Lana is a mixture of Scottish, Irish, English, and Dutch
Her eyebrows were shaved off for the bit part of a harem girl early in her screen career. They never grew back. She
had to draw or paste them on.
Fainted during her wedding to Lex Barker in 1953.
Billy Wilkerson of The Hollywood Reporter discovered her sipping a Coke in a drugstore and was so
taken by her he blurted out that standard Hollywood line, “How’d you like to be in pictures?”. Her first
role, ironically had her in a tight skirt and even tighter sweater sitting at a drugstore counter.
No wonder she was called “The Sweater Girl.”
She preferred her name be pronounced “Lawn-a” instead of the version rhyming with
She was a life long Democrat and campaigned for Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the
1944 presidential election.
She was set to appear in Anatomy of a Murder (1959) with James Stewart until she
objected to the off-the-rack wardrobe that director Otto Preminger had selected for her.
Lee Remick took over the role.
Once a fire broke out at her apartment, forcing her to evacuate. Naturally, Lana grabbed only the
essentials: lipstick, eyebrow pencil, and a hairdryer.
Lana said that “the role I like best” was that of Cora Smith in The
Postman Always Rings Twice (1946).
She loved shoes. She once owned 689 pairs! She had a special room with shelves from floor to
ceiling filled with shoes and would have to use a library ladder to select a pair.
If she hadn’t gone into movies she says she would have become a fashion designer.
Lana says her first adolescent crush was her homeroom teacher, Miss Petch because
of the way she dressed.
She suffered with a congenital Rh blood factor.
Lana Turner’s first check was for $50. She received $50 a week for the part of Mary
Clay in They Won’t Forget.
She attended Catholic school and even though she hadn’t been baptized Catholic,
she attended Church on Sundays and loved the ritual so much she wanted to convert. Her mother agreed and so she
did. Her father however, was furious.
Lana was a cheerleader and had played on the girls’ softball team in San Francisco.
Though she was the one who had suggested the name “Lana” to Mervyn LeRoy she didn’t know that in Spanish “Lana”
means wool- the material of that famous tight sweater.
She met Virginia Grey on the set of Dramatic School and the two became lifetime friends.
She tested for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind.
For almost all of her early films, Lana Turner played with her own auburn hair and was usually
described as a redhead. Her auburn hair was bleached in 1939 for Idiot’s Delight.
She had her appendix removed after an acute attack when she was 14.
One of her first cars was a brand new fire-engine-red Chrysler coupe.
She loved dancing and claimed to be good at it.
Lana lost her virginity to Greg Bautzer when she was seventeen.
While married to Artie Shaw, Lana Turner had no idea she was his third wife until
one day he let something slip about his second wife.
Lana’s mother had given her a baby grand piano as a wedding present after she married Artie
Shaw. After the divorce, Artie refused to return it to her. Lana
never forgave him for that.
Is one of the movie stars mentioned by Madonna’s smash hit “Vogue.”
Lana was never once in the annual Motion Picture Exhibitors of America list of the top ten box office
Her famous co-star, Robert Taylor, said of her, "I couldn't take my eyes off her, and there
were times during Johnny Eager when I thought I'd explode... She was the type of woman for whom a
guy would risk five years in jail for rape. I don't think she knew how to talk without being sexy. When she said
'Good morning,' I melted.".
When Turner co-starred with Robert Taylor in Johnny Eager they were billed as
"T-N-T... they're dynamite in Johnny Eager."
Liberty magazine claimed that between her first and second marriages she "dated, conservatively, 150 members of
the opposite sex, was engaged to be married to five different men, and actually was on the verge of going to the
altar with a dozen."
Her first marriage, to bandleader Artie Shaw, lasted a whole four months and seventeen days,
and forever after, Lana referred to it as her "college education."
During World War II Lana became one of Hollywood's most popular pin-up girls. Unlike
Betty Grable and other pin-ups she was not paraded around in bathing suits. MGM wanted her to have
a more glamorous image so she was photographed in lingerie and fur.
Lana had a hard time dealing with the fact that her daughter Cheryl was gay
but eventually she accepted her steady girlfriend, Josh, as part of the family.
'The Bad and the Beautiful' (1953) holds the record for the most Academy Awards won by a film
(five) not nominated for Best Picture.
'Peyton Place' (1957) was nominated for nine Academy Awards, but the film didn't win any.
'By Love Possessed' (1961) was the very first film shown on a commercial airplane (TWA) as an
In later life she developed the bizarre habit of refusing to walk in and out of any airport. Since the
mid-sixties a wheelchair has fetched Lana from curb to ramp.
She refused to attend funerals and stated in her will that she was not to have one. She said she wanted to be
cremated, her ashes scattered by plane over the Pacific Ocean.
Her favorite expression was "I don't have to do anything."
Lana was known as Two-take Turner in the industry. She was able to hit a scene
on target and to the director's satisfaction by the second take, and would become edgy when a scene had to be shot
more than two or three times through the fault of another actor.
Lana never went on a trip of any kind without a well-packed portable bar. In airplanes, it
always rode with her since Lana didn't want to be at the mercy of the stewardesses who seemed to
take forever serving drinks.
On rising she always made her own bed. It was the only housework she knew-- maids were never to touch the
intimate place where she slept.
Georgia Holt, mother of Cher, was a huge fan of Lana's and
baptized her daughter as Cherlyn, a spin on Cheryl, the name of Lana's only daughter.
Whenever she bought a pair of shoes, she invariably added, "I'll take them in every color they come
She owned fifty percent of the net profits of 'Imitation of Life,' her comeback movie.
The film grossed eleven million dollars the first year alone. Though Elizabeth Taylor would make
headlines three years later when she was paid a breathtaking one million dollars to make
'Cleopatra,'Lana's earnings from 'Imitation of Life' handily
Was supposedly engaged to Howard Hughes for eight hours while on a cross-country flight with
Howard at the controls. In her eagerness to marry him, Lana had towels made up that were
monogrammed "H.H." When they abruptly split up, Hughes supposedly advised
her, "Go marry Huntington Hartford."
Lana's auburn hair was bleached for "Idiot's Delight" (1939). She was
withdrawn from the film, but the fact that she had become a blonde not only changed her screen image but gave her
such an outgoing, swinging personality that Hollywood called her the Nightclub Queen.
She was a true American hybrid, with a mixture of Scotch, Irish, Dutch and
She was called the Sweater Girl. Interestingly, Lana, translated into
Spanish means "wool."
Once when she was being interviewed by Hedda Hopper, Lex Barker,
Lana's future husband, was in the same room. There was a large vase of flowers blocking her
view of Lex, so Lana got up, walked across the room and removed them, remarking, "He's brand
new and I want to look at him!"
A fan met Lana at Macy's when she was signing her autobiography, back in the
days when Macy's had book signings. He said "I love you." She said "I know!"
Her father Virgil was robbed, beaten and killed after winning big at the crap table. His body
was found on the street with one sock missing-- the sock where he stashed his money.
In 1937 she starred in "The Adventures of Marco Polo" with Gary Cooper. Part
of her make-up consisted of black slanted eyebrows that were glued on with fishnet and pulled off after filming
each day. By the time the movie was finished Lana's eyebrows had disappeared completely and would
never grow back, forcing her to paint them on for the rest of her life.
In 1973 her ex-husband Lex Barker collapsed and died of a massive heart attack. When Lana heard
the news she said, "What took him so long?"
In 1983 Lana retired from show business after appearing in the prime time soap opera "Falcon
Crest."Jane Wyman, who was the star of the series, was miffed that Lana demanded
star treatment. Her character was killed off at the end of the first season.
Lana died on the night of 29 June 1995 in the arms of Carmen Cruz, her maid of
44 years. She was cremated and her ashes are in her daughter's possession. Cheryl inherited a
small sum of money, jewels and furs from her mother. The balance of Lana's $ 2,000,000 estate was willed to
Lana was not discovered by Mervyn Leroy while drinking a coke at
Schwab's. The legend persists but it was only a publicist story put out by the studio. She
was discovered at the Top Hat Cafe by Billy Wilkerson, publisher of the Hollywood
Lana's mom Mildred did hair for a living. Lana took care of her for her entire
career in film. In fact, when Lana got her very first paycheck from MGM she put it in her mother's hand and said,
"Mama, you will never have to work again." And she didn't.
Always said the greatest love of her life was Tyrone Power.
During her reign as First Lady of Argentina, Eva Perón patterned herself after
Lana, in particular she copied Lana's hairstyles, makeup and tailored suits.
In 1958 Lana picked a relatively unknown actor, Sean Connery, over eight other
contenders to play opposite her in "Another Time, Another Place". During that movie the two
began a short lived affair.
Claimed to have lost her virginity to a young, handsome Beverly Hills celebrity attorney, Greg
Bautzer whose name was legendary in the bedrooms of Hollywood.
Married Stephan Crane on July 17, 1942 only to find out that his Mexican divorce from his first
wife was not valid in the U.S. Lana by now was pregnant with her daughter
Cheryl so in order to avoid a scandal, Louis B. Mayer pulled strings, got
the Mexican divorce sanctioned in the US and arranged a quickie re-marriage to protect his star.
Claimed she was celibate for the last twenty years of her life.
In the movie "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" with Spencer Tracy and Ingrid
Bergman she was originally supposed to play the part of Ivy, the tart, and
Bergman was supposed to play the innocent girl engaged to Tracy but
Bergman wanted Turner's part and so the roles were switched.
Was rumored to have a brief affair with Ava Gardner.
Director Victor Fleming couldn't get her to cry on cue for a scene in "Dr Jekyll and Mr
Hyde" (1941) so in a fit of anger he grabbed her arm and twisted it sharply round her back until the
Once owned 698 pairs of shoes.
Said her ambition in life was to have one husband and seven children, but it worked out the other way
Worked as a cinema usherette.
Never won an Oscar.
When she was three years old her mother took her to a train station. A woman appeared at the window of a passing
train and Turner's mother said, 'That's your real mother, not me.' She had no reason for doing this beyond playing
a prank, but it traumatized Lana for years afterwards.
Fainted during her 1953 wedding to Lex Barker.
Her daughter Cheryl stabbed Lana's boyfriend Johnny Stampato to death when he
threatened to carve her up.
When told that Pearl Harbor had been destroyed, Lana reportedly answered,
'Who's Pearl Harbor?'
She reportedly gave fourth husband Lex Barker 30 minutes to pack his bags and get the hell out
after discovering he had been molesting her daughter Cheryl.
Dated Judge Lou Wapner of People's Court fame for a time when they were in high school
Lana's autobiography, entitled Lana, the Lady, the Legend, the Truth, was
published in 1982.
Heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis claimed he had an affair with Lana in
the 1940's but she never confirmed or denied this.
Reportedly had an affair with Clark Gable in the early 1940's while appearing in two films with
Originally wanted to tell the police that it was her, not daughter Cheryl, who had stabbed
Johnny Stompanato to death but was dissuaded from doing so by her attorney.
Linda Darnell was Lana's bridesmaid at her first wedding to second husband Stephen
Lana's mother was only four days short of her 17th birthday when she gave birth to her.
Twice appeared as the Mystery Guest on episodes of What's My Line?