Humor has been the balm of my life, but it’s been reserved for those close to me, not part of the public
I’ve always loved a challenge.
The thing about happiness is that it doesn’t help you to grow; only unhappiness does that. So I’m grateful that my
bed of roses was made up equally of blossoms and thorns. I’ve had a privileged, creative, exciting life, and I
think that the parts that were less joyous were preparing me, testing me, strengthening me.
Trash is something you get rid of - or disease. I’m not something you get rid of.
At what age does a lady become a legend? For me it was fifty-four.
A successful man is one who makes more money than a wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a
I find men terribly exciting, and any girl who says she doesn’t is an anemic old maid, a streetwalker, or a
I planned on having one husband and seven children, but it turned out the other way around.
I liked the boys and the boys liked me.
All those years that my image on the screen was sex goddess-well that makes me laugh. Sex was never important to
me. I’m sorry if that disappoints you, but it’s true. Romance, yes. Romance was very important. But I never liked
being rushed into bed, and I never allowed it. I’d put it off as long as I could and I gave in only when I was in
love, or thought I was. It was always the courtship, the cuddling, and the closeness that I cared about, never the
act of sex itself-with some exceptions of course. I’m not masquerading as a prude , but I’ve always been portrayed
as a sexy woman, and that’s wrong. Sensuous, yes. When I’m involved with someone I care for deeply, I can feel
sensual. But that’s a private matter.
Well, it was horrible. Meaningless and over in a minute. He just went limp, and he was so quiet about it. As for
me, I experienced nothing but a question- what am I doing underneath this man?
-- about first husband Artie Shaw.
How long I had been asleep I don’t know, but suddenly I was sitting up straight in the darkness. Before me was a
vision so intense that it seemed to be alive. I saw a huge medallion of shining gold, and on -- it was embossed the
face of God, a shimmering countenance, comforting, benign. A voice said, Your father is dead. I was filled with awe
but also with a strange sense of peace as I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.
When I awoke in the morning, my mother and Julia Hislop were whispering in a corner. They didn’t have to tell me
why. I already knew that my father was dead. And when the feeling of peace wore off, the surprise at having known
intensified my sense of loss and sorrow. Although I was only nine, I could imagine what death meant. I knew he was
It was all beauty and it was all talent, and if you had it they protected you.
-- on Hollywood.
While I was still in my first year at MGM, I tested for the role of Scarlett O’ Hara in
Gone With the Wind. I had read the book and knew perfectly well that I could never play the role.
That George Cukor himself was doing the test made it all the more embarrassing, for I knew of his
importance as a director. I felt completely out of my league. I prayed for the test to be finished, just so I could
get out of there. Years later, much to my horror, many of the tests for the show were shown on TV, mine
included! Needless to say, I wasn’t the slightest competition for the lady who eventually got it.
Hedy was at the height of her beauty, with thick, wavy, jet-black hair. With that stunning widow’s peak, her
face was magnificent. We all looked up and there she was at the top of the stairs. She wore a cape of some kind up
to her chin, and it swept down to the floor. I can’t even remember the color of the cape, because all I saw was
that incredible face, that magnificent hair-and a huge diamond. The most fabulous solitaire diamond on her
forehead, just at the tip of her widow’s peak. She was enough to make strong men faint. –- about Hedy Lamarr.
When I came back home Artie and Phil were smoking what they called
reefers. I’d heard of marijuana, of course, but I’d never seen it before. It was associated mainly with jazz
musicians. Artie and Phil offered me some, and I said no.
It wasn’t that I fell in love with Artie that night. I wasn’t even physically attracted. But here
was a wonderfully intelligent man, far more talented and famous than Greg(Greg Bautzer a
lawyer Lana had been seeing) would ever be, who took me seriously. And underneath it all I can see, looking
back, was the desire to get even with Greg. After the ceremony we went out to an all-night
diner for coffee. Suddenly I realized that my mother had no idea where I was. The taxi drove us to the telegraph
office, and I wrote out a message: Got Married In Las Vegas. Call You Later. Love, Lana. --
on her elopement with Artie Shaw (after only one date).
Like me, he had been married before. But when he (Artie Shaw) proposed eloping to Las Vegas, though my
inner voices were telling me to delay, I didn’t want to listen. An amazing man, handsome and cultivated and clever,
loved me. And I passionately wanted him too.
One evening I made up my mind that it was time for a serious talk. I told Stephan that I couldn’t
take it anymore, that the marriage was over and I wanted a divorce. He slammed out of the house in a rage. When he
came back he said that he refused to let me divorce him. We were stalemated for a while because he wouldn’t move
out. Once he locked our bedroom door and grabbed me by the arms, threatening to shake some sense into me. He kept
shouting that I couldn’t divorce him, that I had to think of our child. -- on her marraige to Steven Crane.
I rarely lie, but this time I did. I made up a story on the spot, though I was shocked to think of it afterward. I
told Stephan that I was in love with another man. Who? he asked, but I said it didn’t matter. When he persisted I
came up with a name. A second bold lie, the handiest name I could think of. It’s John Hodiak, I
I never dated Mickey Rooney, that adorable nut. He had unmistakable talent, and he knew he was a
How I admired and feared him. But at the same time I couldn’t help liking him. . . .He enjoyed teasing me because I
blush easily. But he kept me on my toes, and I loved doing scenes with him. -- on Lionel Barrymore.
I’d never seen anyone so beautiful and elegant, except at a distance. Although she had a delicious sense of
humor, she still occupied a pedestal, and I was quite in awe of her. Someday, I told myself, I would be like her.
-- on Paulette Goddard.
But more important to me than money, was as always, the love I longed for. And finally I found it, if only for a
moment. The man was Tyrone Power. I had always been attracted to him but I kept my distance
because he was married. Then he and his wife Annabella separated, and one night he invited me over
for drinks. What an evening! All we did was talk and listen to music, but for hours on end. We discovered we had
similar thoughts and feelings, much the same values and tastes. Before he took me home he held me in his arms and
kissed me, and my heart started beating faster. This was a man I could love.
My career was a hollow success, a tissue of fantasies on film. Cheryl loved my mother, and they were both
comfortably endowed in my will. I had never before felt or believed I could be in such a dark hole mentally,
physically, and worst of all spiritually. All the good in my life-my mother, my child, my work, my friends-was
blotted out by the dead feeling that nothing really mattered. I hadn’t heard that suicide was a cry for help. To me
it meant putting a big stop to the pain and anguish. There was none of that I’ll show them. Boy they’ll miss me
when I’m gone nonsense. I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. I was aware that everyone would go on and survive, but I
knew I definitely could not. I wanted out.
In a trance I opened the cabinet and took out the bottle of pills. Methodically I downed them one by one. Then I
thought I would take no chances of being revived. So I took out a razor blade. I didn’t hesitate for an instant.
With one sharp movement, I sliced across my wrist. There was no pain at all. I saw the blood spurt out and that was
the last thing I knew.
I woke up in a darkened room at the hospital. Only one light was on, where somebody was working on my wrist. The
pain was terrible.
Always before in moments of crisis I called on that power we call God to help me through. This time, having lost
faith in others and my faith in myself, I had lost my hope in God too. Now that hope returned. I really believed
that He hadn’t wanted me to die.
I just want to be remembered as a sensitive woman who tried to do her job, that's all... I would like to
think that in some small way I have helped preserve the glamour and the beauty and the mystery of the movie
Never look back is my philosophy.
Whoever started the idea that we (stars) are public property? We give the public performances, glamour, and a
dream. But we are all human beings, and we should have moments that are our own. If I were just an ordinary working
girl and someone asked me some of the questions I've been asked, I'd say, 'Get lost, Buster!' But I just take a
deep breath and try to answer. I resent stupid questions, but I can't do anything about the Lana
Turner image? I've lived with it too long.
You know those little toys they have for children, the ones that bounce back when you hit them? That's me.
There were girls who were prettier, more intelligent, and just as talented. Why didn't they make it? It's a
question of magic. You have it or you don't, I guess, and the lucky ones have had it.
The thing about happiness is that it doesn't help you to grow; only unhappiness does that. So I'm grateful that
my bed of roses was made up equally of blossoms and thorns.
Honeymoon first, and if it lasts, then marriage. I like that.
Whether someone is straight, gay, or neuter has little to do with employability in my business.
Getting close isn't enough. They want to count your pores.
The truth is like surgery, it cuts, but it cures.
I want a man who has the brains to be satisfied with only me.
Left to my own devices, I'd starve to death-- I can't boil water.
How does it happen that something that makes so much sense in the moonlight doesn't make any sense in the
MGM prepared us for stardom but not for life.
When you accept God, you're never alone.
No one I've ever met has more power than Louis B. Mayer, and that includes the president of the
I have never broken up a home.
I can't face the day or an audience without vodka.
I would rather lose a good earring than be caught without make-up.
Humor has been the balm of my life, but it's been reserved for those close to me, not part of the public
I'm so gullible. I'm so damn gullible. And I am so sick of me being gullible.
It's said in Hollywood that you should always forgive your enemies - because you never know
when you'll have to work with them.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find
such a man.
My life has been a series of emergencies.
On meeting President Roosevelt:
He didn’t wait for an aide’s introduction. He just extended his hand and said You are Miss Lana
All I could say was, Yes, Mr. President. He gave me a long look that seemed to take
in everything. What made me do it, I don’t know, but I pulled back my coat so that he could see the lovely dress I
My, he said. you are a beautiful young woman.
Thank you, Mr. President.
I understand you are all going dancing.
I believe so, sir.
As he smiled, his eyes twinkled at me. Then he said, Oh how I wish I could go with you.