During the 1940’s the legendary actress became one of the highest-paid women in the United States, with leading roles in classics such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Postman Always Rings Twice
Remembering the Hollywood glamour icon Lana Turner born 99 years ago today
A Brief Overlook on Lana Turner’s life and career
One of Hollywood’s Golden Age biggest stars and glamour icon, the actress Lana Turner was born Julia Jean Turner on February 8, 1921 in Wallace, Idaho. She was 15 when she was discovered while purchasing a soda at the Top Hat Malt Shop in Hollywood and soon after, at age 16 was signed to a personal contract by Warner Bros director Mervyn LeRoy, who later took her with him when he transferred to MGM in 1938. It was as a MGM star that Lana Turner became a leading actress and one of the highest-paid women in the United States during the 1940’s, appearing in films such as Johnny Eager 1941, the musical Ziegfeld Girl 1941, the horror classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1941 and the romantic war drama Somewhere I’ll Find You 1942 opposite Clark Gable with whom she starred together in several films. The actress reputation as a glamorous femme fatale was enhanced by her role in the film noir The Postman Always Rings Twice in 1946, that established her as a serious dramatic actress, being critically acclaimed for her performance in the film. During the 1950’s she continued to enjoy success and earned a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress thanks to her role in the 1957 Peyton Place.
Scandal invaded her personal life when in 1958 her 14-year-old daughter Cheryl Crane stabbed Turner’s lover Johnny Stompanato to death in their home. During Cheryl’s juvenile court hearing the judge expressed concerns over her receiving “proper parental supervision” and the teenager was ultimately released to the care of her grandmother. Professionally, Lana Turner achieved soon after, in 1959, the greatest financial success of her career with Imitation of Life. In 1966 she starred in the last film success of her career in Madame X, earning a David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actress. She only would appear in four more films, The Big Cube in 1969, Persecution in 1974, Bittersweet Love in 1976 and a role in the 1980 comedy horror Witches’Brew. During the 1980’s, in her sixties, Lana Turner accepted a much-publicized and lucrative recurring role in the hit TV series Falcon Crest, earning the show notable high ratings. After being diagnosed with throat cancer in 1992, the glamour icon passed in 1995 at age 74. Lana Turner is still regarded as one of the most influential actresses ever, and her femme fatale style has been followed by numerous actresses, models and artists over the decades.
Watch a scene from The Postman Always Rings Twice featuring Lana Turner, 1946
Interview with Lana Turner, Joan Rivers Show, 1982
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