Lana Turner (born Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner; February 8, 1921 – June 29, 1995) was an American film and television actress. Discovered and signed to a film contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer at the age of 16, Turner first attracted attention in They Won't Forget (1937), and later starred in featured roles, often as an ingenue.
During the early 1940s, she established herself as a leading actress in such films as Johnny Eager (1941), Honky Tonk (1941), Ziegfeld Girl (1941), and Somewhere I'll Find You (1942). She appeared in the 1941 horror film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and her reputation as a glamorous femme fatale was enhanced by her performance in the film noir The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946). Her popularity continued through the 1950s, in such films as The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and Peyton Place (1957), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Media controversy surrounded Turner in 1958 when her daughter, Cheryl Crane, stabbed Turner's lover Johnny Stompanato to death in their Beverly Hills home; a coroner's inquest concluded that Crane had acted in self-defense. Turner's next film, Imitation of Life (1959), proved to be one of the greatest successes of her career, but from the early 1960s, her roles were fewer. Turner spent most of the 1970s and early 1980s in semiretirement, only working occasionally. In 1982, she accepted a much publicized and lucrative recurring guest role in the television series Falcon Crest, affording the series the highest rating it ever achieved. Turner made her final film appearance in 1991, and died from throat cancer in 1995, aged 74.
By Dean Hanley
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