Bo Derek Biography (1956-)

Bo Derek. Born Mary Cathleen Collins on November 20, 1956 in Torrance, California. An aspiring model, 16-year-old Collins was introduced to actor/director/cinematographer John Derek in 1971. Just as he had done with young up-and-comers Ursula Andress and Linda Evans, Derek molded Collins into a highly desirable superstar. In 1974, the 48-year-old Derek married his 18-year-old protege, and was born.

In her first film, Orca, Derek had a short-lived role as the victim of a killer whale. Her next project proved to be more promising, as the ultra-sexy Jenny in the Blake Edwards’ comedy 10 (1979). The scene with a bikini-clad Derek bouncing along the beach in slow motion to the pulsating rhythms of Ravel’s Bolero has become the stuff of legend, catapulting her into icon status. She followed this sucess with two adventure films directed by her husband: Tarzan the Ape Man (1981) and, perhaps not coincidentally, Bolero (1984).

In 1990, after six years away from films, she returned in another Derek/Derek co-production, the unsuccessful Ghosts Can’t Do It. She continues to appear on the big screen, although sporadically, in such films as the Italian Sognando La California (1991) and Woman of Desire (1994).

She and John Derek remained married until his death in 1998 at the age of 71.

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