2/8/1921 to 6/29/1995
Lana Turner was born Julia Jean Mildred Francis Turner in Wallace, Idaho. 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 sought after something that would last forever. Stardom. She wasn’t found at a drug store counter like some would have you believe, but the legend persists. She pounded the pavement that other would be actors and actresses have done 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). The films didn't bring Lana a lot of notoriety, but it was a start. In 1938, Lana 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". One look at that film could make you understand why. Lana was one of the most beautiful newcomers to grace the silver screen in years. By the 1940's Lana was firmly entrenched in the film colony. Good roles found her in such films as Johnny Eager (1941), Somewhere I'll Find You (1942), and Week-End at the Waldorf (1945). Her private life, however, was a super mess. It kept Lana in the news in a way no one would have wanted. Without a doubt it was career threatening. She was married eight times, twice to Steve Crane. She also married Ronald Dante, Robert Eaton, Fred May, Lex Barker, Henry Topping, and to Artie Shaw. She also battled alcoholism. Her daughter by Crane, Cheryl Crane, fatally stabbed boyfriend Johnny Stampanato in 1958. It was a case that would have rivalled the O.J. Simpson murder case today. Her daughter was acquitted with the court ruling it justifiable homicide. All these interfered with her acting career, but she persevered. The release of Imitation of Life (1959), a remake of a 1934 film, was Lana's comeback vehicle. Her performance was flawless as Lora Meredith, 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 1960's, she had fewer roles coming her way with the rise of new and younger stars. She still turned in memorable roles 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) where she played Jacqueline Perrault from 1982-1983. After all those years as a heartthrob, nothing had changed. Lana was still as beautiful as ever. Lana died June 25, 1995 in Culver City, California after a long bout with cancer. She was 75 years old.