Monday, January 05, 2009

This is a fantastic book! If you are a "fan" of Lana Turner, this is the book for you. Written by her daughter Cheryl Crane and a young woman named Cindy De La Hoz, and with Photographs from the Lou Valentino Collection, this is a 400 page Table-Top-Type book that is the most definitive compilation of images and text I've ever seen of this True MGM Glamour Queen. Lana Turner was to me, the epitome of MGM.....She was among the top Stars during the 1940's and early 50's.....A very stunning woman who's career and private life were chronicled in detail, by all the then Movie Magazines of the day, and every other magazine, too.....Life, Look, Etc., Etc......The thing about Lana Turner was not so much that she was a great great actress, though she certainly turned in some very fine performances over the years.....It was her charisma as a woman. Her great Beauty. Her "appeal" was connected to her looks, of course, but there was a kind of vulnerability about her that came through in spite of her great looks....And I think that quality endeared her to women, as well as men.She seemed to live a life that any woman would envy....She was linked romantically to almost every major star during that period....The pictures of her with Tyrone Power that are in the book just make your mouth water with envy....! Two more BEAUTIFUL people have never been seen together before or since.....According to her daughter Cheryl Crane, Power was the love of Lana's life and was also, the 'man that got away'.....Of course, there were plenty of other men as well. She married seven times! (Cheryl's father was Steve Crane, whom she actually married twice....pictured here to the left.....) There was Artie Shaw, and Bob Topping and the actor Lex Barker, who it turned out sexually abused young Cheryl and then there was Fred May, and Bob Eaton, and one more who's name I cannot remember and the last two were very short lived marriages......And, later in life, when referring to all these marriages, she said of the last two husbands something like this: That these marriages should be completely discounted though number seven could certainly charm the birds off the trees as well as any woman alive...and she then said..."But so could a snake!"The most notorious period of her life came on Good Friday of 1958 when her then "boyfriend" Johnny Stompanato---a mob guy, so they say----was threatening her life for the umpteenth time...(He had beaten her up so badly a number of times, that she had to try to hide the bruises on her face with make-up.....)....This was happening in the home on Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills that she and her daughter Cheryl, who was 14 years old at the time, had just moved into a few days before......Cheryl could hear them fighting and got terribly frightened when she heard Stompanato threaten to kill her mother and to kill Lana's mother too, (Cheryl's "Gran",) and then when he said, "And I'll get your daughter, too.....", Cheryl ran downstairs to the kitchen and grabbed a knife and then quickly came back upstairs to her mothers bedroom door....When her mother finally opened the door to her bedroom, Cheryl saw Stompanato with his arm raised as if he was going to hurt her mother....he came towards Cheryl and she stabbed him in the stomach with the knife she was holding, actually killing Johnny Stompanato......Needless to say....this was a horrendous time in their lives and a veritable feast for the then rather, at-that-time, tame Tabloids and the regular papers, too....The most High Powered lawyer in Hollywood at that time was a man named Jerry Geisler...he was called, as were the police. Cheryl spent that night in The Beverly Hills Jail. On Easter Sunday, she was taken to Juvenile Hall, in downtown Los Angeles, where she was subjected to "intake", as was her mother, Lana Turner. (As a side note, my sister was, at that time, a Juvenile Probation Officer for the County Of Los Angeles, and just happened to be on duty that day. It was she, who conducted the "intake" interviews of Cheryl and her mother......)The arraignment was held fairly quickly and it was determined that this had been Justifiable Homicide.....The papers had a field day, especially when Lana Turner testified in court......And, the outcome was that daughter Cheryl was released after the trial. Though the courts then decided in a special custody hearing that it was better for Cheryl to live with her grandmother, and that is what happened.....Eventually Cheryl was sent to a reform school for a period of time because she had some other run-ins with the police following this horrific period....But, that was the end of her problems with the "authorities", and as the years went on, she became very very close to her mother, once again......Lana's career was at a stand still after this terrible life altering scandal. And then, the wonderful Producer Ross Hunter, a true 'gentleman' if ever there was one, came to Lana Turner's rescue with a film offer that was so fantastic Lana couldn't say "no". It was the remake of "Imitation Of Life", and among many of the perks that Ross offered Lana, there was the one big perk that clinched the deal....He offered her 50% of the profits---an unusual 'deal' back then! "Imitation Of Life" was a huge huge success, and then other films followed that, which were very successful too.....Of course, MGM was over and The Studio System was over....And though Lana Turner continued to work in films and theatre....that "golden" period of the 1940's was long gone. But, Lana Turner was never ever forgotten.....She still held this special place in the hearts of her fans.....And until the day she died she was "A STAR" in the truest sense of what that once meant 'back in the day'......

For those too young to remember her or even wonder who and what she was, I recommend a couple of her films. "Ziegfeld Girl"(1941)....what a wonderful magnificent MGM Extravaganza----This was truly a gem, and all the Musical Numbers were staged by that master, Busby Berkley....The cast: Lana, Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr, Jimmy Stewart, Jackie Cooper, among others, and the great Tony Martin singing what would become Lana Turner's signature song..."You Stepped Out Of A Dream"...a Beautiful Beautiful song....and in the context of the extremely "important" one for Lana Turner's character......


"The Postman Always Rings Twice"(1946)...the first time round...with the beautiful Lana Turner, wearing mostly 'white' throughout the entire film....and the very great GREAT and incredibly talented and utterly handsomely sexy John Garfield.....This was a hot hot film and quite daring for it's time. These two sizzled and made you believe they could not NOT touch each other and this was before sex scenes became so very graphic in the late 60's and early 70's.....

And Last..........

"The Bad And The Beautiful"(1953)....what a cast in this one. Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Barry Sullivan, Dick Powell, Walter Pidgeon and Gloria Grahame, who won the Academy Award that year for Best Supporting Actress....This is one of the Best films ever made about The Film Business, and it won 5 Academy Awards that year, including Best Screenplay....and it had this gorgeous lush musical score by David Raksin....And, for me, this was Lana Turners best performance of her entire career....!

There are a lot of other films....I mean, a lot! "Honky Tonk" with Clark Gable and later..."Homecoming" with Gable, again.....Too many films to mention....But if you buy this really fantastic Coffee-Table book, which, by the way, is incredibly reasonably priced on Amazon for a book of this is less than $24. You will learn a great deal about Lana Turner that has not been written about in quite this way and from this unique point of view before.....And, there are more photographs in this book than any book I have ever seen.....It is a Treasure Trove. And every one of Lana's films are listed...the only thing missing are the 'years' those films were made......But I forgive them that, because everything else about this book is quite amazing.

I admire Cheryl Crane a lot! She did not have an easy row to hoe with a mother who was probably the biggest movie star ever...and who was so very much involved with her own career and herself, making Cheryl a kind of after-thought. Cheryl Crane has led an exemplary life and has been in a committed relationship for many many years----35 or more....That in itself is pretty amazing considering her mother was married eight times---twice to the same man---Cheryl's father, and then there were many many men, in between. Cheryl Crane wrote her autobiography, ("Detour") quite a few years ago....and Lana Turner wrote hers, too....

But this book....this beautiful and amazing book is a true love letter to the memory of a woman who was not only her mother, but who was also a movie star who touched so very many many people when 'the movies' were "THE MOVIES"....and when A Star...was "A STAR"...As I said, Lana Turner remained a 'star' until her death on June 29th, 1995, even appearing on Television as a regular on the night-time soap, "Falcon's Crest"......

Here below is a wonderul clip from "Ziegfeld Girl", with Tony Martin singing that fabulous signiture song, "You Stepped Out Of A Dream", to all the "Ziegfeld Girls", including Hedy Lamarr and Lana Turner, of course, as they came floating down the staircase in time with the music and all looking stunning, to say the least....Lana Turner was truly gorgeous in this film.....Do Enjoy!

More To Come..........

Note: A few days ago, I read that the very talented actor Bernie Hamilton died. He was 80 years old. Back in 1962, I produced The West Coast Premiere of a play by Michael Shurtleff, at the Coronet Theatre here in Los Angeles, called "CALL ME BY MY RIGHTFUL NAME"....This was a memorable period for me.....The three leads in the play were played by George Brenlin, Mitzi Hoag and Bernie Hamilton.....Bernie's career had many true highlights, and here below, I will name just two: He starred in a very very special film in 1964 called "One Potato, Two Potato", with the wonderful actress, Barbara Barrie.....and second, the television series that he was Best known for, "Starsky & Hutch"......R.I.P., dear Bernie........

Links to this post:


had this to say:

Thank you for this post. I've seen some of the fabulous movies mentioned but not all of them. I'm going to go looking for them now on Netflix.

I love biographies. I am going to order this right away!


Monday, January 5, 2009 at 1:31:00 AM PST 

Blogger PI
had this to say:

That brought back a lot of memories - thank you Naomi. Was she really discovered in a milk-bar, or drug -store I think you call them? Like most of my age group - we were the cinema generation and Lana was one of the big stars. The two films that made the greatest impression were 'The Postman always rings twice and 'The Bad and the Beautiful.'
Such a pity that so many of the stars had awful private lives which affected their children also.
I'm glad to hear Cheryl survived and made a success of her life.

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 4:11:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

after reading all about Lana you go and mention Bernie Hamilton and the movie One Potato, Two Potato. I saw that movie when i was much younger and I have to tell you.. the movie has never left me.. it was a movie you could love and hate at the same time. Barbara Barrie was wonderful in it and the story unforgettable and had much to say about society of the time.

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 4:24:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I always thought she was a beautiful woman....It is too bad that she had such a roller coaster of a private life. I am glad that her daughter was able to pull through all of her troubles and live a decent life. Thanks for the review, Naomi.

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 6:32:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

You always make me want to dash right out and get the movies and books you write about Naomi. Lana was gorgeous (as was Cheryl also). I love reading about Old Hollywood via you!

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 11:47:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I can't wait to read it, Naomi. Biographies from the source, as it were, area lways the most interesting to read.

She fascinates me, actually mother and daughter alike do...

Lana Turner was such a beauty and a talent, and had such a tumultuous love life.

Hope that you have a good week.

Loving Annie

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 1:50:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

And enjoy it, I did. Tony Martin had a great voice and Lana and Hedy were so beautiful. As a teenager, I'd have given anything to have worn some of those costumes (while I had the figure for it!!).

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 4:15:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

RIP Bernie - he was a wonderful actor - such a commanding aura

I adore Lana! This book sounds fantastic

I loved her performance in Madame X

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 5:16:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I loved this post, I love old Hollywood and you have such insight. I grew up on all these movies as mom was a HUGE lover of the old classics. If she was here she I am sure would love reading this book!

I have to ask you .. have you ever been to the Rainbow room with all your NY travels? Passed it last week and I thought of YOU!!!

LOVE the post!
another LI girl!

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 5:52:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

On your recommendation, I just ordered myself a copy. Of course, it didn't take much convincing. I LOVE Lana Turner, and have read other stories on her life. In fact, I'm such a fan that I tried desperately to talk my husband into naming our daughter Lana. I should have insisted because I still love the name.

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 7:17:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Wow. I didn't know til know what a colorful life Lana Turner led. I knew that she was an actress but that was it.

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 7:47:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

It just seems as if men from that era were more handsome and women were more beautiful. Maybe they just took better care of themselves. :)

What a wonderful review you gave the book. RIP in Bernie.

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 9:05:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi- I have always been a fan of Lana Turner. I had the opportunity to meet her while she was touring for Murder Among Friends, in fact she autographed her book for me. He daughter Cheryl lives here in Palm Springs, and I see her out and about on the town quite regularly. Great post!

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 9:26:00 PM PST 

Blogger Mar
had this to say:

Amazing post!! I only knew her name because of my father, a big fan of all the big movie stars of the 50's.

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 10:05:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

She was indeed a lovely lady. Too bad her private life couldn't have been as lovely. This sounds like a great book! I did enjoy the review very much Naomi! You have made me want to read this book!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 2:01:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a fantastic post! I am a fan of the beautiful Lana Turner thanks to my Mum (Lana Turner and Katherine Hepburn were her favourite actresses growing up). So I got to see many of Lana's movies from a young age - still remember how magnificent Ziegfeld Girl was - Hollywood glamour at it's very best imho. I am very curious now to see the pics of Lana and Tyrone Power - ah, what a couple they must have made!!! I swoon just looking at pics of Tyrone Power lol!! Thanks Naomi, I am keen to find this book now. Hope you had a great Xmas and all the best for a fab '09! :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 4:34:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

i didnt know about much about lana turner until your post thanks so much now i know i will buy the book i love old actress from back in them times they were so fabulous like joan i love her "no more wire hangers" and lana daughter is gay also how cool!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 6:31:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Out of all the books you reviewed, this one was your best, in my opinion. You brought Lana Turner to life in this post and you've piqued my interest to learn more about this remarkable woman/mother/star. I love her quote about the two husbands...about charming the birds off trees...and the comment about the snake. lol

What a glamorous woman. I'd love to see the photos that go along with her story.

Thanks for sharing, Naomi. I hope to suggest this book at the next book club meeting. :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 3:39:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

That was a lovely stroll down memory lane. Thank you, Naomi for sharing.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 4:37:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

You always pull me right into a world which seems so far away from where i sit, but makes me feel like i'm right there.

Your sister processed the intake? Amazing to be right there in the middle of that historical drama as it unfolded.

And you worked with Bernie Hamilton? How cool is that?

Great post, Naomi. Loved reading about Ms. Turner's life and your tribute to Mr. Hamilton.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 1:46:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a dramatic and turbulent off screen life Lana led! I always love the fact that you can give a very personal review of these books including what you saw or expereinced from being in showbiz at the time. You really do provide a unbique perspective!

BTW - I turned the TV on the other day and ended up watching most of 'Jolson Sings Again' which of course starred your old friend Larry Parks. His performance was wonderful and even when he wasn't speaking you could see him acting with such expression. there is a bit when he returns to an old house and the look of wonder on his face as he sits down in a chair, mixed with uncertainty (due to what was happening in Jolsons career) is palpable. And then again the joy at the end of the film when he is performing to a packed audience of excited young women. Great voice too!

Thanks for your well wishes and prayers Naomi, I truly appreciate it and I think you above all others appreciate how I am feeling about having to stay in hospital. Thanks again for your support. I will be in touch once I am back online :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 6:04:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I always learn so much when I visit. My parents were movie buffs so I remember many of the stories here. Was that Eve Arden at the end who asked for the bracelet?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 10:01:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Lana's life story always fascinated me. And she always seemed so elegant!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 1:04:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks for another interesting and enlightening post, Naomi.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 5:11:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I somehow missed knowing much about Lana Turner until now. I'm surprised there hasn't been a movie on her life.

My good friend Alwyn's mother was a Ziegfeld Folly girl.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 8:35:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Forgot to mention, I watched Imitation of Life this weekend and thought of you!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 8:59:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

That was fabulous. I love Lana Turener. I think she is just perfection where outward beauty is concerned. I think beautiful women have a hard time finding love. Men often want you as a possession, a trophy and it doesn't go well. They never "hear" the real you or your real needs. I am thankful I was in a time in my twenties and early thirties that I didn't have to marry every man who came along. I'd have plenty of divorces for sure! True love has to take the looks but mainly the person inside.

Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 7:12:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I didn't know all that drama in Lana Turner's life.
Her life would make a great mini series!
Her daughter is very pretty too.
What a nice tribute to her and also your end notes about Bernie.
That book does sound like a very reasonable price for such a lot of photos and for the large size of the book.

Friday, January 9, 2009 at 12:57:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Lana's life was more like a movie than real life! I recently watched "Imitation of Life" and loved it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 11:33:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

This is my first stop here ... and I must say I am truly impressed.

Reading this post, and viewing the photos is quite a travel back in time.
Lana Turner, gosh what a beautiful woman she was.

Monday, January 12, 2009 at 12:43:00 AM PST 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Oh, Wow! Did I ever enjoy this post! And yes, I'll have to get the book and also the autobiographies, if I can find them.
I loved, loved Lana Turner! So stunningly beautiful. She had that sultry look about her and such a great actress. I vividly remember the Stampanato incident. I was 11 yr. old at the time it happened and of course, Cheryl was 14. But even at 11, I LOVED Lana Turner and all those 40's movies. So I remember my mom and I followed that case closely and were relieved when Cheryl was released.
I bet I've seen Imitation of Life 15 of my all time favorites. She played SUCH a great part and GOD, did I sob at the end. Every time I've watched it.
Thank you so much this post, Naomi.
Sorry....but I just do NOT think they make stars like this anymore. Certainly not of that caliber....I just don't see that kind of beauty today or the talent, to be honest. Give me an old movie any day! My favorites, even at 11 and 12 yr. old, were Susan Hayward,(I swear that's WHY I named my daughter, Susan!) Lana Turner, Lauren Bacall and Ida Lupino, besides so many others.

Monday, January 12, 2009 at 5:11:00 PM PST 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

If you ever happen to run into Cheryl again,while you are in Palm Springs,California,tell her that people with short left index fingers date women,and people with short right index fingers date men.

Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 12:23:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I went on tour with Lana in the 80's with "Murder Among Friends" and my favorite quote from her was "I always thought I would have seven kids and one husband, but Becky, I had seven husbands and one child. Not how I expected it to turn out!"

Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 2:08:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

So he was stabbed, right? Where is all of the blood? Why are his pockets inside out? Look at other photos. I saw a pic of this in Hollywood Babylon and blood on his shirt, on the carpet...hmmmm

Monday, December 12, 2011 at 10:06:00 PM PST 

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