25 MAY 2008

A night out in the south of France had a surprise ending for Joan Collins thanks to her husband, Percy Gibson.

After jetting in to her villa in St Tropez, Joan, who turned 75 on Friday, thought she was going for pre-dinner drinks at a friend's luxury villa. Entering the living room, though, she was greeted by applause and happy shouts of "surprise" from 60 of her closest friends and family.

In total secrecy, Percy had arranged a lavish bash for his wife of six years to celebrate her birthday. Among the guests waiting with glasses of Cristal in hand were Joan's two children, Sacha and Tara Newley, celebrity photographer Terry O'Neill, food writer A.A. Gill and jeweller Theo Fennell.

"Now I know why all my friends have been ignoring me for the past two weeks," joked the British icon.

Looking beautiful in a blue and white Roberto Cavalli gown, an emotional Joan paid tribute to her thoughtful husband, describing him as "my life partner and true love".

After dining on a menu of foie gras and a gourmet buffet of lamb and fish dishes, the actress was presented with a chocolate cake.

And it seems her latest birthday isn't stopping Joan enjoying herself. "Joan and Percy arrived at 8.30 on Friday and stayed dancing until dawn," revealed a guest.

Photo: ©
Percy, pictured with his wife at a party earlier this month, arranged for 60 of Joan's friends and family to surprise Joan in St Tropez Photo: © Getty Images Click on photo to enlarge
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