How does an actress land a gig with big-shot TV producer Aaron Spelling? Simply by letting him know that she's one tough bitch!

Veteran actress/singer Diahann Carroll landed her role as Dominique Deveraux on Spelling's classic '80s prime-time soap Dynasty by doing just that, according to Thursday night's A&E Biography on the star (8 pm/ET). The episode tells how the actress made her pitch to Spelling after crashing one of the über-producer's legendary Hollywood bashes.

"She went up to Aaron and said, 'I want to be on Dynasty! I want to be the first black bitch on television!' " recalls Dynasty's preeminent vixen, Joan Collins, who recently poked fun at her own diva image on NBC's Will & Grace. Carroll's boldness paid off: She got the job, and it was just a matter of time before she and Collins began performing their campy knockdown, drag-out brawls for the camera.

"She and I had some good old bitch fights together," says Collins. "Every time we did them we would laugh. It was great fun."

The Carroll Biography also reveals a personal life filled with personal heartache, most notably the tragic 1977 car crash of late husband Robert Deleon.

"She's more complicated than people would think," says fan Donald Bogle. "She looks so assured, so confident, and she's got all this glamour. But there were these tensions and conflicts within her."