Joanna Poitier Remembers Jackie Collins: "She Was the Bravest Person I Knew"

Jackie Collins - H 2015

The wife of Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier pays tribute to the best-selling British author, who died Sept. 19 of breast cancer: "I consider myself her best friend, but a lot of other people would say the same thing."

This story first appeared in the Oct. 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Jackie was amazing. She was the bravest person I knew. She lived her life to the end, to the fullest, and she did it the way she wanted to do it. I've known her [for more than 50 years], since I was 19. I consider myself her best friend, but a lot of other people would say the same thing.

We had a life together. There was one thing we did that was like a ritual: She flew a lot on planes and didn't like flying, and every time she flew, I'd call her and say, "You fly safely, my little darling," and she'd say, "If you say so, I will." And I'd say, "You will because I said so." Those were the last words I said to her.

Every Saturday we had lunch, without fail, with either her children or Laura Lizer, who was our business manager, and we'd catch up. It was another ritual. She was the best mother — that's what nobody knew about her. She was so simple and normal, really normal. Aside from going out to parties and stuff like that, she was a normal person. At the end, she didn't let on to anybody, except her children, how sick she was. She was just that way. I admire her for her strength and courage to continue her life the way she wanted to do it. I loved her with all my heart.