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Lana Turner (February 8, 1921 — June 29, 1995) was an American actress famed early in her career for tight sweaters and smoldering sensuality and later in her career for sudsy romance films with maximum tragedy and glamorous gowns.
Turner reached the height of her fame in the 1940's and 1950's. She earned the nickname the "Sweater Girl" due to her opening scene in her debut movie They Won't Forget, in which her breasts bounced in her tight sweater.
The name on her birth certificate, as she stated in her autobiography, was Julia Jean Turner, not Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner as many sources claim. In any case, she was called "Judy" as a child and became Lana Turner when she became an actress. She was born in Wallace, Idaho.
Her father was John Virgil Turner, who was born and raised in Hohenwald, Tennessee. John Virgil Turner was a clerk and a gambler who was murdered when she was a child. Her mother was Mildred Frances Cowan who was about 15 when she married John Virgil Turner.
Lana was "discovered" at the age of 15 in 1936 at the Top Hat Cafй in Hollywood by film journalist William R. Wilkerson, who introduced her to actor/comedian/talent agent Zeppo Marx.
During WWII, Turner became a popular pin-up girl due to her popularity in such films such as Ziegfeld Girl, Johnny Eager, and two films with MGM's king of the lot: Clark Gable (the films' successes were only heightened by gossip column rumors about a relationship between the two).
After the war, Turner's career hit a new high with the classic 1946 film noir The Postman Always Rings Twice co-starring John Garfield. During the 1950's, Turner's films started to flop at the box-office, until she starred in Vincente Minnelli's masterpiece The Bad and the Beautiful and later the big screen adaptation of Grace Metalious's best-selling novel Peyton Place in which she earned an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress.
Off-screen, Turner was married eight times to seven different husbands, and had many lovers, including Howard Hughes, who gave her syphilis, and a gangster named Johnny Stompanato who was fatally stabbed by Turner's daughter, Cheryl Crane. (The killing was deemed a justifiable homicide by coroner's inquest.)
Her husbands were bandleader Artie Shaw (1940); actor-restaurateur Josef Stephen Crane (1942-1943, 1943-44); millionaire socialite Henry J. Topping, Jr. (1948-52); actor Lex Barker (1953-57), whom she divorced after her daughter Cheryl claimed that he molested her; rancher Fred May (1960-62); businessman Robert Eaton (1965-69); and nightclub hypnotist Ronald Peller (a.k.a. Ronald Dante) (1969-72).
In the 1970s and 1980s, Turner appeared in several television roles, but the majority of her final decade was spent out of the public eye.
She died rather suddenly at the age of 74 in 1995 of complications from the throat cancer which was diagnosed in 1992 and which she had been battling ever since, at her home in Century City, California.
She was survived by her only child, her daughter, Cheryl Crane, and Cheryl's life partner, who she said she accepted "as a second daughter", who inherited Lana's sizeable estate, thanks to shrewd real estate holdings and investments.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Lana Turner has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6241 Hollywood Blvd.
The eminent now-deceased American poet Frank O'Hara wrote a poem entitled "Lana Turner Has Collapsed" inspired by Turner after seeing a headline about her soon after her lover Stompanato's murder.
• A Star Is Born (1937) (scenes deleted)
• They Won't Forget (1937)
• Topper (1937)
• The Great Garrick (1937)
• The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938)
• Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
• The Chaser (1938) (scenes deleted)
• Four's a Crowd (1938)
• Rich Man, Poor Girl (1938)
• Dramatic School (1938)
• Calling Dr. Kildare (1939)
• These Glamour Girls (1939)
• Dancing Co-Ed (1939)
• Two Girls on Broadway (1940)
• We Who Are Young (1940)
• Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
• Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)
• Honky Tonk (1941)
• Johnny Eager (1942)
• Somewhere I'll Find You (1942)
• Strictly G.I. (1943) (short subject)
• The Youngest Profession (1943) (Cameo)
• Slightly Dangerous (1943)
• Show Business at War (1943) (short subject)
• Du Barry Was a Lady (1943) (cameo)
• Marriage Is a Private Affair (1944)
• Keep Your Powder Dry (1945)
• Week-End at the Waldorf (1945)
• The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
• Green Dolphin Street (1947)
• Cass Timberlane (1947)
• Homecoming (1948)
• The Three Musketeers (1948)
• A Life of Her Own (1950)
• Mr.Imperium (1951)
• The Merry Widow (1952)
• The Bad and the Beautiful (1953)
• Latin Lovers (1953)
• The Flame and the Flesh (1954)
• Betrayed (1954)
• The Prodigal (1955)
• The Sea Chase (1955)
• The Rains of Ranchipur (1955)
• Diane (1956)
• Peyton Place (1957)
• The Lady Takes a Flyer (1958)
• Another Time, Another Place (1958)
• Imitation of Life (1959)
• Portrait in Black (1960)
• By Love Possessed (1961)
• Bachelor in Paradise (1961)
• Who's Got the Action? (1962)
• Love Has Many Faces (1965)
• Madame X (1966)
• The Big Cube (1969)
• Persecution (1974)
• Bittersweet Love (1976)
• Witches' Brew (1980)
• Thwarted (1991)
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