Lana Turner had an acting ability that belied the "Sweater Girl" image MGM thrust upon her, and even many of her directors admitted that they knew she was capable of greatness (check out The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)). Unfortunately, her private life - seven marriages, affairs almost too numerous to mention, a long bout with alcoholism and the famous incident where her gangster lover, Johnny Stompanato, was killed by her daughter, Cheryl Crane - came to overshadow her professional accomplishments.IMDb Mini Biography By: Ray Hamel
Lana Turner was born Julia Jean Mildred Francis Turner in Wallace, Idaho. There is some discrepancy as to whether her birth date is February 8, 1920 or 1921. Lana herself said in her autobiography that she was one year younger (1921) than the records showed, but then this was a time where women, especially actresses, tended to "fib" a bit about their age. Most sources agree that 1920 is the correct year of birth. In 1929 her father was murdered and it was shortly thereafter her mother moved her and the family to California where jobs were "plentiful". Once she matured into a beautiful young woman, she went after something that would last forever: stardom. She wasn't found at a drug store counter, like some would have you believe, but that legend persists. She pounded the pavement as other would-be actors and actresses have done, are doing and will continue to do in search of movie roles. In 1937 Lana entered the movie world, at 17, with small parts in They Won't Forget (1937), The Great Garrick (1937) and A Star Is Born (1937). These films didn't bring her a lot of notoriety, but it was a start. In 1938 she had another small part in Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) starring Mickey Rooney. It was this film that made young men's hearts all over America flutter at the sight of this alluring and provocative young woman--known as the "Sweater Girl"--and one look at that film could make you understand why: she was one of the most spectacularly beautiful newcomers to grace the screen in years. By the 1940s Lana was firmly entrenched in the film business. She had good roles in such films as Johnny Eager (1941), Somewhere I'll Find You (1942) and Week-End at the Waldorf (1945). If her career was progressing smoothly, however, her private life was turning into a train wreck, keeping her in the news in a way no one would have wanted. Without a doubt her private life was a threat to her public career. She was married eight times, twice to Stephen Crane. She also married Ronald Dante, Robert Eaton, Fred May, Lex Barker, Henry Topping and bandleader Artie Shaw. She also battled alcoholism. In yet another scandal, her daughter by Crane, Cheryl Crane, fatally stabbed Lana's boyfriend, gangster Johnny Stompanato, in 1958. It was a case that would have rivaled the O.J. Simpson murder case. Cheryl was acquitted of the murder charge, with the jury finding that she had been protecting her mother from Stompanato, who was savagely beating her, and ruled it justifiable homicide. These and other incidents interfered with Lana's career, but she persevered. The release of Imitation of Life (1959), a remake of a 1934 film (Imitation of Life (1934)), was Lana's comeback vehicle. Her performance as Lora Meredith was flawless as an actress struggling to make it in show business with a young daughter, her housekeeper and the housekeeper's rebellious daughter. The film was a box-office success and proved beyond a doubt that Lana had not lost her edge. By the 1960s, however, fewer roles were coming her way with the rise of new and younger stars. She still managed to turn in memorable performances in such films as Portrait in Black (1960) and Bachelor in Paradise (1961). By the next decade the roles were coming in at a trickle. Her last appearance in a big-screen production was in Witches' Brew (1980). Her final film work came in the acclaimed TV series "Falcon Crest" (1981) in which she played Jacqueline Perrault from 1982-1983. After all those years as a sex symbol, nothing had changed--Lana was still as beautiful as ever. She died June 25, 1995, in Culver City, California, after a long bout with cancer. She was 75 years old.IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson
|Ronald Pellar||(9 May 1969 - 26 January 1972) (divorced)|
|Robert P. Eaton||(22 June 1965 - 1 April 1969) (divorced)|
|Frederick May||(27 November 1960 - 15 October 1962) (divorced)|
|Lex Barker||(8 September 1953 - 22 July 1957) (divorced)|
|Henry J. Topping, Jr.||(26 April 1948 - 12 December 1952) (divorced)|
|Stephen Crane||(14 March 1943 - 21 August 1944) (divorced) 1 child|
|Stephen Crane||(17 July 1942 - 4 February 1943) (annulled)|
|Artie Shaw||(13 February 1940 - 12 September 1940) (divorced)|
Born at 12:30pm-PST
According to the book "Golden Girls of MGM" by Jane Ellen Wayne, she lost her eyebrows due to the glue used to attach false ones to give her an Asian look.
In her autobiography, she stated that her true birthdate is February 8, 1921. She stated that "I am one year younger than the records show."
Fainted during her 1953 wedding to Lex Barker.
One daughter: Cheryl Crane (fathered by Steve Crane).
Billy Wilkerson of The Hollywood Reporter found her sipping a Coke in a drugstore and was so taken by her he blurted out that standard Hollywood line, "How'd you like to be in pictures?". Her first role, sure enough, had her in a tight skirt and even tighter sweater sitting at a drugstore counter.
She was set to appear in Anatomy of a Murder (1959) with James Stewart until she objected to the off-the-rack wardrobe that director Otto Preminger had selected for her. Lee Remick took over the role.
Her daughter, Cheryl Crane, wrote a book about her life with her mother, her mother's 7 husbands and numerous boyfriends and living in Hollywood. It was entitled "Detour: A Hollywood Story" and was published in 1988 (ISBN:o-380-70580-X)
Once when she was being interviewed by Hedda Hopper, Lex Barker, Lana's future husband, was in the same room. There was a large vase of flowers blocking her view of Lex, so Lana got up, walked across the room and removed them, remarking, "He's brand new and I want to look at him!"
Her auburn hair was bleached for Idiot's Delight (1939). She was withdrawn from the film, but the fact that she had become a blonde not only changed her screen image but gave her such an outgoing, swinging personality that Hollywood called her the Nightclub Queen.
She was called the Sweater Girl. Interestingly, Lana, translated into Spanish means "wool."
In the movie Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) with Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman she was originally supposed to play the part of Ivy, the tart, and Bergman was supposed to play the innocent girl engaged to Tracy but Bergman wanted Turner's part and so the roles were switched.
Once she was forced to evacuate her apartment building when a fire broke out. Having only minutes to collect what she needed, Lana grabbed her lipstick, her eyebrow pencil and her hairdryer.
She was a true American hybrid, with a mixture of Scottish, Irish, Dutch and English ancestry.
Is one of the many movie stars mentioned in Madonna's song "Vogue"
Once said that her turn as Cora Smith in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) was "the role I liked best".
"The Private Diary of My Life With Lana", a memoir, written by one of her closest friends, Eric Root, was published one year after her death. Root, a long time friend and hairdresser of Turner's, has a large collection of jewelry that belonged to Miss Turner. He still owns the beauty salon in Beverly Hills where Turner and many other iconic stars were clients.
Campaigned for Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1944 presidential election.
Featured in "Femme Noir: Bad Girls of Film" by Karen Burroughs Hannsberry (McFarland, 1998).
Sister-in-law of Daniel Topping during her marriage to his brother, Henry Topping.
She was never married for more than five years. Her longest marriage was to Henry Topping at 4 Years 7 Months 14 Days. Her shortest marriage was her first marriage to Stephen Crane, which was annulled, at 6 Months 18 Days (38 days later, she married him again). She was married to Artie Shaw for 6 Months 27 Days.
Although diagnosed with throat cancer in 1992, Turner continued to smoke until almost the very end of her life.
February 14, 1954, CBS: This episode was an hour long tribute to help celebrate MGM's 30th anniversary. Lana Turner made a live appearance on the show and performed the "Madame Crematante" number (aka "A Great Lady Has An Interview") that Judy Garland had performed in 1946's "Ziegfeld Follies". Among the male singers/dancers featured were Steve Forrest, Edmund Purdom, and John Ericson.
In her autobiography, Turner wrote that she was had skipped a typing class at Hollywood Highschool. She went to the Top Hat Cafe, on Sunset Boulevard, and was sitting at the counter, sipping a Coke. According to the Sunset Boulevard website, Billy Wilkerson, who wrote for the Hollywood Reporter, noticed her and thought she was attractive enough to be in films. With her mother's approval, he introduced Turner to the agent, Zeppo Marx, Groucho's brother. Soon, she was put under contract to MGM.
Suffered 3 stillbirths (in 1949, 1951 and 1956) during her life as a result of having the Rh factor.
She became involved with co-star Fernando Lamas during "The Merry Widow," but after they had a falling out, he was replaced by Ricardo Montalban a week before shooting would begin on "Latin Lovers.".
Turner was born in a small mining town, where her father Virgil, an itinerant miner and one of twelve children, eloped with 15 year-old Mildred Frances Cowan. Her parents objected until they learned she was pregnant with what would be her only child.
Shewas not 'discovered' seated on a stool in Schwab's drugstore, but she was seen in an ice cram parlor across the street from Hollywood High by Billy Wilkerson, founder and publisher of "The Hollywood Rporter," only a block or two away. Through Wilkerson she was taken on as a client by Zeppo Marx.
Turner's father was murdered in December 1930 after participating in an all-night crap game in San Francisco, where the family had moved.
After her small but stunning part in "They Won't Forget," she was signed by director Mervyn LeRoy, not by Warner Brothers as often believed. When LeRoy moved to MGM, he took Turner with him.
A successful man is one who makes more money than a wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
I find men terribly exciting, and any girl who says she doesn't is an anemic old maid, a streetwalker, or a saint.
[on Hollywood] It was all beauty and it was all talent, and if you had it they protected you.
I planned on having one husband and seven children, but it turned out the other way around.
Humor has been the balm of my life, but it's been reserved for those close to me, not part of the public Lana.
I've always loved a challenge.
Trash is something you get rid of - or disease. I'm not something you get rid of.
I liked the boys and the boys liked me.
The thing about happiness is that it doesn't help you to grow; only unhappiness does that. So I'm grateful that my bed of roses was made up equally of blossoms and thorns. I've had a privileged, creative, exciting life, and I think that the parts that were less joyous were preparing me, testing me, strengthening me.
The truth is, sex doesn't mean that much to me now. It never did, really. It was romance I wanted, kisses and candlelight, that sort of thing. I never did dig sex very much.
[on her father's murder] The shock I suffered then may be a valid excuse for me now - may explain things I do not myself understand.
|The Great Garrick (1937)||$50 a week|
|The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938)||$50 a week|
|Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)||$75 a week|
|Rich Man, Poor Girl (1938)||$75 a week|
|The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)||$4,000 a week|
|Imitation of Life (1959)||50% of the film's profits|
|"The Survivors" (1969)||$12,500/week|
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