Jackie Collins, the British-born novelist who was famous for her steamy novels about Hollywood glamor died of breast cancer at 77. Collins had largely kept her cancer diagnosis a secret, she told People in a recent interview. “Looking back, I’m not sorry about anything I did,” she said. “I did it my way, as Frank Sinatra would say. I’ve written five books since the diagnosis, I’ve lived my life, I’ve travelled all over the world, I have not turned down book tours and no one has ever known until now when I feel as though I should come out with it.”
Collins’ name has long been synonymous with steamy tales of the rich and famous. Collins promised to give readers an inside glimpse into Hollywood, often noting that she wrote about “real people in disguise.” And that helped her sell more than 500 million copies of her books, according to CNN. Collins raised controversy with her very first novel, the World is Full of Married Men. The book that came out in1968 was supposedly so scandalous that it was banned in Australia and a member of Parliament called it the filthiest book he had ever read, notes the Associated Press.
Collins was also criticized by romance writer Barbara Cartland. “Barbara Cartland said to me, `Oh, Miss Collins, your books are filthy and disgusting and you are responsible for all the perverts in England,’ ” Collins told Porter Magazine in 2014. “I pause for a few moments and said, `Thank you.’”
Collins wrote 32 novels, many of them unabashedly sexual. And Collins often said she didn’t care what the critics thought about her work. “I never pretended to be a literary writer,” she said. “I’m a school dropout.” The New York Times recalls that in an interview, Collins said she didn’t feel her novels had lost relevance through the years. “Fifteen-year-old girls still read my novels under the bedcovers with a flashlight,” she said. “But it’s true that I published my first novel in 1968, when no one was writing about sex except Philip Roth.”
“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 4 decades. She was a true inspiration, a trail blazer for women in fiction and a creative force,” the Collins family said in a statement. “She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words.”