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Bo Derek (1956)

Mary Cathleen Collins

Type :  


Mary Cathleen Collins , better known as Bo Derek, is an American film and television actress, model, and sex symbol, known for her role as Jenny Hanley in the 1979 smash box-office hit comedy film 10. However, Derek's future films were poorly received by both the public and the critics. These films included, Tarzan, the Ape Man , Bolero , and Ghosts Can't Do It . Today she makes only the occasional film, television or documentary appearance.


 early life
Derek was born Mary Cathleen Collins in Long Beach, California. She is of Irish, French, Dutch and Welsh descent. Her father, Paul Collins, was a Hobie Cat executive, and her mother, Norma Bass, was a make-up artist and hairdresser to Ann-Margret. Derek's parents divorced, and her mother married American stunt performer Bobby Bass.

Derek attended Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California. She then attended George S. Patton Continuation School, which is adjacent to Narbonne.

Her first acting job was a leading role in her husband, John Derek's R-rated film, Fantasies, which was filmed in 1973. However, the film wasn't easy to get a studio to buy; it was released to theaters in 1981. Many doubt that Derek appeared in the feature but she did; she was billed as Kathleen Collins. She made her second film, 1977's horror film Orca; which was created as a spin-off of the 1975 horror film, Jaws. Since Orca was Derek's first appearance on the screen, this film is often been cited as her "film debut".

Derek first came to prominence when she co-starred in the 1979 Blake Edwards film 10, in which Dudley Moore's character is torn between his love for Julie Andrews's character and his fascination with Derek's character. As a result of the film, Bo received a Golden Globe nomination for new star of the year.

After the release of 10, Derek was skyrocketed to instant film stardom and a sex symbol super status. Her cornrow hairstyle became iconic, and has often been parodied and re-created. During the late-1970s and early 1980s, Derek was often considered a rival to television sex symbol Farrah Fawcett, who rose to fame as Jill Munroe on the private detective series Charlie's Angels, during its first season (1976-1977). However, by the mid-1980s, Derek had overshawdowed Fawcett, and Fawcett's offers for acting jobs had declined, as did Derek's, due to the projects Bo chose. Even so, she remained a popular sex symbol on into the late-1980s.

Some of Bo Derek's subsequent films were not well-received by either the public or critics. Her follow-up to her supporting role in the smash-hit 10, was another supporting role in A Change of Seasons, in 1980, which starred Shirley MacLaine and Anthony Hopkins. The film was critically panned and was a box-office failure.

In the 1981 film Tarzan, the Ape Man, Derek was finally given her first starring role, as Jane Parker. Interestingly, the producers of the film were actually sued by the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate over the name of the film, as Derek's role and physique seemed to overshadow the focus on Tarzan himself. Despite this fuss, the film was critically panned, but, however, the film was a success.

She followed this film with the sexually-charged Bolero, in 1984, about a young woman who takes a trip around the world looking for someone to take her virginity. The film was originally rated-X, but was later released as rated-R. It would be five years before Derek would appear on the screen again, playing subsequent role in her husband's production of Ghosts Can't Do It, in 1989.

She made the first of many appearances in Playboy, starting with the March 1980 issue. Her first pictorial was photographed by then husband John, on a secluded beach along an unnamed area of the Colorado River. The twelve page spread featured a few with her and her pet greyhound together jogging and sunbathing, as well as her sailing and swimming in the river, all nude. She appeared on the cover in a bikini.

She won a Golden Raspberry Worst Actress Award for Tarzan, the Ape Man , Bolero and Ghosts Can't Do It , and was nominated in 2000 as the "Worst Actress of the Century". She appeared as Jamie Kennedy's mom and Ryan O'Neal's wife in Malibu's Most Wanted . Derek was a judge at the Miss Universe 2004 pageant.

In 2006, she became a television personality, with one of the leading roles in the telenovela drama series Fashion House. The series ran for 65 episodes, though, Derek herself appeared in only 40 episodes. She also appeared in 7th Heaven, Lucky, and Queens of Swords''.


Derek is a conservative Republican who supported George H. W. Bush in 1988 and 1992 and campaigned for his son George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and she appeared at both Republican conventions. Derek has also appeared at public events with Republican Congressman David Dreier of Southern California.

When White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten was asked about the nature of his relationship with Bo Derek on the April 30, 2006 edition of Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Bolten identified Derek as a "friend" and as a "strong supporter of the President."

In 2006, Bo Derek was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts by President George W. Bush, serving on the Operations Committee.

 personal life
 Horse owner and activist
A horse lover and riding enthusiast since childhood, she is the owner of Andalusian horses and is a spokesperson for the Animal Welfare Institute's national campaign to end horse slaughter through passage of federal and state legislation. On February 5, 2002, she published her autobiography entitled Riding Lessons: Everything That Matters in Life I Learned from Horses (ISBN 0-060-39437-4).

Derek currently serves on the California Horse Racing Board.

 Wounded veterans advocate
She is National Honorary Chairperson for Veterans Affairs' National Rehabilitation Special Events. Derek attended the 17th annual Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic held in Snowmass Village, Colorado. In 2003, Derek was presented with the VA's highest honor by Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony Principi. Derek also goes on United Service Organizations tours. The Special Forces Association named her an honorary Green Beret.

Derek's father, Paul Collins, was a radio operator during the Korean War, and both her stepfather and her late husband, John Derek, were also veterans.

On an audition trail, she met director John Derek, 30 years her senior. John filed for divorce from his wife, actress Linda Evans, and John and Bo moved to Germany to avoid John being charged with statutory rape under U.S. law due to Bo's being only 16. The couple returned to America soon after Bo's 18th birthday, and they married in 1976. They remained married until his death from heart failure in 1998.

Since 2002, she has been involved with actor John Corbett.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Bo Derek", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.