Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
November 20, 1956
1979 - 1995
Currently Known For:
10 (Film), Affair with John Derek
“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” Wowing the world with her slow-motion beach run wearing a nude colored bikini with braids in her hair, Bo Derek instantly found fame as an actress and international sex symbol after she starred in the 1979 film 10. Her fame followed her well into the 1980s as she appeared in films like Tarzan the Ape Man, Bolero and Ghosts while enjoying every minute of her success with her husband, John Derek, until his death in 1998. Since then, the former model has aged gracefully in and out of the spotlight while embracing her second chance at love with actor John Corbett. So, what’s her Hollywood story and what’s she been up to over the last few decades? Let’s find out!
Born as Mary Cathleen Collins on November 20, 1956 in Long Beach, California, her father worked as an executive with the renowned Hobie Cat Company while her mother was a stylist and makeup artist for celebrities like Ann-Margret. With her parents eventually divorcing, Cathleen attended the George S. Patton Continuation School and Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California but was more interested in life outside the classroom than what her teachers had to say. During an interview on Late Night with David Letterman, she confessed, “I was 16 when I quit high school. I didn’t really mean to quit. I spent about a month going to the beach surfing and sunbathing while I was supposed to be in school—when I got caught, my mom was furious. I started to go back to school, and I was really enjoying it and then I went to go do this film with John in Greece…”
Only 16 years old when she first met actor and director John Derek, the two had an instant connection as he offered her a role in his latest movie. “He said the only problem is you’d have to leave school and go to Greece,” she recalled during an interview with Interview Magazine in 2016. “It took me about two seconds to make that decision. And my mom was very cool. She came along as my chaperone, on the gorgeous island of Mykonos, in the winter, so we were the only foreigners there. It was magical.”
Although she was only 16 years old at the time and John—who was 30 years older—was married to actress Linda Evans of Dynasty fame, the two became romantically involved as their love story unfolded over the next few weeks in Greece and eventually led John to divorce his wife. Because of Cathleen’s age and California’s statutory rape laws, the couple then moved to Germany and spent the next few years traveling around Europe before John ignited even more controversy with his 1973 low-budget film, Fantasies. Meant to capture Cathleen’s incredible beauty with revealing outfits and nudity, the film was a huge failure as John struggled to find a studio willing to jump on board thanks to Cathleen’s age and the existing controversy surrounding their affair.
By 1976, the couple returned to Hollywood where the 19-year-old shocked the world with her freshly dyed blonde hair and sex appeal as she exchanged vows with the 49-year-old Derek and adopted the name, “Bo.” Thanks to her recent makeover, Bo caught the attention of director Michael Anderson who cast her in the 1977 flick Orca, which came on the heels of the widely successful Jaws. In 1979, Bo auditioned for and won the part of Jenny Hanley in the romantic comedy 10, which became a critical and box office success while catapulting Bo’s acting career and her reputation as an international sex symbol.
On the heels of her success with 10, Bo was cast in the 1980 dramatic comedy titled A Change of Seasons opposite Shirley MacLaine and Anthony Hopkins before her husband directed the 1981 flick, Tarzan, the Ape Man. Much to everyone’s surprise, the film had little to do with Tarzan himself and, instead, focused on Bo’s first starring role as Jane Parker as she ran through the jungle wearing some of the skimpiest outfits on the silver screen. Believe it or not, critics panned the film as a flop but it became a box office success with over $35 million in sales as the 15th highest grossing film of the year. Over the next few years, she starred in the X-rated Bolero, also directed by her husband, and in Ghosts Can’t Do It before making waves in 1995 as the evil Beverly Barish in Tommy Boy.
In 1998, tragedy struck when John passed away suddenly and left Bo widowed after 22 years of marriage. Alone for the first time in her life, Bo admitted, “I’d never dated. I just decided I would wait until I had that moment of being crazy in love, or not at all. I had a great life with all my friends.” Fortunately, Bo didn’t have to wait long to find love again and, five years later in 2002, met and fell in love with actor John Corbett. Of course, her new relationship shed light on her early affair with Derek and the heartache she caused his ex-wife. “Some people could say it was meant to be, though, because I was with him until he died,” Bo told The Daily Mail, “but that just sounds like an excuse to me. It’s still the wrong thing to do… I don’t forgive myself for that.”
Today, the 60-year-old happily spends her time with Corbett but isn’t in a hurry to find her next big project. “I’m sort of in flux right now,” she admitted to Interview Magazine in 2016. “I have no new adventure. I’m sure one will come.” In the meantime, the memories of John live on as Bo says, “I loved him. It was incredible. We lived in Europe a lot of the almost 25 years we were together. There were wonderful people. We saw the world. It was fabulous…”