Playboy & the big screen: How identical local twins Mary & Madeleine rocked the '70s
Malta may have been under the stern grip of the church during the '60s and '70s, but it didn’t stop this adventurous duo from living their full life.
Identical Maltese-British twins Mary and Madeleine Collinson were born in Sliema in the summer of 1952. Despite the statistical rarity of identical twins, multiple births were a common occurrence in the Collinson clan – in fact, their mother later gave birth to a second set of twins.
By the second quarter of 1969, the pair had moved to Britain, and a year later they landed their first big gig: Playmates of the Month in the October, 1970 edition of Playboy. This symbolised a first for Playboy, with the twins going down in history as the first identical duo to feature as centrefolds in the iconic magazine.
Famed for their dark looks and voluptuous figures, the pair continues to enjoy a degree of popularity to this day.
The twins eventually transitioned to the big screen, where they were cast in a handful of B-rated movies, most notably the vampire horror film Twins of Evil (1971) which enjoys a 6.6 star rating on IMDb. As an avid horror fan, Mary was considered the perfect woman for the role of the evil twin, with her sister Madeleine shortlisted as the timid one. Interestingly, due to their thick Maltese accents, the director incorporated a common procedure often implemented with foreign actors and had their dialogue replaced by British actors.
Both women eventually settled down with their respective husbands and children, and while Mary opted to live in Italy, Madeleine returned with her immediate family to Malta, where she embarked on several cultural projects before passing away in 2014 due to a long illness. Mary, now 67, is believed to be living in Milan.
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