Jackie Collins, Trailblazing Romance Novelist, Dead At 77

Ken McKay/ITV/Rex/REX USA.
Novelist Jackie Collins died on Saturday of breast cancer at age 77, her family announced on her website. If you haven't read one of her 32 best-selling books, you've at least felt her influence in television, literature, and film. She sold more than 500 million copies of her novels worldwide, People reports.

Collins' books, beginning with 1968's The World is Full of Married Men, were well-loved — and often mocked for their frank depiction of sex, albeit while using terms like "throbbing member" and "her sex." Her heroines lived big, extravagant lives that captured readers' imaginations. Collins' books made it to the screen eight times.

"I never pretended to be a literary writer," she told The New York Times in 2007. "I'm a school dropout."

Born in London, Collins began her career as an actress, just like big sister Joan Collins. Hollywood became a favorite setting for her books, in particular Hollywood Wives and its sequels. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer six-and-a-half years ago, but only told her close family about it.

"I did it my way, as Frank Sinatra would say," she told People in her last interview, which took place just last week. "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...Now, I want to save other people's lives."
Her family has asked for donations to be made to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Organization (in the U.S.) and Penny Brohn Cancer Care (the U.K.), in lieu of flowers.
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