Joan's lost boy: A father hooked on sex and drugs, a mother in thrall to Tinseltown and a childhood ruined by the 'monster called showbiz'. No account of being raised by famous parents is as haunting as a new book by Collins's artist son

Mail Online | 8/25/1965 | Alexander Newley For The Mail On Sunday
PaMe (Posted by) Level 3
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Summer 1967. I am aged two in a photograph taken in the garden at 1106 Summit Drive, our home in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles.

My sister Tara, then aged three, and I are in matching outfits astride my father’s back; he’s on his hands and knees in white pants and a sailor jersey. My mother is mouth-watering in a watermelon-pink house dress and beribboned beehive.

Moment - Everything - Tony - Newley - Cockney

For this one moment, everything is perfect. Tony Newley, the cockney firebrand, has met his match and found completion in fiery Joan Collins, the alpha jezebel from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

But it’s a lie.

Year - Father - Office - Doheny - Drive

A year later, it would all be over. My father would be living in his office on nearby Doheny Drive, having his tawdry affair with the automobile heiress Charlotte Ford. My mother would be having hers with the record producer Ron Kass, and considering a move back to England.

When I look back at the broken storyline of my childhood, I see that the chief culprit was an ogre called Show Business. It yanked my helpless father and my mother back and forth between England and America: Broadway, Hollywood and the West End. My parents were both enslaved by the monster’s demands. It gave them no security, but kept them in the precarious state of wanting and needing the phone call from the agent with the next big gig – the only thing between them and oblivion.

Child - Insecurity - Focus

As a child, I could feel their insecurity, and knew their focus was elsewhere, not on me.

My parents arrived in Hollywood in the mid-1960s. My father was fresh from his Broadway mega-success, The Roar Of The Greasepaint – The Smell Of The Crowd.

Mother - Foray - Tinseltown - Abandon - Hearts

This was my mother’s second foray into Tinseltown. Her first, in the 1950s, had been all happy abandon. She had captured the hearts of...
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