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Bo Derek Bio
Bo Derek (born November 20, 1956 as Mary Cathleen Collins) is an American film and television Actress, movie producer, and Model perhaps best known for her breakthrough role in the 1979 film 10. The film also launched a bestselling poster for Derek in a swimsuit, and subsequently she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1980s. She was directed by husband John Derek in Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981), Bolero (1984) and Ghosts Can’t Do It (1989), none of which was critically well received. A widow since 1998, she lives with actor John Corbett. She makes occasional film, television, and documentary appearances.
While attending Narbonne High School in Los Angeles at age 16 in 1973, Cathleen became romantically involved with John Derek, a married man 30 years her senior. Not long after the two started dating, John divorced his wife, Actress Linda Evans. The couple moved to Germany, where John Derek would not be subject to prosecution under California statutory rape laws due to Cathleen’s illicit underage association with Derek.
In 1973 in Germany, John began to pursue making a film starring Cathleen. Entitled Fantasies, he planned the film as a low-budget English-language romantic drama, and cast her alongside several unknown German actors and actresses. It was shot over a 10-day period in Greece in the summer of 1973. In an effort to capitalize on Bo’s beauty, John had several risqué scenes worked into the film, which showcased the unknown Cathleen’s good looks, featuring her in revealing outfits, as well as some brief nudity. Due to the fierce controversy that surrounded Fantasies, Derek had it re-edited twice before trying to sell it to studios. The film went unreleased until 1981, when as Bo Derek, the Actress had already achieved a sex symbol status.
They married on June 10, 1976; she was 19 and he was 49. By that time, John Derek had given his young wife a so-called Hollywood makeover. She had bleached her hair Blonde and adopted the name Bo Derek. In 1977, she caught the eye of director Michael Anderson and was cast in a small role in his upcoming horror flick, Orca (1977), which was Anderson’s answer to major success of Jaws. The film received a minor theatrical release in July 1977 and was an ultimate box-office disappointment.
In 1979, Derek was selected over Melanie Griffith, Heather Thomas, and several others for the role of Jenny Hanley in the romantic comedy film 10. Directed by Blake Edwards, the film starred Dudley Moore as a middle-aged man who finds Derek’s character to be the ideal woman for him, though he is already in a relationship with another woman, played by Julie Andrews. Derek’s appearance in a dream sequence, racing towards Moore in a flimsy flesh-colored swimsuit, became iconic, and launched her status as a mainstream sex symbol. This sequence and Derek’s cornrow hairstyle in the film have often been parodied. 10 became a critical and financial blockbuster.
After 10, Derek was immediately cast in A Change of Seasons (1980), a dramatic-comedy film, alongside Shirley MacLaine and Anthony Hopkins. She played a young college student who has an affair with her older, married professor. Critics reviewed it unfavorably and A Change of Seasons had only a moderate box-office success. She followed with MGM’s R-rated Tarzan, the Ape Man in 1981. Directed by husband John Derek, the film dealt very little on the title character of Tarzan, but instead focused more on Derek’s character of Jane Parker, along with numerous scenes of her in revealing jungle costumes.
The film gave Derek her first leading role in a mainstream Hollywood film. Due to its strong dwelling on the role of Jane, the film was originally to be entitled Me, Jane, Jane and Tarzan, or Searching for Tarzan. Filming took place on location in Sri Lanka on a moderate budget of $6.5 million. John Derek wanted to showcase his wife’s physical appeal and required her to wear risqué outfits in several scenes, which generated controversy. In one scene, Bo appeared nude while several African women were bathing her and later she was nude again while they painted her white. Before the film was released, John Derek and MGM were sued by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate over the name of the film, as Derek’s role and body overshadowed the story of Tarzan. The film was strongly criticized by critics.
On March 31, 1981, Derek (along with Faye Dunaway for Mommie Dearest) won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress. Tarzan, the Ape Man became a box-office success, making over $35 million in ticket sales, and becoming the 15th highest-grossing film of 1981.
In August 1980, Derek was first featured in Playboy magazine. She posed again for the September 1981 issue. By the early 1980s, Derek’s film career had begun to crumble. Between 1981 and 1983, Derek had no film offers. She made frequent public appearances, and was featured on magazine covers and as a guest on television talk shows. In 1984, she filmed Bolero, directed by her husband. The film explored the female protagonist’s sexual awakening, and her journey around the world to find an ideal first lover to take her virginity. The sexual nature of the film, along with substantial nudity and questionable content, resulted in the film being given an X rating, usually reserved for pornographic or extremely violent horror films.
Critical reviews for Bolero were poor, and the film failed to recoup its production costs at the box office. Derek’s performance of the young, sexually inexperienced female lead was given the worst reviews. On March 24, 1985, she again won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress. Bolero won other Raspberry awards, including Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Picture, Worst New Star, and Worst Musical Score. The film was called Derek’s worst screen performance, but has since become her second-most popular film, after 10.
After a five-year hiatus from films, Derek returned with the drama/comedy/fantasy Ghosts Can’t Do It, which was filmed and released on video in foreign countries in 1989. It did not receive a theatrical release in the United States until June 1990. It was the final teaming of Bo as lead Actress and her husband John as director. The film was John Derek’s imitation of the fantasy film Ghost, which was released the same year and garnered critical and financial success. Bo Derek won another “Worst Actress” award for her performance, and the film also won Worst Picture, Worst Director, and Worst Supporting Actor awards. Ghosts Can’t Do It was criticized and was a box-office failure.
Upon the release of Ghosts Can’t Do It, Derek and her husband took a break from acting due to John’s declining health. Bo returned to acting in the 1992 television movie Hot Chocolate, which was followed by Shattered Image in 1994, another television film. She returned to theatrical films with the 1994 R-rated romance Woman of Desire. The film co-starred film legend Robert Mitchum and received a minor theatrical release. Due to its lack of publicity, the studio released the film on VHS the same day it premiered in theaters.
In 1995, Derek appeared as the evil Beverly Barish in the comedy film Tommy Boy. The film received mixed reviews from critics, but was a financial success. Derek was again nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress, but Lost to Madonna (for Four Rooms). In 1998, her husband of 22 years, John Derek, died suddenly.
Later that year, she guest-starred on four episodes of Wind on Water. In 1999, she appeared on The Drew Carey Show. In the early 2000s, she appeared in guest roles on the shows Family Law, Queen of Swords, Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, Lucky, Still Standing, and 7th Heaven.
Bo Derek appeared in several feature films, including Frozen with Fear and Malibu’s Most Wanted. On March 25, 2000, at the 20th Golden Raspberry Awards, Derek was nominated for Worst Actress of the Century. She shared this nomination with Madonna, Brooke Shields, Elizabeth Berkley, and Pia Zadora: eventually, Madonna won the award. In 2006, Derek starred in 40 episodes of the 65-episode telenovela series Fashion House, along with Morgan Fairchild. Derek had a featured role in the 2015 campy made-for-TV horror film Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!. Derek is set to be a part of the 2016 Comedy Central roast of R&B Lowe.
Bo Derek (age: 62) is an actress, model (one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1980s) is known for 10, Tarzan, the Ape Man, Bolero and Ghosts Can't Do It.