When the Actor Who Played Dynasty’s Dex Dexter Dies, LADY JOAN COLLINS Relives Their Chemistry

I’ll never forget the day in 1983 when producer Aaron Spelling called me in my dressing room on the set of Dynasty, the 1980s American drama series that brought back shoulder pads, slim waists, and silhouettes more flattering than an Italian waiter.

I’d already had two seasons as Alexis, ex-wife of Blake Carrington, the show’s lead man, an oil tycoon, and Aaron clearly felt it was time for my character to move on.

“We have five actors we’re considering playing your next husband and I want you to meet them,” he said.

‘Oh!’ I answered. “You mean I get to choose?” “Of course you do,” Aaron said. “You’re going to be spending a lot of time with him. You will eventually marry him, but you will have some ups and downs along the way.”

Before I could contain myself, I blurted out, “I just hope he’s better than Blake…”

Of all my Dynasty husbands, he was by far the most beautiful, the best actor, and the most charming, and I was very happy to be married to him.  (Sorry, Percy!)

Of all my Dynasty husbands, he was by far the most beautiful, the best actor, and the most charming, and I was very happy to be married to him. (Sorry, Percy!)

Blake and Alexis were constantly at each other’s throats. It’s also fair to say that the actor who played him, John Forsythe, and I were anything but best friends.

And the ones who might become my next husband? “I’ll bring them to you in the morning,” Aaron said.

The next morning, five young actors snuck onto the set with an assistant director, and I was told to have a short chat with each of them.

The first seemed a bit of an idiot, the second was too short and the third I don’t even remember. The fourth candidate was Jon-Erik Hexum, who later became my co-star on Making Of A Male Model. I liked him more, but not as much as the fifth, which I found astonishingly handsome.

“Hello, I’m Mike Nader,” he said, giving me a charming crooked smile that drew my attention to a small scar above his upper lip. It just made him more attractive.

My memories of that first meeting resurfaced last Monday when I heard the sad news that Michael had passed away at the age of 76, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer.

The last time I saw Michael, my husband Percy and I were on a New York rooftop celebrating New Year’s Eve with friends. He looked weak and had lost his hair, but he still had that spark and charm I remembered all too well from our first meeting.

When I saw him as my future co-star all those years ago, I decided he was tall, but not too tall. He had black hair, but not too much, and he had a “machismo” that I thought would go well with Alexis’ feisty temper.

Aaron called me after lunch, “What did you think?”

“Well, Nader is head and shoulders above the rest,” I told him.

“Great,” Aaron said. “I was hoping you’d say it.”

When I saw him as my future co-star all those years ago, I decided he was tall, but not too tall. He had black hair, but not too much, and he had a ‘machismo’ which I thought would go well with Alexis’ feisty temperament

Two weeks later I worked with Michael for the first time. Although he was visibly nervous, he managed to control it enough to be fascinating in our first scene together.

From the moment Dex saw Alexis, he was in love with her. The door to Alexis’s office was thrown open and he came in when I asked, ‘What are you doing here? Who are you?’

“I’m Farnsworth Dexter,” he said, “call me Dex.”

“I’d like to know why you’re here,” I replied.

He approached me provocatively and we played our scene, which I thought went really well because we looked alike.

At the end, he pressed a kiss to my lips—a move that surprised me because it wasn’t in the script—before giving me a wink and wandering off the set.

Aaron called me that night, “Do you think he’s good enough to marry Alexis?”

‘I love him!’ was my enthusiastic response. “I think he’s one of the best looking men I’ve seen in a long time and he’s a very good actor. I think our female fans are definitely going to love him. I just hope you get us some juicy scenes together.”

“Just wait and see,” Aaron said.

For the next few weeks, Dex chased Alexis relentlessly and—foolishly—she didn’t give in.

In our third or fourth meeting, Dex is his usual delightful self and gives Alexis a delicious dinner to make up for the fact that he forced her to accept a bad business deal. Looks like he’s about to “get lucky” when Alexis suddenly saunters over to the door, opens it, and turns to say, “Oh no, Mr. Dexter. No one takes me to the dry cleaners and to bed on the same day. Good night!’

I never understood why it took Alexis so long to fall head over heels in love with Dex. He was so charming and attractive that it just didn’t seem right for her to constantly reject him.

But that’s the magic of soap operas. Once the producers recognize that they’ve come up with a fascinating storyline that will get viewers tuning in, they’ll milk it for all it’s worth.

This cat and mouse game between Dex and Alexis lasted almost the rest of that season until she finally gives in and we have a great kiss scene.

Michael and I got a little carried away – and he kissed me so forcefully that he bit my lip and blood ran on both our chins.

“It’s blood!” I moaned.

“It’s just lipstick,” he replied, laughing nervously.

“Doesn’t taste like every brand I wear,” I retorted, running to my trailer to repair the damage.

But I really loved Michael. He was funny and we had an easy relationship.

He also had a good sense of humor. On April 1, Michael and I were rehearsing for another passionate love scene. Dex gets close to Alexis in a beautiful silk robe and smoothly and sexy proposes, “Alexis, aren’t you going to open your surprise present?” Alexis slides the robe off his shoulder, equally smooth and sexy, all the while staring seductively into his eyes – until it’s revealed he’s wearing a lacy white Wonderbra across his bare chest.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this sight made me turn down my next sentence: “Look, Dex, I’m very busy.” The crew got more than they had hoped for.

He was married and I was married, but that didn’t stop some of the cast and crew from teasing us that our relationship was more than friendship. But while it was purely platonic, it hisses on set! I loved our scenes in the bath together where I was covered in soapy water to hide the basic necessities of life.

When the director says ‘Cut!’ shouted, Michael tried to scrape the suds off me. Not the kind of behavior that goes well in the #MeToo era, but it was all done with a lot of fun.

“Joan and I are kindred spirits,” Michael once said. “There was chemistry between us when I auditioned, and when we chatted, I found out what it was — we were both driven to succeed.”

He added: ‘If the relationship between Joan and me [hadn’t been] easy, I would have written the show a long time ago.”

I once asked him how he got the scar on the face, which reminded me of a scar Gene Kelly had. He said it was the result of a collision by a drunk driver when he was six years old.

He also told about his uncle who was a famous actor in the 1950s named George Nader.

During his second season on Dynasty, he even admitted to having a drug problem in his youth. I never would have guessed – he was always on time, knew his rules and was a consummate professional during the time I worked with him.

Alexis and Dex finally got married in 1984 and for a few seasons we were more or less happy. But we were always sparring with each other because Alexis would never let a man get the better of her — and he wouldn’t let anyone of any gender get the upper hand over him.

Then something shocking happened: Dex had an affair with Alexis’ daughter Amanda, played by Catherine Oxenberg. Amanda had always had her heart set on revengefully taking Dex away from her mother, and when she and Dex were trapped in a cabin in a snowstorm in New Mexico, of course they had to have sex.

I was pretty upset about this as I thought it would destroy our love affair on set, but Aaron was adamant that this subplot would expand the audience.

“We already have a lot of viewers and they love those two together!” I begged. But my views didn’t matter.

One day Michael came into my dressing room in a real state. “They won’t give me a raise,” he gasped. “Didn’t they just give you one?”

“Yes, they did, but it was quite small,” I admitted.

“Well, I can’t get by on 40 grand a week,” he grumbled.

I laughed at him: ‘You’re kidding! Nobody makes $40,000 a week!’

“You do,” he said with a straight face. I had no answer.

The on-again, off-again relationship between Alexis and Dex continued until the show ended. He had affairs with Alexis’ niece Leslie Carrington, as well as Alexis’ cousin and super-enemy Sable Colby, played by Stephanie Beacham.

When Alexis finds out about these indiscretions, she tells Dexter that they are finally and truly done. In the final episode, this leads to a confrontation between Alexis, Sable, Alexis’ son Adam and Dex.

Dex, who doesn’t like Adam’s innuendo, gets a nudge with him and they accidentally push Alexis off a balcony!

And that was presumably the end of Alexis — as well as the entire show. But when the producers realized they had left the fans without a fitting ending, they decided to film the infamous “Dynasty Reunion” two years later.

It even stretched a soap for credibility. The audience found out that Dex had somehow fallen off the balcony before Alexis and she landed on top of him and killed him.

However, the reason Dex couldn’t be part of the Dynasty Reunion was much more prosaic. He had joined the cast of the American soap opera All My Children and they wouldn’t let him go. And so ended the romance that kept viewers glued to their TV sets every week for years.

Some time later, Michael was arrested for selling cocaine to an undercover New York police officer. Unfortunately, this has resulted in All My Children terminating their contract. He went to rehab and then appeared on Larry King Live to talk about his failed self-repair lawsuit.

Fortunately, his career survived and he did many good things until the end of his life.

Of all my Dynasty husbands, he was by far the most beautiful, the best actor, and the most charming, and I was very happy to be married to him. (Sorry, Percy!)