Larry Flynt wrote Jackie Collins 'threatening' letter after 'distressing' nude photo prompted legal battle

'Hollywood Wives,' written by the late bestselling author and sister of 'Dynasty' star Joan Collins, turns 40 this year

In 1980, a horrifying package was sent to Jackie Collins' London home.

It contained a copy of Adelina, which had published a nude photo of a woman. 

The magazine claimed it was an image of the bestselling author. It wasn't. The cover also falsely advertised that readers could see Collins participating in an "orgy."

"She was probably finishing a book that she was writing called ‘Chances’ and was just starting the ideas for ‘Hollywood Wives,'" Rory Green told Fox News Digital.


A close-up of Jackie Collins in a gold and black dress

Jackie Collins went after Larry Flynt's distributing company after an Italian magazine published a nude photo of a woman and claimed it was her. (Harry Langdon/Getty Images)

The late writer's daughter is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Collins’ book, "Hollywood Wives," a novel that pulled back the curtain on the rich and scandalous. Green said the matriarch, who wrote stories of empowered women, led by example.

"There was an … Italian pornographic magazine that Larry Flynt’s company was the distributor of," Green shared. "They published a picture of a nude woman in this pornographic magazine, and they said underneath that it was our mother. That it was Jackie Collins on set. And she was horrified. She didn’t purchase this magazine, but she started to hear about it from people in her profession, from publishers."

The younger sister of "Dynasty" star Joan Collins immediately sued Flynt Distributing Company, the publisher of Larry Flynt’s Hustler magazine. It resulted in a lengthy legal battle, but Collins refused to budge.

Jackie Collins posing with all the books shes written

According to The New York Times, the jury awarded $40 million to Jackie Collins. The judge reduced the amount to $10 million. (Paul Harris/Getty Images)

"She suddenly found herself on the receiving end of what she felt was a very demeaning situation," Green explained. "She was a fighter, our mother. She was not going to let it go. She took the case to court because she wanted a correction, but she also wanted the magazine off the stands. There was a court case in New York. It all dragged on for quite a long time. It was quite distressing for her because she wasn’t able to concentrate on her writing at the time."


In 1985, The New York Times reported a federal jury awarded Collins $40 million in damages. The judge cut it to $10 million, the outlet reported.

"It was an extraordinary amount, which of course, she never saw any of it," said Green. "It went to appeal. But it felt symbolic because it was a triumph not just for her and for what she had gone through, but for all the women who were so disparaged and demeaned by men."

Larry Flynt posing in a grey blazer and black shirt surrounded by women

Larry Flynt died in 2021 at age 78. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Collins died in 2015 at age 77 from breast cancer. While grieving, Collins’ daughters made a surprising discovery.

"We were going through her personal possessions, [and] we found a very threatening letter that [Flynt] had written to her after she was awarded the $40 million," said Green. "She had appeared on ‘The Tonight Show,’ and she was being interviewed by Johnny Carson. 

"She had been talking about the lawsuit and the court case. We found this letter from Larry Flynt. … It was extremely vulgar and threatening. It was horrifying. … It was very distressing. We didn’t know it had been written at the time. … It was an example of the vitriol that she was on the receiving end of."


Larry Flynt wrote Jackie Collins threatening letter after distressing nude photo prompted legal battleVideo

Green refused to repeat the contents of Flynt’s message. But Air Mail reported that the letter opened with the line, "Get off your high horse you f------’ b---h-."

A black and white photo of Jackie Collins being interviewed by Johnny Carson

Jackie Collins being interviewed by Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show." (Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

"When men felt threatened by her, she was on the receiving end of this high level of vitriol," said Green. "She also had a lot of male critics. I think a lot of male critics felt intimidated by her work."

It wouldn’t be the last time Collins channeled one of her characters.

In 1985, Collins was dropping off her pal, Sidney Poitier’s wife Joanna, home from a dinner party. Collins was driving, and Green’s father, Oscar Lerman, was in the passenger seat.


Sidney Poitier, wife Joanna Shimkus wearing formal wear at a Hollywood party

Sidney Poitier (center), wife Joanna Shimkus (left) and Jackie Collins attend the 20th Annual Promise Ball Honoring Barbara Davis Nov. 13, 1992, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

"As she rolled down the window, suddenly a car appeared from nowhere," said Green. "It was late at night, and before she knew it, there was a gun in her face. She described it at the time as a machine gun. It was a big gun. It wasn’t a small pistol. 

"And the guy who was holding them up said, ‘Get out of the beeping car, or I’ll blow your head off.' … I think she just had this moment of adrenaline where she thought, ‘If we’re going to die right here, I’m going to try and escape it.’ She put the car in reverse, and she sped off … in Beverly Hills.

"I think the guy must have been so shocked," Green laughed. "He probably never thought in a million years that this would happen, particularly when he was holding up a woman. … He didn’t shoot."


Green recalled seeing her parents rush inside their home. The police were called.

Jackie Collins is wearing all black standing behind her beverly hills home

Jackie Collins at her Beverly Hills home that she designed, circa 1995. (Paul Harris/Getty Images)

"Thank God she took a risk," said Green. "She had a character that she wrote called Lucky Santangelo, and we think at that moment she was channeling Lucky, [who] was like a female James Bond."

That year, "Dynasty" producer Aaron Spelling launched the hit TV miniseries "Hollywood Wives." It starred Candice Bergen, Angie Dickinson and Suzanne Somers, among others.


Collins’ daughter Tiffany Lerman told Fox News Digital that despite persistent rumors, her mother and famous aunt were far from rivals.

Joan Collins wearing a snakeskin jacket and jackie collins wearing a black and red dress

Joan Collins and Jackie Collins remained close over the years. (Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

"I think they like to play them against each other, that [there’s this] big sibling rivalry, this big feud. That’s just not the case," Lerman stressed. "They loved each other very much. They were very close sisters. And sisters fight. Rory and I fight. We all have [our] moments. It’s a family dynamic. And I think because they were in the public eye, people wanted more. They wanted that gossip.

"We grew up in a warm, loving family," Lerman shared. "Joan spent Christmases with us and Easters with us. … Before our mom died, they were still together, always going to Costco and going for lunch and movies. It was devastating for Joan when she lost her sister. … I know that she really misses her."


Green noted that as Joan, now 90, skyrocketed to fame, Jackie found herself pressured to also become an actress. But writing was always her true calling.

Joan Collins watching her sister Jackie Collins write

Actresses and siblings Jackie Collins (left) and Joan Collins catching up on correspondence while on location making the film "Land of the Pharaohs," circa 1955. (Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

"Joan … became very successful very quickly," Green explained. "I think our mother in some ways always felt when she was younger that she was a little bit in her shadow. … But she was always a writer. Acting was never her thing. … Her father was very disparaging of her when she said that she wanted to be a writer. … I think that she always felt a little bit at odds because she wanted to follow her true path. And she eventually did.

A glamour shot of Jackie Collins posing in a bikini at the beach

Despite facing pressure to become an actress, Jackie Collins wanted to be a writer. (Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

"But I think those first early 20s she was struggling because she tried to take the acting path," Green continued. "It wasn’t right for her. She really started to get a sense of being so objectified. … And it made her angry. And that’s why she ended up writing the books that she did."

Collins sold hundreds of millions copies of novels in dozens of countries. Her publishing empire created a level of wealth, celebrity and glamor that in many ways surpassed her own characters and arguably matched that of her older sister. Her tales' sex, power and more sex were a forerunner to the culture of "Desperate Housewives" and "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." 


"Hollywood Wives" sold more than 15 million copies alone. It came out the same time her sister hit the height of her own fame on "Dynasty." Her final novel was published the year she died.

Green and Lermen said they never learned the true identities of the characters in "Hollywood Wives."

The book cover for Jackie Collins Hollywood Wives

"Hollywood Wives" turns 40 this year. (Gallery Books)

"We haven’t heard from anyone," said Lerman. "I think they felt safe in her hands because they knew she would never expose her sources. She used to say she felt like a psychiatrist because they would come and tell her their issues, their problems, their secrets. … And she wouldn’t reveal their names, so they would never be exposed.

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