'Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story' — everything about the revealing documentary film on the glamorous author...

The 'Lady Boss' herself Jackie Collins, author extraordinaire!
The 'Lady Boss' herself Jackie Collins, author extraordinaire! (Image credit: Getty)

Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story tells the untold true story of the best-selling novelist who became known as the ‘queen of the bonkbuster’. Jackie wrote saucy romantic fiction about the rich and powerful, including her world famous novels such as Chances, Lucky, Lady Boss, Hollywood Wives and The Stud.

This acclaimed documentary, already shown on CNN and BBC2, is currently available on Netflix in the US and Canada, and BBCiPlayer in the UK. The film will reveal that behind the fame and celebrity, Jackie's turbulent life could rival the spicy plots she dreamed up for her novels. She also hid her private struggles behind a carefully crafted façade.

Narrated by a cast of Jackie’s closest friends and family, including her older sister — Hollywood icon and Dynasty star Joan Collins — the biopic draws on family photographs, home movies and excerpts from Jackie Collins’ personal diaries to reveal the truth behind her childhood and two marriages.

The film, directed by Laura Fairrie (Hugh Grant: Taking on the Tabloids), also follows Jackie, whose motto was ‘girls can do anything,’ through the last days before her death from breast cancer in 2015, aged 77.  It includes a determined return to London for a farewell to her beloved siblings, actress Dame Joan Collins and Bill, her sister-in-law, Hazel, and her close circle of business confidants. During that London visit, most did not realise Jackie was in her final days of breast cancer, and had secretly lived with the devastating disease for six years. Along the way, Fairrie interweaves interviews with Collins’ cherished daughters Tiffany, Tracy, and Rory, and dearest friends, to yield a sometimes surprisingly vulnerable portrait of a relatable and complex woman, behind the fan-craved chronicles of Hollywood scandals and sex.

Here’s what else we can reveal about the documentary Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story

Jackie Collins promoting 'Hollywood Wives' in the 1980s.

Jackie Collins promoting 'Hollywood Wives' in the 1980s. (Image credit: Getty)

'Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story' release date

Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story was shown on BBC2 on Friday Oct. 15 at 9pm and landed on BBCiPlayer shortly afterwards. It had its premiere at the Tribeca film festival and was shown in the US on CNN on June 27 2021 before coming to selected cinemas in the UK on July 1. The documentary is currently available on Netflix in the US and Canada. We will update on its Netflix premiere in the rest of the world in due course. The film will get a theatrical release across Australia from Friday Nov.5 2021 starting in Adelaide and Brisbane. For a full list of Australian cinema screenings of Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story see here.

Is there a trailer for 'Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story'?

Oh yes there is! The two-minute trailer for Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story describes her as a writer, feminist and icon, plus features her famous sister Joan Collins talking about their relationship. Take a look right here...

'Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story' tells how Jackie became mega famous

Jackie Collins was born in London in 1937 as the younger sister of movie star Joan Collins. Like Joan, she also started out as an actress, appearing in a few British B movies in the 1950s, and in the 1960s TV series Danger Man and The Saint

Although she began writing at the age of 15, it wasn’t until 1968 that she penned her first novel The World is Full of Married Men, which became an instant bestseller - although it was banned in Australia and labelled ‘disgusting’ by Barbara Cartland! 

'Most of my critics have never read me,' Jackie once told What's On TV in 2008.

In all, Jackie wrote 32 novels, including Lovers and Gamblers, Chances, Lucky, Lady Boss, Hollywood Wives, Hollywood Husbands, Rock Star and American Star, all of which appeared on The New York Times bestseller list, and she sold more than half a billion books in over 40 countries. Many fans loved to guess who the real Hollywood stars and singers were that she based some of her outlandish book characters on. She wrote every book long hand! 

Jackie became such an icon that she and Joan were even parodied by Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders in their 1990s sketch 'Lucky Bitches'.

The documentary Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story will show us around Jackie's famous Hollywood home, which had a personality to match her own, with plenty of bronze statues and paintings of big cats, plus a whole host of writing desks should Jackie suddenly get inspiration and need to write! Her second husband, club owner Oscar Lerman had worked with architect Ardie Tavangarian to bring her glamorous house to life. 

Jackie had three daughters, all born in the 1960s — Tracy, by her first husband Wallace Austin, then Tiffany and Rory with Oscar Lerman who then adopted Tracy after her father passed away. Sadly Oscar, who was 18 years his wife's senior, died from prostate cancer in 1992 after Jackie nursed him through his illness. In 1994, Jackie then became engaged to Los Angeles business executive Frank Calcagnini, but in 1998 he died from a brain tumour. Jackie once revealed that to get through her tragedies she was "celebrating their lives, as opposed to dwelling on their deaths.".

In a shock to the world, Jackie Collins died on September 19 2015 from breast cancer, two weeks before her 78th birthday. Not many knew how ill she'd been. Jackie was diagnosed more than six years earlier but kept her illness almost entirely to herself, only telling sister Joan two weeks before her death. Her books still remain wildly popular and the documentary film Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story will only increase interest in her amazing life and career. Definitely start reading Jackie Collins if you haven't already!

'Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story'

'Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story' takes viewers around Jackie amazing Los Angele home. (Image credit: BBC)

Jackie Collins with sister Joan in the 1950s.

Jackie Collins with sister Joan in the 1950s. (Image credit: Getty)

What Dame Joan Collins reveals about her relationship with sister Jackie in the documentary...

Jackie Collins had always dreamed of a successful Hollywood acting career like Joan. But after failing to make the big time, she turned to writing and her novels catapulted her to stardom. Yet even then, things between her and Joan were tricky, especially when Joan began writing her own romantic fiction.

‘I had a couple of relationships, a marriage and a boyfriend, and Jackie loathed both of them and they loathed her so it was kind of difficult," says Joan in the documentary. "We saw each other but it was slightly cool. Then when I got offered two million dollars to write two books, well, you don’t turn that down."

However, despite their ups and downs, Joan admits she was heartbroken when Jackie died from breast cancer in 2015. "My sister was amazing. She had an incredible life and it was pretty shattering when she died because she was the rock that kept our family together,’ she says. ‘I cried every day for three months. I still miss her."

Director Laurie Fairrie reveals her thoughts on the documentary...

Laura Fairrie says: "I received my sex education from Jackie Collins novels. Her books were passed around at school and read during math lessons, hidden under the desks and discussed at break in the cafeteria. Her books were risqué, they were outrageous and they turned the tables on men. In short, Jackie Collins made feminism accessible – she sold over 500 million books and empowered women to imagine a different life for themselves.

"So when Producer John Battsek asked me if I was interested in making a film about her, my teenage-self screamed “yes!” I already felt a deep connection to the outrageously sexy books and the author pictured on the back cover – a powerful woman with big hair, plunging cleavage and leopard-print shoulder pads. 

"Jackie’s story was a dream to bring to life. The world she inhabited was a million miles away from our current lockdown reality and at times it felt wonderfully hedonistic to be able to escape into the kitsch and truly bonkers aspects of ‘Jackie-land’. But underneath the glitz and the glamour is a story that is grounded in the reality of what it is to be a woman trying to make it in a man’s world. Jackie was a brilliant mass of contradictions, a flawed feminist who had her demons, a woman who rolled with the punches that life threw at her, an author who channeled the power of her fantasy heroines to survive. All of this I love about her and during production our mostly female crew would be inspired by the power of Jackie - when faced with any obstacles we could often be heard saying “Well, what would Jackie Collins do?!”. 

'Jackie’s story was a dream to bring to life' says Lady Boss director Laurie Fairrie.

'Jackie’s story was a dream to bring to life' says Lady Boss director Laurie Fairrie.  (Image credit: ALamy)

A personal memory of Jackie Collins, by Nicholas (Nick) Cannon...

I was so lucky to meet Jackie Collins once, interviewing her for What's On TV at London's Dorchester Hotel back in November 2008 in a very swanky suite with its own doorbell. All very Jackie Collins indeed! I know it was November, as Barack Obama was about to become elected US President and we chatted about it. Having read many (almost all) of her books, I was in awe and hanging on her every word. I loved that she didn't mind telling little snippets of harmless gossip. How great Al Pacino's barbecues were was one! She revealed she spent nine months researching and writing a book, then a couple of months promoting it because 'each one was precious'. After a well deserved break she then started the process all over again. Her work ethic was incredible and her writing prolific. She then took me and a few other journalists out for lunch, where she picked our brains about stars we'd interviewed, no doubt looking for ideas for future novels... My anecdotes weren't very juicy sadly. My signed copy of Married Lovers with its accompanying message from Jackie is now a treasured gift on my bookshelf. Take a look below...

Jackie Collins memorabilia — my signed copy of Married Lovers.

Jackie Collins memorabilia — my signed copy of 'Married Lovers'. (Image credit: Nicholas Cannon)

Jackie Collins the bestselling author.

Jackie Collins the bestselling author, wrote 32 novels before she died in 2015. (Image credit: Getty)

Screen adaptations of Jackie Collins novels 

Eight of Jackie’s most famous novels have been adapted for the screen, either as films or TV miniseries. Four were turned into movies, including her first book The World Is Full of Married Men. And a ninth TV adaptation is underway (see link below).

The 1978 film The Stud and its 1979 follow-up The Bitch were also adapted by Jackie herself and starred her sister Joan Collins as London disco owner Fontaine Khaled. They featured some decidedly raunchy scenes, especially at a health spa in London! 

Then in 2010 came the movie version of Paris Connections, with Charles Dance and Sting’s wife Trudie Styler.

On the small screen Hollywood Wives, Jackie’s New York Times number one bestseller, was made into a 1985 miniseries starring Candice Bergen and Anthony Hopkins.

Jackie also adapted the two books in the Lucky series, Lucky and Chances, for a six-hour 1990 miniseries called Lucky Chances, which featured Nicollette Sheridan and a young Sandra Bullock.

In 1992 a series version of ı featured Kim Delaney as Lucky Santangelo, while a TV movie of Hollywood Wives – The New Generation in 2003 starred Jack Scalia, Melissa Gilbert, Farrah Fawcett and Robin Givens.

A lavish TV adaptation of Jackie's novel Lovers & Gamblers is currently in production, adapted by Sarah Phelps

Jackie Collins and sister Joan joined forces to promote films The Stud and The Bitch in the 1970s.

Jackie Collins and sister Joan joined forces to promote films The Stud and The Bitch in the 1970s. (Image credit: Getty)

In 1978 Joan Collins starred in raunchy movie The Stud based on the novel by her sister Jackie Collins.

In 1978 Joan Collins starred in raunchy movie The Stud based on the novel by her sister Jackie Collins. (Image credit: Alamy)

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Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.