Bo Derek was one of the greatest sex symbols of the 80s in Hollywood and could be found in almost anything from drama to comedy as the starring attraction for posters and trailers. A. massive setpiece of the scene just decades ago, where has the actress been since then?
Originally named Mary Cathleen Collins when born in Long Beach, California in November of 1956, Bo Derek would get a step into Hollywood right from the start. While her father worked as an executive for a surf company, her mother was the hair stylist for one of old Hollywood’s icons, Ann-Margaret.
As if that wasn’t enough, Derek’s mother divorced her father early on, remarrying famed stuntman Bobby Bass and gaining even more Hollywood legacy credit. While she would go to school and have a somewhat quiet childhood, she would end up dropping out at sixteen due to a series of unfortunate events.
Cast under her birth name in a low-budget romance film by director John Derek called Fantasies, she would eventually become involved in a romance with the director. Except she was sixteen and he was forty-six so that’s actually grooming. Naturally, John Derek pulled a trick Roman Polanski would later borrow, fleeing the US to avoid prosecution for not only preying on a minor but also possessing multiple movies of it.
The two would marry when she turned nineteen, with the actress now officially going by the name Bo Derek professionally. Her first feature film would be Orca- The Killer Whale, which is probably self-explanatory. Interestingly, the film wouldn’t shoot any of the actors in the United States, keeping Bo’s husband John Derek conveniently away from prosecution.
The actress would catch a breakthrough role in comedy 10, somewhat resembling her real-life situation where a creepy old man decides she’s perfect for a young beautiful woman, though not as young as Derek’s real-life romance with husband John. Reading about all this with today’s understanding and hindsight is pretty ick, honestly.
Either way, her part in 10, running across a beach in a very revealing one-piece, laughed her to sex symbol status in the Hollywood scene just in time for the new decade. Derek faced a new sort of problem- being taken seriously as an actress instead of just a pretty face. Husband John Derek, as usual, wouldn’t help the issue and cast her in the lead role of his Tarzan, The Ape Man adaptation as Jane. The film would feature many scenes of Derek unclothed.
The trend continued in the next movie from the couple, featuring Bo traveling the world to find a man to… nope, not touching that. Did nobody call this out for what it was at that point? No wonder so many child actors and actresses from the seventies and eighties had mental health struggles.
Moving on, the eighties would see Bo Derek sweeping the Razzie awards regularly with her roles in Bolero and Ghosts Can’t Do It, which was a new low for the actress, to start the 90s. She would take the first half of the decade in about the same manner, starring in terrible television films before gaining her first role in a well-remembered and received film, Tommy Boy alongside legend Chris Farley and middling-legend David Spade, two massive SNL breakouts at the time.
Bo Derek would follow Tommy Boy up three years later with a starring role in the quickly canceled series Wind on Water. Coincidentally her husband John would also be canceled by heart failure the same year, so things evened out. Bo’s career over the next few years became incredibly varied, between guest appearances on The Drew Carrey Show and early Ryan Reynolds classic Two Guys, A Girl, and A Pizza Place between dropping more bombs at the box office than George W Bush did on Iraq.
Seriously, she was in Master of Disguise AND Malibu’s Most Wanted, back to back. Holy shit that’s bad, and it showed in her career. She wouldn’t find stable footing until a shortlived telenovela called Fashion House in 2006, though it would end around the same year before the actress took a hiatus from the Hollywood scene, instead choosing to spend more time with now husband actor John Corbett, whom she would marry in 2020.
What Is Bo Derek Doing Now?
Bo Derek made a return to acting in 2012 with a double whammy of terrible true crime television movie alongside a CSI: Miami guest role before taking another three-year absence from acting, returning only for the grand event that was Sharknado 3. For reasons unknown, she would follow that up with The Last Sharknado in 2018. We let one funny joke stretch itself over five years as a society, and for that we are damned.
Bo Derek has largely stepped over to living out a semi-retirement at this point, only starring in the occasional family film while mostly devoting her time to her true passion for horses. The actress published an autobiography titled Everything That Matters In Life I Learned From Horses, mostly dealing with her love for the animal and activism on animal rights she’s done throughout her life. She can still be seen regularly posting on Twitter andInstagram, mostly pictures of her horses or vacations.