My haven: Jackie Collins the bestselling author, 74, relaxes in her study in the Beverly Hills mansion she designed
22:02 GMT, 21 September 2012
Jackie Collins relaxes in the home she designed herself
I have a huge collection of these Art Deco figurines by Austrian sculptor Josef Lorenzl, and this is my favourite. When I was writing my novel Chances in 1980 I was living in London, and if I was stuck I’d visit antique shops to look for them – they inspire my writing. When I built this house over 20 years ago I made special shelves for them and after the big earthquake in LA in 1994 I stuck them down with special glue, so they’re still standing.
I’m on the computer all the time and I like Twitter because it connects me to the world, but I love to write my books in longhand, then get them bound in leather to make it permanent. Every successful person has one thing that propelled them to the top of their profession and for me it was this book – my ninth one, Hollywood Wives, in 1983. I love to see my handwriting in black and green felt pen and crossings-out.
Without wanting to sound too Shirley MacLaine, I think that in another life I was a panther, or a leopard or a cheetah. I love their beauty, speed and movement. I have pictures of them all over the house, but this is my favourite. Lancashire painter Harold Wood did it for me and it’s hung above my desk wherever I’ve been in the world. I’ve always wanted to go on safari – but feel I’d probably jump out of the Jeep and join the big cats.
My hair looks like a lion’s mane in this photo with my second husband Oscar Lerman, taken when we were off to our regular Monday dinner with Michael and Shakira Caine. It was the 70s – the era of crazy hair. At the time I liked leopard print and pinstripes. Oscar [a nightclub owner who died of cancer in 1992] always wore a suit and tie. He told me on our first date that he saw me in a magazine and moved to London to find me.
Buddhas give me a sense of tranquillity, and I have several around the house in different sizes. This is a very colourful one that I keep by my desk – my special writing Buddha. He was a gift in the mid-90s from my fianc Frank Calcagnini [a businessman who died of a brain tumour in 1998]. I believe in the principles of Buddhism – you should treat other people how you expect to be treated yourself.
I'M THE BOSS
This is the clapboard from the Lady Boss mini-series I wrote for NBC in 1992, featuring my most famous character, Lucky Santangelo. I hadn’t had much to do with the Hollywood Wives show in 1985 – I was the creative consultant but they never consulted me – so I wanted to produce this one, write it and be on set. Oscar was very ill, but he encouraged me to do it – he didn’t want me just sitting at home holding his hand.