LANA TURNER Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Lana Turner.                                                                       
Birth name: Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner                                             
Born: 8 February 1921 Wallace, Idaho, U.S.                                               
Died: 29 June 1995 Century City, Los Angeles, California, U.S.                           
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 native.                                                     
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.                                                         
On December 14, 1930, John Turner won a bit of money at a traveling craps game,           
stuffed his winnings in his left sock, and headed for home. He was later found           
dead on the corner of Minnesota and Mariposa Streets, on the edge of Potrero             
Hill and the Mission District in San Francisco, his left sock missing. The               
robbery and murder were never solved. Soon after, Mildred Turner developed               
health problems and was advised by her doctor to move to a drier climate. She             
and her 10-year-old daughter moved to Los Angeles in 1931.                               
Turner's discovery at Schwab's Drug Store has become one of Hollywood's most             
enduring show-business legends. The true story differs only slightly from that           
legend. As a 16-year-old student at Hollywood High, Turner decided to skip a             
typing class and buy a Coke at the Top Hat Cafe located on the southeast corner           
of Sunset Boulevard and McCadden Place. There, she was spotted by William R.             
Wilkerson, publisher of the Hollywood Reporter, and his wife Tichi. Wilkerson             
was struck by her beauty and physique, and referred her to the actor/comedian/talent     
agent Zeppo Marx. Marx's agency immediately signed her on and introduced her to           
film director Mervyn LeRoy, who cast her in her first film, 1937's They Won't             
Forget. She also appeared as an extra that year in A Star Is Born. If the viewer         
doesn't blink, Lana can be spotted in the crowd at a boxing match.                       
Turner earned the nickname "The Sweater Girl" from her form-fitting attire in a           
scene in They Won't Forget. She reached the height of her fame in the 1940s and           
1950s. During World War II, Turner became a popular pin-up girl due to her               
popularity in such films such as Ziegfeld Girl, Johnny Eager, and four films             
with MGM's king of the lot: Clark Gable (the films' success was only heightened           
by gossip-column rumors about a relationship between the two).                           
After the war, Turner's career hit a new high with the 1946 classic film noir             
The Postman Always Rings Twice, co-starring John Garfield.                               
During the 1950s, Turner starred in a series of films that failed to succeed at           
the box office, a situation which MGM attempted to remedy by casting her in               
musicals. The first, Mr. Imperium, was a flop, while The Merry Widow was more             
successful. She gave a widely-praised performance in Vincente Minnelli's 1952             
film, The Bad and the Beautiful , and later starred with John Wayne in the               
adventure film The Sea Chase. She was then cast in the epic The Prodigal, but             
the film and her performance in general were not well received. After the 1956           
film, Diane, MGM opted not to renew her contract.                                         
Turner's career recovered briefly after appearing in the hugely-successful big-screen     
adaptation of Grace Metalious's best-selling novel, Peyton Place, for which she           
was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Another few box-office               
failures followed (Another Time, Another Place, for example) when the 1958               
scandal surrounding the death of Johnny Stompanato threatened to derail her               
career completely. Fearing she would never work again,  Turner                           
accepted the lead role in Ross Hunter's re-make of Imitation of Life under the           
direction of Douglas Sirk. Universal Studios capitalized on her new-found                 
notoriety. The result was one of the biggest hits of 1959, not to mention the             
biggest hit of Turner's career. Since Turner had accepted a percentage of the             
box-office receipts in lieu of salary, she was paid handsomely for the role.             
Critics and audiences couldn't help noticing that both Peyton and Imitation               
borrowed from Turner's private life — a single mother coping with a troubled           
teenage daughter.                                                                         
In 1961, she made her last film appearance under her old contract with MGM,               
starring with Bob Hope in Bachelor in Paradise. Other highlights of this era             
include two Ross Hunter productions, Portrait in Black and Madame X, which               
proved to be her last major starring role.