Picks and Pans Review: Past Imperfect

updated 05/14/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/14/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Joan Collins

Don't get your motors racing too fast, Dynasty fans. Yes, this is the Joan Collins who plays Alexis on that TV supersoap, and yes, this is her much-talked-about autobiography, first published in England in 1978 and updated for this American edition. But her revelations about her past are hardly a scandal in these days of fornicate-and-tell celebrity memoirs. Collins does name some of the many famous men whose advances she rejected—Harry Belafonte, Ryan O'Neal and Darryl Zanuck, for example. She also names quite a few she didn't reject—among them actor Maxwell Reed, who, she says, drugged and deflowered her when she was 17, Sydney Chaplin and Warren Beatty. (Collins became pregnant with Beatty's child but had an abortion, and their relationship disintegrated after a stormy two years; she refers to him as "pimply, bespectacled, white-faced Warren.") All these anecdotes are related in a cold-blooded, jaded and not exactly juicily detailed style. The only time Collins seems to work up much passion is when she reports how, in pre-Dynasty days, she was reduced to applying for unemployment benefits in Los Angeles, and how terrified she was in 1980 when the youngest of her" three children, Katy, was" hit and nearly killed by a car in Paris. Otherwise Collins spends a lot of time wondering whether she is capable of true love (the answer seems to be yes, but not for much more than two weeks at a stretch) and how her astrologer's predictions for her life are holding up. Old Alexis herself would never be caught dead reading such a spurious book. (Simon and Schuster, $16.95)

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