Jackie Collins Q & A: ‘Ask Me Anything’

Jackie Collins, steamy novelist and Vanity Fair cover girl (with sister Joan Collins this month), will limo from Beverly Hills to appear at Sen. William Campbell’s Conference on Women.

Has the author of “Hollywood Wives” ever set foot in Orange County?

“No,” came her honey voice over the telephone. “I don’t think so. But I picture a lot of orange trees. I hope I won’t be disappointed.”


Collins will probably be disappointed. But the 2,000 women who will have dinner with her on April 5 at the Anaheim Hilton & Towers probably won’t be.

Using a question-and-answer format, Collins will answer “anything,” she said. “They can ask me anything they want. I’m very open. I don’t have anything I don’t want to talk about.”

Even her alleged feud with her sultry sis? (In Vanity Fair, writer Dominick Dunne presses her about “rumors of a rift.”) “There’s absolutely no feuding. We’re perfectly good friends. She’s in Europe for a few months. . . . “

The woman, whose 11 volumes have sold 65 million copies, chose to appear at the conference, she said, because she sees herself as a strong woman who must help spread the message that “women need to be stronger. . . . Women have always been pushed into positions in the bedroom, the kitchen, the work force. Women can do anything . I give that message in my books.

“My books are successful because I’m turning the double standard--men can get away with anything, women are not supposed to get away with anything--on its head.”

Collins said her biggest critics are those who have not read her books. “The Wall Street Journal once said my books are ‘embarrassing to pick up, impossible to put down.’ I write about people who are getting their act together.” She views herself as a “cross between a terrific mother and wife and voyeur who goes out, sees it all and writes all about it.”

The secret to her success? “I’m doing something I love to do, something I believe in. I get up every morning and hope I have nothing else to do that day but write.”

In her wildest dreams, could she imagine a book entitled “Orange County Wives”? “Hmmmmm. I think it would have the same ring as ‘Hollywood Wives,’ somehow,” she said.

“I think there’s probably a lot going on down there.”

Spanky McFarland, the Little Rascal with the chubby silhouette, will fly to Orange County from Ft. Worth Saturday to attend “A Dinner with the Stars,” a benefit for the American Cinema Awards Foundation, sponsored by Johnny Walker Black Label and American Airlines.

“I’m bringing along an original photograph of the (‘Little Rascals’) gang for the auction,” said McFarland, who will be 60 in October. “They have tremendous value in nostalgia shops now. They can go for up to $500.”

McFarland, chatting over the phone from Texas, said he is “halfway retired. I had a 29-year sales career in electronics. I retired from that three years ago. But I have a two-hour film and lecture show that I take to colleges and universities. I bring along film clips from the old days and tell the kids what it was like.”

Milton Berle, who will introduce such stars as Maureen O’Sullivan, Robert Cummings and Ruby Keeler at the Irvine Marriott, will bring books for auction that he’s penned over the years, including his new, “B. S., I Love You.”

“And the B. S. doesn’t stand for Barbara Stanwyck,” he said.

Does he remember ever being in Orange County? “Are you kidding?” he said. “I filmed ‘It’s a Mad, Mad World’ there.”

What city? “Palos Verdes,” he said.

When avant-garde fashion designer Christian de Lenclos visited Newport Beach last week, he tripped the light fantastic--tossed down some OJ and danced with “some beautiful women"--at the Hop in Fountain Valley.

When home in Paris, the 37-year old designer--who’s making huge fashion waves in Paris, Portugal, Spain and Belgium--frequents Regine’s.

“I loved the Hop,” he said, via an interpreter, from his suite at Le Meridien. “It was nice to see simple, happy people.”

Lenclos was in town for a three-day fling to get “a feel for the area,” he said. “Inspect the site.”

On April 19, he will present a “Vision of Light” show at Le Meridien that will parade his architecturally designed fashions, many of which feature blinking, electronic beads.

The $50-per-person event, with proceeds benefitting the Hoag Cancer Center, will mark the first time the designer’s fashions have been shown in this country.