oh, mum, you must do it. It's a great show.’ So that's why I did it.”
Sir Patrick Stewart has company. Collins was made the female equivalent of a knight in Queen Elizabeth II's annual New Year's honors list in 2015. Collins, a longtime advocate of nonprofit children's charities, was recognized for her services to such groups. "It's wonderful,” Dame Joan told StarTrek.com of the honor. “It's lovely. It's just about the highest honor that a woman can get in Britain. So, it means a great deal to me.”
Collins’ career has spanned decades. Her Trek performance stands the test of time. But she will forever be remembered for her role as the imperious, scenery-chewing Alexis Carrington on Dynasty.
Just Another Gig
“The City on the Edge of Forever” ranks as Trek perfection, and deservedly so, in large part thanks to Collins. But, to her, it was a job. “As far as I was concerned, I was starting to do lots of television at that time,” she recalled to StarTrek.com in 2015. “I did The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I did The Virginian. So, I was doing quite a few shows and, as far as I was concerned, (Star Trek) really was just another gig.” That said, she’s content to be associated with Trek’s finest hour. “I am pleased,” she acknowledged. “It's nice. But I didn't even have a clue at the time that we'd made a memorable episode. It was not until several years later.”
The Royals and The Horror
Collins shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to recurring on The Royals as Alexandra, Grand Duchess of Oxford, she just completed work on the upcoming eighth season of American Horror Story. Her role is top-secret, but she told Entertainment Tonight the following: "I think it's one of the best shows on television. I think Ryan Murphy is a genius. All of his shows are fabulous and I was honored to be asked to do it -- and I can't tell you anything about it because my lips have to be sealed."