Real name: Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner
Birthdate: June 29, 1921
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Lana Turner (February 8, 1921 – June 29, 1995) was an Academy Award-nominated American film actress. On-screen, she was well-known for the glamour and sensuality she brought to almost all her movie roles. Off-screen, she led a stormy and colorful private life which included seven husbands, numerous lovers, and a famous murder scandal.
Born Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner in Wallace, Idaho, she was the daughter of John Virgil Turner, a miner from Hohenwald, Tennessee and Mildred Frances Cowan, a 16-year-old Alabama girl.
Until her film career took off, she was known to family and friends as "Judy". Hard times eventually forced the family to re-locate to San Francisco, where John and Mildred soon separated.
Of her many love affairs, Turner reportedly once said "I liked the boys, and the boys liked me." Turner was married eight times to seven different husbands, and had many lovers, including; Joseph Wapner, her high school boyfriend who would later achieve fame on The People's Court, Tyrone Power (whom she calls the love of her life in her autobiography), Victor Mature, Fernando Lamas, and a small-time hood named Johnny Stompanato.
Her husbands were:
- Bandleader Artie Shaw (1940) Married only four months, Turner was 19 when she and Shaw eloped on their first date. She later referred to their stormy and verbally abusive relationship as "my college education".
- Actor-restaurateur Josef Stephen Crane (1942-43, 1943-44) Turner and Crane's first marriage was annulled after she discovered that Crane's previous divorce had not yet been finalized. After a brief separation (during which Crane attempted suicide), they re-married to provide for their newborn daughter, Cheryl.
- Millionaire socialite Henry J. Topping, Jr. (1948-52) Topping proposed to Turner at the 21 Club in Los Angeles by dropping a diamond ring into her martini. Although worth millions when they married, Topping suffered heavy financial losses due to poor investments and excessive gambling. Turner finally divorced Topping when she realized she could no longer afford to keep them in the lavish lifestyle to which they had grown accustomed.
- Actor Lex Barker (1953-57), whom she divorced after her daughter Cheryl claimed that he repeatedly molested and raped her.
- Rancher Fred May (1960-62)
- Robert P. Eaton (1965-69); who later went on to write The Body Brokers, a behind-the-scenes look at the Hollywood movie world, featuring a character named Marla Jordan, based on Turner.
- Nightclub hypnotist Ronald Peller (aka Ronald Dante, 1969-72)
On the evening of April 4, 1958, Turner and Stompanato began a violent argument in Turner's house at 730 N. Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills. Fearing her mother's life was in danger, Turner's 14-year-old daughter, Cheryl Crane grabbed a kitchen knife and ran to Turner's defense. Many theories abound as to what happened afterward, but it appears Crane stabbed Stompanato, killing him. The case quickly became a media sensation. It was later deemed a justifiable homicide at a coroner's inquest, at which Turner provided dramatic testimony. Some observers have said her testimony that day was the acting performance of her life.