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Lana Turner

Lana Turner (February 8, 1921 - June 29, 1995) was an American actress famed early in her career for tight sweaters and smoldering sensuality and later in her career for sudsy romance films with maximum tragedy and glamorous gowns.

The name on her birth certificate, as she stated in her autobiography, was Julia Jean Turner, not Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner as many sources claim. In any case, she was called Judy as a child and became Lana Turner when she became an actress. She was born in Wallace, Idaho, and died in Century City, California. Her father was John Virgil Turner, a clerk and gambler who was murdered when she was a child; her mother was Mildred Frances Cowan.

Lana Turner reached the height of her fame in the 1940s and 50s. She was "discovered" at the age of 15 in the Top Hat Café in Hollywood by film journalist William R. Wilkerson, who introduced her to actor/comedian/talent agent Zeppo Marx. Turner went on to star in numerous films. The actress was nominated for an Academy Award for the 1957 movie Peyton Place.

Off screen, Turner was married eight times to seven different husbands, and had many lovers, including a gangster named Johnny Stompanato who was fatally stabbed by Turner's daughter, Cheryl Crane (The killing was deemed a justifiable homicide by coroner's inquest.)

Her husbands were bandleader Artie Shaw (1940); actor-restaurateur Josef Stephen Crane (1942-1943, 1943-44); millionaire socialite Henry J. Topping, Jr (1948-52); actor Lex Barker (1953-57), whom she divorced after her daughter Cheryl claimed that he molested her; rancher Fred May (1960-62); businessman Robert Eaton (1965-69); and nightclub hypnotist Ronald Peller, a.k.a. Ronald Dante (1969-72).

In the 1970s and 80s, Turner appeared in several television roles, but the majority of her final decade was spent out of the public eye. She died in 1995 of throat cancer which was diagnosed in 1992.

The eminent American poet Frank O'Hara wrote a poem featuring Turner after seeing a headline about her soon after her lover Stompanato's murder:

Lana Turner has collapsed!/ I was trotting along and suddenly/ it started raining and snowing/ and you said it was hailing/ but hailing hits you on the head/ hard so it was really snowing and/ raining and I was in such a hurry/ to meet you but the traffic/ was acting exactly like the sky/ and suddenly I see a headline/ LANA TURNER HAS COLLAPSED!/ there is no snow in Hollywood/ there is no rain in California/ I have been to lots of parties/ and acted perfectly disgraceful/ but I never actually collapsed/ oh Lana Turner we love you get up