The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - PUZZLE TIME -

Jackie Collins is my neigh­bour in Bev­erly Hills, liv­ing a few streets away in a fab­u­lous white man­sion she built with her late hus­band back in the early Nineties. (Sadly, he died the week be­fore it was fin­ished.)

Tonight, she threw a lav­ish din­ner that lived up to ev­ery ex­pec­ta­tion of any­one who’s read her splen­didly racy, glam­orous nov­els about Hol­ly­wood.

I knew it was go­ing to be a mem­o­rable party when the very first per­son Jackie in­tro­duced me to was a strik­ingly at­trac­tive lady whose face seemed very fa­mil­iar. ‘Piers, you must know Raquel?’ Well, I do, but only from my dor­mi­tory wall at board­ing school.

It was Raquel Welch, ar­guably the great­est pin-up of them all. A woman who be­came a global su­per­star on the back of one im­mor­tal poster of her in a furry bikini pro­mot­ing the movie One Mil­lion Years BC.

‘I had three lines, was on screen for about six min­utes, and thought I was just mak­ing a di­nosaur film that no­body would take much no­tice of,’ she laughed, as we drank cock­tails. ‘But I was wrong! That poster made me very fa­mous overnight.

‘I re­mem­ber land­ing back at Heathrow after they went up and pho­tog­ra­phers were all go­ing crazy. I knew then my life would never be the same. It was a surreal ex­pe­ri­ence.’

As we chat­ted, Jackie re­turned to ad­mir­ingly say: ‘Your t**s are amaz­ing, Raquel!’ An in­dis­putable fact, and not sur­pris­ing given Play­boy once voted her Most De­sired Woman of the Decade for the Sev­en­ties. ‘Thank you dar­ling, they’re all nat­u­ral too.’

Another lady came to say hello. ‘Hi, I’m Joanna, Sid­ney Poitier’s wife.’

Ah, Sid­ney. One of the all- time great Hol­ly­wood stars – he was the f i rst black per­son to win the Best Ac­tor Os­car, for his role in Lilies Of The Field, and some­one I used to ad­mire from afar when I lived at the Bev­erly Wil­shire ho­tel and he used to break­fast there ev­ery week.

‘What’s the best and worst thing about liv­ing with an icon?’ I asked.

‘Well, the best is that Sid­ney’s just

‘I haven’t seen you since you stroked my chas­sis,’ I said to Melanie Grif­fith. ‘It’s true, you have a mag­nif­i­cent chas­sis and I just couldn’t help

my­self,’ she said

as nice, de­cent and charm­ing as you would think, which is why I’ve been with him for 48 years.

‘The worst is that I made a ter­ri­ble mis­take when we first started dat­ing and cooked him a re­ally good meal. Since then, I’ve had to cook him a re­ally good meal ev­ery damn night for 48 years!’

I spied Sid­ney sit­ting on a sofa nearby so went over and in­tro­duced my­self. He’s now 87 but looks no more than 60, and has a bone- crush­ing hand­shake.

I told him Joanna’s big re­gret and he burst out laugh­ing. ‘ That’s true – after that first meal, I re­alised she was a won­der­ful cook, so I re­quested that she cook for me ev­ery night.’

‘Re­quested?’ roared Joanna. ‘De­manded more like! Each night I ask him what he wants from a list of things like lob­ster, shrimp, turkey, chicken or steak. Sid­ney makes his se­lec­tion and I cook it for him.’

He beamed. ‘ It’s a per­fect ar­range­ment!’ This was the purest il­lus­tra­tion of the proverb ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stom­ach’ that I’ve ever seen.

I sat at my ta­ble and found I was with Jackie’s sis­ter Joan, for­mer LA Law star Harry Ham­lin and Melanie Grif­fith.

‘I haven’t seen you since you stroked my chas­sis,’ I told the lat­ter.

Joan nearly choked on her wine. Melanie smiled. ‘It’s true, you have a mag­nif­i­cent chas­sis and I just couldn’t help my­self.’

We both knew she was al­lud­ing to my As­ton Martin, which she lov­ingly

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