Lana's life started out rough, and then looked like it would be a storybook. When she was a young girl, her father was murdered and robbed after winning at a crap game. While living in LA, the 16 year old Lana was discovered by a magazine publisher as she sat drinking a Coke at the Top Hat Cafe - and the well known legend was born.
Lana proved to be not only a pinup success, but also a well reviewed actress. She appeared in many films from the late 1930's up through television appearances in the 1970s and 80s.
Lana was married a total of 8 times, to seven different men. Most of the marriages ended disasterously. Not as disasterously as her affair with Mobster Johnny Stompanato, though.
Stompanato was a small time hood, associated with the more sizable gangster Mickey Cohen. He and Turner had a stormy romance, to say the least. He once stormed on to the set of a movie she was filming in England - brandishing a gun and accusing her of cheating on him with actor Sean Connery. Connery punched Stompanato, disarmed him, and had him removed from the set.
Once back in the US, Turner and Stompanato reportedly got into an argument that turned physically violent. Turner's teenaged daughter was present, and she ended up stabbing Stompanto to death. The Courts later ruled that the stabbing was self defense.
Yeah... she was a beauty, all right. She also was reportedly a really sweet lady. But what is it with gorgeous women and crazy drama? Lana Turner is a classic example of the woman who is constantly attracted to the "bad boy".
Here's a Youtube clip that I really like, featuring a very young Lana Turner staring as a Soda Fountain worker in a Dept. Store. The movie is "Slightly Dangerous", and unfortunately it's not out on DVD or Video - so you'll have to catch it on TCM sometime if you want to see the whole thing.