Bo Derek: The Life and Career of a Hollywood Icon


Bo Derek is a name that evokes beauty, glamour, and controversy. She is one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, thanks to her breakthrough role in the 1979 film “10”, which catapulted her to stardom and made her a sex symbol. But behind the scenes, Bo Derek has also faced many challenges and tragedies, as well as triumphs and joys. She has been married twice, once to a man 30 years older than her, and once to a man 17 years younger than her. She has been a friend and a rival to some of the most famous women in showbiz, such as Linda Evans and Ursula Andress. She has also been a passionate advocate for animal rights and conservation, producing documentaries and supporting various causes. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of Bo Derek’s life, career, and personal experiences, and how they have shaped her into the woman she is today.

How Bo Derek Became a Model and Met John Derek

Bo Derek was born Mary Cathleen Collins on November 20, 1956, in Long Beach, California. She was the eldest of four children of Paul Collins, a boat salesman and executive, and Norma Bass, a make-up artist and hairdresser. Bo Derek grew up in a comfortable and loving family, enjoying outdoor activities such as horseback riding, surfing, and skiing. She attended Narbonne High School and George S. Patton Continuation School, but dropped out at 16 to pursue a career in modeling.

Bo Derek’s entry into the modeling world was facilitated by her mother, who had contacts in the industry. She arranged for her daughter to meet with a photographer named John Derek, who was looking for a new face for a film he was directing. John Derek was a former actor who had starred in films such as “The Ten Commandments” and “Exodus”, but had turned to directing and producing low-budget movies. He was also married to actress Linda Evans, who was his fourth wife.

When Bo Derek met John Derek in 1973, she was instantly smitten by him. He was 46 years old, while she was only 16. He was also charmed by her beauty and innocence, and offered her a role in his film “Fantasies”, which was shot in Greece. Bo Derek accepted the offer, and soon began a romantic relationship with John Derek, despite the age difference and his marital status. John Derek divorced Linda Evans in 1974, and fled with Bo Derek to Germany, where they lived for several years to avoid statutory rape charges in the US. They married in 1976, after Bo Derek turned 18.

Bo Derek’s Breakthrough Role in 10 and Its Impact on Her Career

Bo Derek’s career took off in 1979, when she starred in the comedy film “10”, directed by Blake Edwards and co-starring Dudley Moore and Julie Andrews. Bo Derek played Jenny Hanley, a young woman who becomes the object of obsession for a middle-aged composer named George Webber (Moore), who is going through a midlife crisis. Bo Derek’s performance was praised for its humor and charm, and she became an overnight sensation. She also created a fashion trend with her cornrow hairstyle, which she wore in the film.

Bo Derek’s role in “10” earned her a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year, and made her one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood. She appeared on the cover of several magazines, such as Playboy, Cosmopolitan, and People. She also received many offers for film roles, but she turned down most of them, preferring to work with her husband, who had complete creative control over her projects. She said in an interview, “I have no desire to be a star. I want to be a good actress and work with John.”

Bo Derek’s decision to work exclusively with John Derek proved to be detrimental to her career, as the films they made together were critically panned and commercially unsuccessful. Some of these films include “Tarzan, the Ape Man” (1981), “Bolero” (1984), and “Ghosts Can’t Do It” (1989). Bo Derek was often criticized for her lack of acting skills, and for relying on her sex appeal and nudity to attract audiences. She also received several Razzie Awards, which are given to the worst films and performances of the year. She won the Razzie for Worst Actress four times, and the Razzie for Worst Picture twice.

Bo Derek’s Other Film Roles and Projects in the 1980s and 1990s

Bo Derek’s career declined in the 1980s and 1990s, as she struggled to find quality roles and projects. She appeared in a few films that were either poorly received or went unnoticed, such as “Orca” (1977), “A Change of Seasons” (1980), “Tommy Boy” (1995), and “Sunstorm” (2001). She also made some television appearances, such as in “The Drew Carey Show” (1996), “Wind on Water” (1998), and “Queen of Swords” (2000).

Bo Derek also ventured into other fields, such as music and business. She recorded a song called “When I Looked at Him” with the group Exposé in 1989, which reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. She also launched a line of pet products called “Bo Derek Pet Care” in 2017, which features shampoos, conditioners, and brushes for dogs and horses.

Bo Derek also faced some personal challenges and tragedies during these decades. She lost her father to a heart attack in 1984, and her mother to cancer in 1998. She also suffered a near-fatal horse riding accident in 1986, which left her with a broken collarbone, a punctured lung, and a concussion. She recovered after several months of therapy and surgery.

Bo Derek’s Personal Life: Her Marriage to John Derek and Her Friendship with Linda Evans

Bo Derek’s personal life has been marked by her marriage to John Derek, which lasted until his death in 1998. Bo Derek and John Derek had a strong and devoted relationship, despite the age gap and the controversy surrounding their union. They lived in a ranch in Santa Ynez, California, where they raised horses and dogs. They also traveled extensively, visiting exotic locations such as India, Egypt, Kenya, and Morocco. They had no children, but Bo Derek became a stepmother to John Derek’s four children from his previous marriages.

Bo Derek’s marriage to John Derek also affected her friendship with Linda Evans, who was John Derek’s ex-wife and a famous actress in her own right. Linda Evans and Bo Derek met in 1974, when Bo Derek was still a teenager and John Derek was still married to Linda Evans. They became friends, and Linda Evans even helped Bo Derek with her acting lessons. However, their friendship turned sour when John Derek left Linda Evans for Bo Derek, and they did not speak to each other for years.

Bo Derek and Linda Evans reconciled in 1989, when they both attended a charity event in Los Angeles. They hugged and talked, and decided to bury the hatchet. They have since maintained a cordial and respectful relationship, and have even praised each other in interviews. Bo Derek said of Linda Evans, “She’s a wonderful woman. She’s been very kind to me over the years.” Linda Evans said of Bo Derek, “She’s a lovely person. She’s done a lot of good things in the world.”

Bo Derek’s Current Projects and Passions: Her Documentary, Her Hallmark Movie, and Her Animal Activism

Bo Derek has been active in recent years, pursuing various projects and passions that reflect her interests and values. She has been involved in documentary work, producing and narrating films that showcase the beauty and diversity of nature and wildlife. Some of these films include “Wild Aid: The Journey” (2016), which follows the efforts of conservationists to protect endangered animals, and “Bo Derek: In My Own Words” (2018), which chronicles her personal and professional journey.

Bo Derek has also returned to acting, appearing in a Hallmark movie called “Love, Alaska” (2019), which is a romantic comedy set in a small town. Bo Derek plays the role of a successful businesswoman who returns to her hometown to sell her family’s property, but finds herself falling in love with her childhood sweetheart. Bo Derek said of the movie, “It was a lot of fun. It was a sweet story, and I enjoyed working with the cast and crew.”

Bo Derek has also been a passionate advocate for animal rights and conservation, supporting various causes and organizations that aim to protect and improve the lives of animals. She has been a spokesperson for the Animal Welfare Institute, which campaigns against animal cruelty and exploitation. She has also been a special envoy of the Secretary of State for Wildlife Trafficking Issues, which works to combat the illegal trade of wildlife products. She has also been a board member of the WildAid Foundation, which raises awareness and funds for wildlife conservation. Bo Derek has said of her animal activism, “I love animals. They are my passion. I want to do everything I can to help them.”

Bo Derek’s Secret Wedding to John Corbett and Her Happiness Today

Bo Derek and John Corbett surprised the world when they revealed that they had secretly tied the knot in December 2020, after nearly 20 years of dating. The couple met in 2002, when they were both set up on a blind date by a Hollywood agent. They hit it off immediately, and moved in together soon after. They lived a quiet and low-key life in Santa Ynez, California, where they raised horses and dogs.

Bo Derek and John Corbett have always been supportive of each other’s careers and passions. Bo Derek has praised John Corbett for his roles in “Sex and the City”, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, and “Rebel”. John Corbett has admired Bo Derek for her work as an actress, producer, and animal activist. They have also appeared together in some projects, such as the Hallmark movie “Love, Alaska” and the documentary “Bo Derek: In My Own Words”.

Bo Derek and John Corbett have also faced some challenges and losses in their relationship. Bo Derek lost her husband of 22 years, John Derek, in 1998, and John Corbett lost his mother in 2016. They have also dealt with the pressures and expectations of being in a long-term relationship without getting married. Bo Derek once said, “I think when you’re beginning a young family and you’re going to have children and set up this new family tree branch, it’s obviously a wonderful commitment and it’s meaningful. But for us in our lives, it hasn’t been yet.”

However, Bo Derek and John Corbett decided to change their status in 2020, and got married in a private ceremony. John Corbett revealed the news on “The Talk” in August 2021, saying, “We’re pretty private people. We didn’t make an announcement. All our friends and family knew but this is the first time either one of us has said anything publicly about it because really we haven’t had an opportunity. So, you’re my buddy and now I guess I’m telling all of America, or the world.”

Bo Derek and John Corbett are now happily married, and continue to enjoy their life together. They have no children, but they consider their animals as their family. They also travel frequently, and share their adventures on social media. They have said that they are very grateful for each other, and for their love. Bo Derek said, “He makes me laugh all the time. He’s full of life, full of joy. I became attracted to him and I still am. We take things day by day and I think we are still there.” John Corbett said, “She’s my best friend. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

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