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.
The soon-to-be "Sweater Girl" from 1937's "They Won't Forget."
Romance with Clark Gable in 1941's "Honky Tonk." Lucky fella.
Getting carried away by Kirk Douglas in "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952).
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