Lana Turner Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (63)  | Personal Quotes (22)  | Salary (8)

Overview (5)

Born in Wallace, Idaho, USA
Died in Century City, California, USA  (throat cancer)
Birth NameJulia Jean Mildred Frances Turner
Nicknames Sweater Girl
Height 5' 3" (1.6 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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 sometimes overshadowed her professional accomplishments.

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. Her parents were Mildred Frances (Cowan) and John Virgil Turner, a miner, both still in their teens when she was born. 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: Ray Hamel and Denny Jackson

Family (2)

Spouse Ronald Dante (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)
Children Cheryl Crane

Trade Mark (2)

Attractive figure
Blonde hair

Trivia (63)

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.
Gave birth to her only child at age 22, a daughter Cheryl Christina Crane (aka Cheryl Crane) on July 25, 1943. Child's father is her 2nd ex-husband, Stephen Crane.
William 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 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) with Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman Turner was originally supposed to play Ivy, the tart. Bergman was supposed to play the innocent girl engaged to Tracy, but she 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"
Is portrayed by Brenda Bakke in L.A. Confidential (1997)
Once said that her turn as Cora Smith in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) was "the role I liked best".
In Italy, almost all of her films were dubbed by either Lydia Simoneschi or Rosetta Calavetta. She was occasionally dubbed by Dhia Cristiani.
"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.
Was originally hired to play Caddy Compson in The Sound and the Fury (1959), but was replaced by Margaret Leighton before filming began.
Featured in "Femme Noir: Bad Girls of Film" by Karen Burroughs Hannsberry (McFarland, 1998).
Was considered for the role of Maggie Pollitt in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), which was eventually given to Elizabeth Taylor.
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 (four years, seven months, 14 days). Her shortest marriage was to Stephen Crane, which was annulled at six months, 18 days (38 days later she married him again). She was married to Artie Shaw for 1 day shy of seven months.
Although diagnosed with throat cancer in 1992, Turner continued to smoke until almost the very end of her life.
Was offered the role of Mrs. Cabot on the series Hotel (1983), but made so many demands that she was dropped and replaced by Anne Baxter.
According to the Richard Burton biography "And God Created Burton" Turner had an affair with the actor when they were filming The Rains of Ranchipur (1955) together.
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 she wrote that she had skipped a typing class at Hollywood High School. 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, William 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, who was Groucho Marx's brother. Soon she was put under contract to MGM.
Was two months pregnant with her daughter Cheryl Crane when she completed filming Slightly Dangerous (1943).
Returned to work five months after giving birth to her daughter Cheryl Crane in order to begin filming Marriage Is a Private Affair (1944).
Suffered three stillbirths (in 1949, 1951 and 1956) during her life as a result of having the Rh factor.
Became pregnant by her first husband Artie Shaw in 1940 and her then-lover Tyrone Power in 1946; on both occasions she had abortions.
Was offered the role of Eloise Y. Kelly in Mogambo (1953) but she turned it down. Ava Gardner, who went on to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance, was cast instead.
She became involved with co-star Fernando Lamas while filming The Merry Widow (1952). He was supposed to co-star with her again in Latin Lovers (1953), but they had a falling out and Lamas was replaced in the film by Ricardo Montalban.
She was born in a small mining town, where her father Virgil, an itinerant miner and one of 12 children, eloped with 15-year-old Mildred Frances Cowan. Mildred's parents objected until they learned she was pregnant with what would be her only child, Lana.
She was not "discovered" seated on a stool in Schwab's drugstore in Hollywood, but she was seen in an ice cram parlor across the street from Hollywood High School by William Wilkerson, founder and publisher of industry trade paper "The Hollywood Rporter," only a block or two away.
Turner's father was murdered in December 1930 after participating in an all-night crap game in San Francisco, where the family had moved. The case was never solved.
After her small but stunning part in They Won't Forget (1937), she was signed by director Mervyn LeRoy, not by Warner Brothers as is often believed (although Leroy was working for Warner Brothers at the time). When Leroy moved to MGM, he took Turner with him.
At one point in her life, she counted and discovered that she owned 698 pairs of shoes.
When she was a young girl, she had dreams of becoming a dress designer.
Favourite actresses as a child included Kay Francis and Norma Shearer.
Close friend Linda Darnell acted as a witness at Turner's first wedding to Stephen Crane.
Is mentioned by name in the Gus Kahn / Walter Donaldson song "My Baby Just Cares for Me".
In 1958, while filming Another Time, Another Place (1958) in London, England, she was visited by her boyfriend, gangster Johnny Stompanato. Stompanato suspected that she was having an affair with co-star Sean Connery and at one point confronted Connery and threatened to kill him. Connery knocked him unconscious with one punch. He then waited until Stompanato regained consciousness and told him that if he ever saw Stompanato again he would kill him. Stompanato left London the next day.
According to her autobiography Turner lost her virginity to lawyer Greg Bautzer in March 1938 at age 17. Their relationship ended after Joan Crawford revealed to Turner that she and Bautzer had been having an affair.
Her first lover was Greg Bautzer a lawyer who became known as "The Man Who Seduced Hollywood.".
Daughter Cheryl Crane fatally stabbed Turner's lover, gangster Johnny Stompanato, during a physical altercation in 1958. Stompanato physically attacked Turner, and Crane, who was 14 at the time, wanted to protect her mother. Jerry Giesler represented Crane. The murder was deemed justifiable homicide at a coroner's inquest and Crane was acquitted.
Inducted into the Hair Fan's Hall of Fame in 2012.
Bottle-fed her daughter Cheryl Crane as a baby.
Bequeathed her companion & housekeeper her entire trust estate, valued at almost $2 million, including her apartment in Century City and rights to all income producing assets, such as the profit participation in films such as The Imitation of Life. She changed the beneficiary of her trust estate in the last years of her life, from her daughter to her housekeeper, and instead left her daughter a cash bequest of only $50,000.
Her father John Turner was an Alabama miner. Her mother Mildred Cowan was the daughter of an Arkansas mining engineer.
Attended Hollywood High School.
Her father John Turner deserted Lana and her mother in San Francisco after Lana inadvertently tipped off police that he was manufacturing bootleg liquor in the basement.
On June 21, 2018, she was honored with a caricature through the website DeviantArt on a profile fittingly known as ClassicActresses.
She has appeared in four films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), Singin' in the Rain (1952), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and Imitation of Life (1959).
Tested for the part of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind under the name of Judy Turner,.
Her image appears on the cover of the music CD Electro Swing Fever which was released in 2010.
On August 12, 2020, she was honored with a day of her filmography during the Turner Classic Movies Star of the Month.
Played opposite Roger Moore in Diane (1956) and Sean Connery in Another Time, Another Place (1958). Both actors would play James Bond in seven films each.
Co-starred with Lew Ayres in three films: Rich Man, Poor Girl (1938), Calling Dr. Kildare (1939), and These Glamour Girls (1939).
She and Robert Young appeared together in two MGM films - Rich Man, Poor Girl (1938) and Slightly Dangerous (1943).

Personal Quotes (22)

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.
With each marriage, I thought that that would be *it*. In my wildest dreams I never, never thought that I would have seven husbands. If you can believe it, I thought at the time that each marriage would last forever. You see, with one bitterly painful exception, when I fell in love, I married.
[on her marriage to Artie Shaw] After the ceremony, we went out to an all-night diner for coffee. Suddenly I realized that my mother had no idea where I was. The taxi drove us to the telegraph office, and I wrote out a message: "Got married in Las Vegas. Call you later. Love, Lana." Maybe it was subconscious, but I didn't mention who it was I'd married.
I read someplace that Judy Garland, then seventeen, had had a serious crush on Artie [Shaw]. She had gone out with him days before I did and hoped he was getting serious. The morning after we eloped, she was eating breakfast in bed when she saw the headlines, and immediately burst into tears. Later that day Phil Silvers got an angry phone call from Betty Grable, who was in love with Artie and getting a divorce. "That son of a bitch," she told Phil, "who does he think he is?"
If I don't laugh at least three times during the day, I've had a bad day. I've got to have a minimum of at least three good laughs. I wouldn't have survived without my sense of humor, and thank God I have always been able to laugh at myself.
I haven't had an easy life, but it sure hasn't been a dull one. And I'm pretty proud of the way this gal has held up.
If I'd been given a magical glimpse into my future, if I could have foreseen everything that was going to happen to me, all the headlines my life would make, all the people who would pass through my days, I wouldn't have believed a syllable of it!
[on relationships] Today things are very different, and I think they're healthier. People fall in love and move in together, and nobody bats an eye. They get to know each other first, to see if their romance can survive the mundane things like whether or not he picks up after himself, or she leaves hair in the sink. Or that all-important question of sharing expenses, each one pulling his or her weight. Honeymoon first, and if it lasts, then marriage. I like that.
[on the headlines about the Stamponato case] I read everything, then reread it, attempting to analyze the whole awful happening. And after I had done that I felt totally drained. The press had done their worst, and now I knew exactly what that worst was. And I'd have to survive it.
[on her marriage to Artie Shaw] Marriage meant permanence to me, but with Artie, I began to realize, it was no marriage. It was hell.
[on Joan Crawford] One day I got a phone call from Joan Crawford. Greg [Bautzer] had taken me to several parties at her house, but I didn't know her well. Those parties were all the same. After dinner the guests would be herded into a projection room to watch movies. Joan knitted constantly. During the film, you could always hear her needles clicking away.
In These Glamour Girls (1939), I was billed as costar with Lew Ayres. There were so many girls in the picture that the studio had just slapped up some flats as our dressing rooms. As soon as I saw them I got Mr. Mayer on the phone. I could hear someone on the set whispering, "Uh-oh, she's going to get in trouble." But I went ahead and told him directly, "I want a dressing room of my own." And I got it.

Salary (8)

A Star Is Born (1937) $25 for one day
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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