Let's face it. Only in Los Angeles can a woman faint in a courtroom and suddenly find producers clamoring to have her act in a TV Movie of the Week based on her life.
"L.A. is crazy, and I love it," says 23-year-old Romina Danielson, the "other woman" in the much-publicized Joan Collins-Peter Holm divorce trial. "I always knew I was going to become a star."
First there was Jessica Hahn, who broke open the Jim Bakker scandal. Then Donna Rice, who brought down Gary Hart. And now the latest in this summer's parade of notorious women is Danielson, better known by the nickname Holm gave her, "the Passion Flower."
"But I must say I'm very different from these other women," the would-be actress said at her home on Mulholland Drive, where she lives with her ex-husband, Swedish real estate magnate Axel Danielson. "I have all the wealth and power that I need already. They don't. They just got involved with someone who did. I have all the time with me my bodyguard, my secretary, my personal valet and my Mercedes stretch limousine. I live in a castle. I have a tycoon as an ex-husband. I am so young, but I have everything I need. I have more than I need."
Media Stardom Awaits
This week Danielson becomes a bona-fide media star. She is scheduled to appear on "Good Morning America" Tuesday, on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson later in the week, on Fox Broadcasting's "Late Show" sometime soon, and in the next issue of People magazine. Playboy, where she once tested for the centerfold, has offered her $150,000 to pose for a nude pictorial "based on my love story with Peter," she said. "I don't know if I'm going to do it. I'm very confused right now." A British tabloid has dangled $175,000 in front of her for an interview, and she just received a phone call from her new publicity agent saying Harper's Bazaar and Vogue want her to model.
Last Friday, Danielson's hoped-for acting career took off when a Hollywood production company told her they wanted to turn her story into TV entertainment.
"They told me not to say which one," she said. "We're still negotiating, but they said they want me to star in it, of course."
She's so excited about even being interviewed on TV that she's designing some special dresses for her appearances. And now, when she telephones people and they don't know who she is right away, she explains: "I'm the Passion Flower." One publicist in town who received just such a call from Danielson, who was asking him to help her, confessed: "I thought it was a gag at first."
Danielson thinks that Hollywood is seeking her out because she's "something different. They already say that with my accent, my look, my being, I'm like a young Sophia Loren. She's getting older now, and they need an Italian star."
Not one for modesty (her Ferrari's personalized license plates read "I'm sexy 2"), Danielson says she's not at all embarrassed to talk about her affair with Holm "because I want people to know the truth. I want them to stop saying I fainted because I'm a good actress and I was paid money."
Had Many Affairs
Born in Rome, she came to Los Angeles five years ago to study special education at UCLA when she met Danielson. Though she was 21 and he was 77, they married, moved into a mansion atop a mountain on Mulholland Drive, and almost from the start, she said, she had affairs during their year-and-a-half marriage.
"My husband obviously didn't mind for me to go out with other men because I was so much younger and I was his whole life," she said.
The story of her affair with Holm came out in court, of how they met when he came to the house to visit a Swedish friend in November, 1984, and immediately became involved, of how they kept seeing each other even after the one-time Swedish pop singer married Collins. "There was just something about him . . . the way he called me his 'Passion Flower.' The way he'd bring me roses all the time. The way he flattered me with his mouth."
Pictures Were Destroyed
Now, Danielson said, no one knew of their affair until a Swedish journalist began staying at her house and saw them together. The reporter took pictures of the lovers, but Danielson had her personal valet destroy them. After Collins filed for divorce, however, the journalist called up the actress' lawyer, Marvin Mitchelson, and offered to testify about Holm's affair, Danielson claims.
But Mitchelson said, "Romina is the one I want," Danielson recalls. "So then Mitchelson called me and said he knows. And he said he's going to subpoena me so I better come and talk to him. And I got very scared." Danielson says she fainted on the witness stand because of all the stress she was under. "I was scared of Peter. I knew he would get back at me. And Joan Collins was looking at me horrified. The whole world was listening to my sex life, and I was embarrassed. I couldn't take it anymore. The anxiety got to me."
The very next day, interview and acting offers came rolling in.