Mary Cathleen Collins (born November 20, 1956), better known as Bo Derek, is an American film and television actress, model, and sex symbol, known for her role as Jenny Hanley in the 1979 comedy film 10. However, Derek's feature films were poorly received by the public and critics. These included, Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981), Bolero (1984), and Ghosts Can't Do It (1989). Today she makes occasional film, television or documentary appearances.
Bo Derek was born Mary Cathleen Collins in Long Beach, California. She is of Irish, French, Dutch and Welsh descent. Her father, Paul Collins, was a Hobie Cat executive, and her mother, Norma Bass, a make-up artist and hairdresser to Ann-Margret. Derek's parents divorced, and her mother married American stunt performer Bobby Bass.
Derek attended Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California. She then attended George S. Patton Continuation School, which is adjacent to Narbonne.
Her first acting job was a leading role in her husband John Derek's R-rated film, Fantasies, filmed in 1973. It wasn't easy to get a studio to buy the film; it was released to theaters in 1981. Many doubt that Derek appeared in the feature but she did; she was billed as Kathleen Collins. She made her second film, 1977's horror film Orca; which was a spin-off of the 1975 horror film, Jaws. Since Orca was Derek's first appearance on the screen, this film is often been cited as her "film debut".
Bo Derek came to prominence when she co-starred in the 1979 Blake Edwards film 10, in which Dudley Moore's character is torn between love for Julie Andrews' character and fascination with Derek. She received a Golden Globe nomination for new star of the year.
After 10, Derek achieved stardom and sex symbol status. Her cornrow hairstyle has been parodied and re-created. During the late-1970s and early 1980s, Derek was a rival to Farrah Fawcett, who rose to fame as Jill Munroe on the private detective series Charlie's Angels, during its first season (1976-1977). However, by the mid-1980s, Derek had overshawdowed Fawcett, and Fawcett's offers for acting jobs declined, as did Derek's, due to the projects Derek chose. Even so, she remained a sex symbol into the late-1980s.
Some of Derek's subsequent films were not well received by public or critics. Her follow-up to 10 was another supporting role, in A Change of Seasons, in 1980, which starred Shirley MacLaine and Anthony Hopkins. The film was critically panned and a box-office failure.
In the 1981 film Tarzan, the Ape Man, Derek was given her first starring role, as Jane Parker. The producers were sued by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate over the name of the film, as Derek's role and physique seemed to overshadow the focus on Tarzan. The film was critically panned but a success.
She followed this film with the sexually-charged Bolero, in 1984, about a young woman who tours the world looking for someone to take her virginity. The film was rated X but later released as R. It was five years before Derek appeared on the screen again, in her husband's production of Ghosts Can't Do It, in 1989.
She made the first of many appearances in Playboy, starting with March 1980.
She won a Golden Raspberry Worst Actress Award for Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981), Bolero (1984) and Ghosts Can't Do It (1989), and was nominated in 2000 as Worst Actress of the Century. She appeared as Jamie Kennedy's mother and Ryan O'Neal's wife in Malibu's Most Wanted (2003). Derek was a judge at the Miss Universe 2004 pageant.
In 2006, she had a leading roles in the telenovela drama series, Fashion House. The series ran for 65 episodes, though, Derek appeared in only 40. She also appeared in 7th Heaven, Lucky, and Queens of Swords.