Lana Turner, born in Idaho as Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner (couldn't they make up their minds?), was discovered by an industry insider while enjoying a soda at a Hollywood café. She was only 16, but still, there was something about her. No kidding.

Audiences got their first glimpse of Turner in the 1937 thriller "They Won't Forget." Wearing a form-fitting skirt and sweater, her role was brief but memorable, and before long, she became known as "The Sweater Girl." Predictably, a nickname like that aroused attention, particularly among the male population.

Apart from her many films, Turner's tumultuous personal life (seven husbands, eight marriages) ensured she was always in the public eye. She once aptly referred to her own journey as "a series of emergencies."

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Nevertheless, Lana was always a consummate professional, and she understood publicity was part of the game. But at one point, her poor taste in men caught up with her, and she was getting the kind of coverage no public (or private) figure wants.

 On April 4, 1958, Turner's 14 year old daughter Cheryl Crane stabbed to death small-time gangster Johnny Stompanato, Turner's current lover, after overhearing him make threats towards her mother. A judge eventually ruled the incident was justifiable homicide — but Turner and her daughter were estranged for years as a result.

Still, the scandal did not ruin Lana's career; in fact, she'd go on the following year to make one of her better movies, "Imitation Of Life," and continued working in films and television for over twenty years.

 Lana Turner had that mysterious, undefinable quality, that certain something extra that distinguishes a star from an also-ran. But pictures speak louder than words, don't they? To see what I'm talking about, just feast your eyes on the images below.  



Young Lana Turner — before she learned that blondes have more fun. Still, this brunette might have had a few laughs as well.


The soon-to-be "Sweater Girl" from 1937's "They Won't Forget."


Dive right in.


Dog and dame. Animal lovers though we are, we prefer the dame.


Romance with Clark Gable in 1941's "Honky Tonk." Lucky fella.


Voted "Sweetheart of Sandy Hook" by the soldiers at Fort Hancock. Bet she kept that proclamation on her mantle.


Yucking it up with Jimmy Stewart on the set of 1941's "Ziegfeld Girl."


What's on your mind, Lana?


Turner and Sinatra — she gave him something to sing about. 


She beats a statue any day.


Everything looks fine, front and back.


A lady's lipstick should always match her dress, n'est-ce pas?


A youthful Bob Stack teaching Lana how to play soldier. 


Melancholy, or in love? Inquiring minds want to know.


Getting chummy with politicians (including then-Senator Harry S. Truman). I guarantee this made their day!


Hold the whipped cream — better yet, I'll just take it as it comes.


With just a fur to keep her company. Now that's a crime against nature.


Eyes front, John Garfield. On the set of 1946's "The Postman Always Rings Twice."   


Hel-lo.


Garfield and Turner scorching up the screen on "Postman."


Red — or most any color — becomes her.


Either she's looking in a mirror or someone's offering her a cigar.


Violet for her furs.


Getting carried away by Kirk Douglas in "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952).


Enjoying a little sun and smoke in Santa Barbara. Only she could get away with that hat.


What a get-up! Well, at least she looks comfortable.


Aging not only gracefully, but imperceptibly.   


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