CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Monday, November 23, 2009

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Week - Lana Turner

Decided to kick off my new weekly blog on classic movie goddesses with Lana Turner after having watched her in Ziegfeld Girl (1941) the other day. She gave an amazing performance and stole the movie from Judy Garland and Hedy Lamarr, not exactly pushovers. But I do believe Lana to have been a very underrated actress, that most critics judged her by her stunning looks and not her acting ability. Don't get me wrong, Lana is very easy on the eyes but she was much more than that. She gave several strong performances most notably in Imitation of Life (1958), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Peyton Place (1957) and the a fore mentioned Ziegfeld Girl.

Lana was born Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner on February 8, 1921 in Wallace, Idaho. She didn't have the easiest of childhoods as her father was murdered when she was eight, which prompted her family to move to California. As legend states, she was discovered at Currie's Drug Store by a talent agent, who brought Lana before director Mervyn LeRoy, who cast her in a small role as a murder victim in his 1937 film They Won't Forget. Publicists quickly dubbed her "the sweater girl" and the rest is history.

Lana would work with some of the biggest stars early and often such as Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Kirk Douglas. She was one of the top box-office draws during the 40's. And amid all the marriages and scandals, not to mention the killing of her abusive lover Johnny Stompanato by her own daughter in self defense, her clout at the movies gained even more into the 50's. She scored big hits with 1952's The Bad and the Beautiful, 1957's Peyton Place, and the seminal tearjerker Imitation of Life (1958) which provided Lana with one of her strongest roles ever.

Lana would finish out her career on TV with a plum role on the nighttime soap Falcon Crest. She died on June 29, 1995 of throat cancer at the age of 74. Throughout the week I will post tons of pics of Lana and more information about her personal life and a list of her essential films to see, in my opinion. So just sit back and enjoy the daily posts on one of Hollywood's great Movie Goddesses.

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