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Lana Turner, page 1

 

Lana Turner
 


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Lana Turner


  Lana Turner

  Hearts & Diamonds Take All

  Twelve Years and Forty Titles of Award-Winning Entertainment

  About How America Interprets

  Its Spinmeisters, Its Celebrities, and Its Politicians

  www.BloodMoonProductions.com

  Lana Turner

  Hearts & Diamonds Take All

  Darwin Porter & Danforth Prince

  Lana Turner

  Hearts & Diamonds Take All

  Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince

  Copyright 2017, Blood Moon Productions, Ltd.

  All Rights Reserved

  www.BloodMoonProductions.com

  Manufactured in the United States of America

  ISBN 978-1-936003-53-2

  Cover Designs by Danforth Prince

  Distributed worldwide through National Book Network

  (www.NBNBooks.com)

  PREVIOUS WORKS BY DARWIN PORTER

  PRODUCED IN COLLABORATION WITH BLOOD MOON

  BIOGRAPHIES

  Donald Trump, The Man Who Would Be King

  James Dean, Tomorrow Never Comes

  Bill and Hillary, So This Is That Thing Called Love

  Peter O’Toole, Hellraiser, Sexual Outlaw, Irish Rebel

  Love Triangle, Ronald Reagan, Jane Wyman, & Nancy Davis

  Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, A Life Beyond Her Wildest Dreams

  Pink Triangle, The Feuds and Private Lives of Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, and Famous Members of their Entourages.

  Those Glamorous Gabors, Bombshells from Budapest

  Inside Linda Lovelace’s Deep Throat, Degradation, Porno Chic, and the Rise of Feminism

  Elizabeth Taylor, There is Nothing Like a Dame

  Marilyn at Rainbow’s End, Sex, Lies, Murder, and the Great Cover-up

  J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson

  Investigating the Sexual Secrets of America’s Most Famous Men and Women

  Frank Sinatra, The Boudoir Singer. All the Gossip Unfit to Print

  The Kennedys, All the Gossip Unfit to Print

  Humphrey Bogart, The Making of a Legend (2010), and

  The Secret Life of Humphrey Bogart (2003)

  Howard Hughes, Hell’s Angel

  Steve McQueen, King of Cool, Tales of a Lurid Life

  Paul Newman, The Man Behind the Baby Blues

  Merv Griffin, A Life in the Closet

  Brando Unzipped

  Katharine the Great, Hepburn, Secrets of a Lifetime Revealed

  Jacko, His Rise and Fall, The Social and Sexual History of Michael Jackson

  Damn You, Scarlett O’Hara, The Private Lives of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier (co-authored with Roy Moseley)

  FILM CRITICISM

  Blood Moon’s 2005 Guide to the Glitter Awards

  Blood Moon’s 2006 Guide to Film

  Blood Moon’s 2007 Guide to Film, and

  50 Years of Queer Cinema, 500 of the Best GLBTQ Films Ever Made

  NON-FICTION

  Hollywood Babylon, It’s Back! and Hollywood Babylon Strikes Again!

  NOVELS

  Blood Moon,

  Hollywood’s Silent Closet,

  Rhinestone Country,

  Razzle Dazzle

  Midnight in Savannah

  OTHER PUBLICATIONS BY DARWIN PORTER

  NOT DIRECTLY ASSOCIATED WITH BLOOD MOON

  NOVELS

  The Delinquent Heart

  The Taste of Steak Tartare

  Butterflies in Heat

  Marika (a roman à clef based on the life of Marlene Dietrich)

  Venus (a roman à clef based on the life of Anaïs Nin)

  Bitter Orange

  Sister Rose

  TRAVEL GUIDES

  Many editions and Many variations of The Frommer Guides, The American Express Guides, and/or TWA Guides, et alia to:

  Andalusia, Andorra, Anguilla, Aruba, Atlanta, Austria, the Azores, The Bahamas, Barbados, the Bavarian Alps, Berlin, Bermuda, Bonaire and Curaçao, Boston, the British Virgin Islands, Budapest, Bulgaria, California, the Canary Islands, the Caribbean and its “Ports of Call,” the Cayman Islands, Ceuta, the Channel Islands (UK), Charleston (SC), Corsica, Costa del Sol (Spain), Denmark, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Edinburgh, England, Estonia, Europe, “Europe by Rail,” the Faroe Islands, Finland, Florence, France, Frankfurt, the French Riviera, Geneva, Georgia (USA), Germany, Gibraltar, Glasgow, Granada (Spain), Great Britain, Greenland, Grenada (West Indies), Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jamaica, Key West & the Florida Keys, Las Vegas, Liechtenstein, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Maine, Malta, Martinique & Guadeloupe, Massachusetts, Melilla, Morocco, Munich, New England, New Orleans, North Carolina, Norway, Paris, Poland, Portugal, Provence, Puerto Rico, Romania, Rome, Salzburg, San Diego, San Francisco, San Marino, Sardinia, Savannah, Scandinavia, Scotland, Seville, the Shetland Islands, Sicily, St. Martin & Sint Maartin, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, South Carolina, Spain, St. Kitts & Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, the Turks & Caicos, the U.S.A., the U.S. Virgin Islands, Venice, Vienna and the Danube, Wales, and Zurich.

  BIOGRAPHIES

  From Diaghilev to Balanchine, The Saga of Ballerina Tamara Geva

  Lucille Lortel, The Queen of Off-Broadway

  Greta Keller, Germany’s Other Lili Marlene

  Sophie Tucker, The Last of the Red Hot Mamas

  Anne Bancroft, Where Have You Gone, Mrs. Robinson? (co-authored with Stanley Mills Haggart)

  Veronica Lake, The Peek-a-Boo Girl

  Running Wild in Babylon, Confessions of a Hollywood Press Agent

  HISTORIES

  Thurlow Weed, Whig Kingpin

  Chester A. Arthur, Gilded Age Coxcomb in the White House

  Discover Old America, What’s Left of It

  CUISINE

  Food For Love, Hussar Recipes from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with collaboration from the cabaret chanteuse, Greta Keller

  AND COMING SOON, FROM BLOOD MOON

  Rock Hudson, Erotic Fire

  Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds: Princess Leia & Unsinkable Tammy in Hell

  Rita Hayworth, Love Goddess of the World

  Hefner, Guccione, and Flynt: Empires of Skin

  This Book is Dedicated to

  Virginia Grey

  (1917-2004)

  Superstar Lana Turner (left) with her friend and confidante, actress Virginia Grey, source of some of the information contained within this biography.

  WITH RESPECT AND ADMIRATION, REST IN PEACE, and THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.

  What is Blood Moon Productions?

  “Blood Moon, in case you don't know, is a small publishing house on Staten Island that cranks out Hollywood gossip books, about two or three a year, usually of five-, six-, or 700-page length, chocked with stories and pictures about people who used to consume the imaginations of the American public, back when we actually had a public imagination. That is, when people were really interested in each other, rather than in Apple ‘devices.’ In other words, back when we had vices, not devices.”

  —The Huffington Post

  Contents

  CHAPTER ONE

  HOLLYWOOD’S FUTURE BLONDE VENUS

  Lana’s hustler father is murdered. Skipping class, she’s “discovered” sipping a Coke. Gay talent agent helps jumpstart her movie career. Mervyn LeRoy makes her “The Sweater Girl.”

  CHAPTER TWO

  SO MANY MEN, SO LITTLE TIME

  Lana’s first star date is movie actor and gangster George Raft. (He called it “Black Snake.”) Greg Bautzer, “the Don Juan of the Boudoir,” deflowers a too-young Lana. Cowboy star Tim Holt lassos Lana. She turns down William Powell, but succumbs to super stud Wayne Morris. Ronald Reagan declares Lana “as oversexed as
I am.” Errol Flynn explores Lana north, south, east, and west.

  CHAPTER THREE

  DAMN YOU, SCARLETT O’HARA

  Lana turned down for role of heroine in Gone With the Wind. Mickey Rooney (aka Andy Hardy) knocks up Lana. She gets her first abortion. Off screen, Errol Flynn becomes her Rhett Butler. Joan Crawford warns her to give up Greg Bautzer. Lana samples Gary Cooper (“The Montana Mule”).

  CHAPTER FOUR:

  STARDOM AT LAST FOR THAT “BALL OF FIRE.”

  Lana launches and ongoing affair with Lew Ayres, Ginger Rogers’ husband. Lana goes to Dramatic School before Calling Dr. Kildare. She becomes one of These Glamour Girls. A fling with the Argentine singer, Dick Haymes, long before he married Rita Hayworth. Robert Stack becomes her on-again, off-again lover.

  CHAPTER FIVE

  LANA’S MARRIAGE TO A CLARINET PLAYER WARBLES OFF KEY

  ”America’s Blonde Spitfire” strikes a sour note with Artie Shaw. Judy Garland and Betty Grable jilted by “the young man with a horn.” Lana Turner and Joan blondell are the Two Girls on Broadway, lusting for the same man. Lana’s marriage to Shaw has only weeks to go.

  CHAPTER SIX

  LANA’S RISE TO SUPER-STARDOM

  “The World’s Most Beautiful Blonde” (Lana) competes with “the World’s Most Beautiful Brunette” (Hedy Lamarr). Lana meets Shaw’s former flame, Billie Holiday. James Stewart becomes Lana’s on-screen and off-screen boyfriend. Lana sails to Hawaii with Desi Arnaz occupying her cabin (“a taste of Cuban sausage). An abortion that goes wrong. Lana and singer toney Martin become Hollywood’s new glamour couple. Victor Mature provides “Lana’s biggest thrill.”

  CHAPTER SEVEN

  LANA ROMANCES DR. JEKYLL, RHETT BUTLER, BUGSY SIEGEL, & A GALAXY OF OTHER CELEBS:

  Musicians and Hipsters Gene Krupa, Tommy Dorsey, Buddy Rich, Benny Goodman, et al. make music with Lana. Lana enjoys a fling with the best-looking gangster in America. She competes with Hedy Lamarr for George Montgomery. Sexual chemistry explodes between Clark Gable and Lana in Honky Tonk.

  CHAPTER EIGHT

  WARTIME LANA SERVICING THE MEN IN UNIFORM WHO WON WORLD WAR II.

  Lana succumbs to Robert Taylor in Johnny Eager and in her dressing room, arousing the ire of his wife, Barbara Stanwyck. A former boxer turned actor, John Payne scores a knock-out punch with Lana. The Aviator, Howard Hughes, wings into her life. Touring the country, Lana sells war bonds and her kisses. She discovers Guy Madison at the Hollywood Canteen and samples a French delight, Jean-Pierre Aumont.

  CHAPTER NINE

  HOW MANY AFFAIRS CAN A MARRIED WOMAN HAVE?

  Lana and Clark Gable sizzle on the screen once again in Somwhere I’ll Find You. Their affair may have caused Carole Lombard to take a doomed flight back to Hollywood to save her marriage. Lana meets a stranger (Stephen Crane) across a crowded room and marries him. Then she learns that Sugar Hill, Bugsy Siegel’s mistress, is “keeping” (financially supporting) her new husband. Crane is exposed as a bigamist. She and her infant daughter almost die in a hospital. Lana shacks up with Errol Flynn & Victor Mature in New Orleans.

  CHAPTER TEN

  HOW TO BE A HOT PANTS MOVIE STAR

  Tennessee Williams tries to fashion a “Celluloid Brassiere” for Lana. She dates “The Body Beautiful” (John Derek), and finds that her new beau, Peter Lawford, likes to travel down the oral road. She discovers the macho charm of Robert Mitchum, and spends more than a Week-End at the Waldorf with her co-stars, James Craig and John Hodiak. She gets a special boudoir welcome from Conrad Hilton and his young son, Nicky. Turhan Bey takes off the turban and pantaloons for Lana. Moving in on Susan Hayward’s husband. The blonde goddess gets involved with raven-haired Rory Calhoun. Lana has a fling with Ava Gardner’s young “trick” (Burt Lancaster). She learns why Steve Cochran is called “The Schvantz.” Peter Shaw slides between her satin sheets before marrying Angela Lansbury.

  CHAPTER ELEVEN

  THE POSTMAN RINGS TWICE FOR LANA

  Tyrone Power becomes the love of Lana’s life. A brief fling with “Sexy Rexy” (Rex Harrison). A young Navy lieutenant, John F. Kennedy, gives Lana a lot of loving. John Garfield: Murder on the screen, love-making off the screen. Robert Hutton dances into Lana’s life. FrankSinatra threatens breaking with his wife, Nancy, over Lana. Evita Perón develops a “crush” on Lana.

  CHAPTER TWELVE

  THE MAN WHO GOT AWAY

  Lana weds a tin-plate heir whose figure is less than Greek. Tyrone Power dumps Lana for an international starlet. The fire of September burns on low flame in Homecoming for Clark Gable and Lana. An interlude with Howard Keel. Lana as Lady de Winter has murder on her mind. Scandal with Billy Daniels.Stealing Joan Crawford’s husband.

  CHAPTER THIRTEEN

  ANOTHER DIVORCE: LANA EMERGES AS THE MERRY WIDOW

  Lana becomes The Bad and the Beautiful. She detests opera star Ezio Pinza, her co-star in Mr. Imperium. Disenchanted with life, she attempts suicide. The Argentine Heartthrob, Fernando Lamas, waltzes into Lana’s life. A brief interlude with James Dean. Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, and Frank Sinatra churn out drama in a scandalous Love Triangle.

  CHAPTER FOURTEEN

  TARZAN, THE APEMAN, SWINGS INTO THE LIFE OF LANA TURNER

  The loincloth hides his “Biggest, Deepest, & Darkest Secret.” Ricardo Montalban becomes another of Lana’s on-screen Latin Lovers. In Italy, she has a fling with Carlos Thompson, her lover from Argentina. In Betrayed, Lana has a reunion with yesterday’s lovers: Clark Gable and Victor Mature. The Prodigal casts Lana as a pagan sex goddess in a camp classic. Her love for John Wayne in The Sea Chase was strictly on the screen. “Lana was addicted to my Welsh Dick.” Or so said Richard Burton in their co-starring vehicle, The Rains of Ranchipur.

  CHAPTER FIFTEEN

  TARZAN REVEALED AS A CHILD RAPIST

  Lex Barker has a cheating heart. So does Lana when Gregory Peck rents house. In The Lady Takes a Flyer, Lana is romanced by Jeff Chandler.Off screen,she’s in for a shocker. She dumps Tarzan and has a fling with Chuck Connors. (“What a man!”). Rising star Steve McQueen enters Lana’s life on the same night JFK “had his fun.” Lana’s film career is saved when she agrees to play a mother role in Peyton Place.

  CHAPTER SIXTEEN

  WHO KILLED JOHNNY STOMPANATO?

  Lana learns the secret behind the new mystery man in her life, a studly enigma calling himself “John Steele. Mickey Cohen’s henchman, Johnny Stompanato, becomes Lana’s latest lover, a disastrous affair. She flies to England for the filming of Another Time, Another Place, and falls into the arms of Sean Connery. Stompanato threatens to kill the future James Bond. Stompanato is stabbed to death in Lana’s home. The debate still goes on: Did Lana really murder the gangster and let her daughter, Cheryl, take the fall? Years later, Lana admits that she was the one who stabbed her hustler lover.

  CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

  THE TWILIGHT OF A FILM CAREER

  Lana teams with producer Ross Hunter to remake Claudette Colbert’s Imitation of Life. At last, her money problems are over: She’s fixed for life. Lana launches war with Otto Preminger. She and Anthony Quinn become murderers, but only on screen. She pursues but does not overtake the Sweet Bird of Youth. Lana’s on-screen affair in By Love Possessed, a story of alleged rape, suicide, and embezzlement. In a clinch with Bob Hope in Bachelor in Paradise, she asks Dean Martin Who’s Got the Action? Her final confrontation with Marilyn Monroe. Love Has Many Faces, and they’re named Cliff Robertson, Hugh O’Brian, and a bullfighter. Madame X returns to the screen once again, this time with Lana.

  CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

  WHERE LOVE HAS GONE

  Lana Falls in love with Fred May, who “looks like Tyrone Power.” She settles into a comfortable life with him, but a handsome bartender lures her into his love shack. Divorce follows. Lana falls for Robert P. Eaton, “The Stud of Malibu,” and enters into an ill-fated marriage “with his cheating heart.” Divorce follows, Lana’s feud with best-selling author Harold Robbins. She
stars in his ill-fated TV series, The Survivors, which does not survive. Lana goes to the altar one final time with Ronald Dante, nightclub hypnotist. But where did all the diamonds go? Divorce follows.

  EPILOGUE

  RECORDING THE VOICES (AUTHORS’ BIOS)

  Acknowledgments

  Tracing the incredible story of the blonde cult goddess, Lana Turner (1921-1995), was a daunting task whose compilation extended over decades.

  The research of her remarkable life was finally completed in 2015, in honor of the 20th anniversary of her death.

  The research actually began in 1937 when Lana stormed Hollywood as a starlet for Warner Brothers. She had hooked up with another rising star, Ronald Reagan.

  Soon after that, she met Stanley Mills Haggart (1910-1980), who worked part-time as a “leg man” for Hedda Hopper. As such, he prowled the clubs of Greater Los Angeles at night, picking up indiscreet stories and gossip about the stars, would-be stars, and wannabes whose stars flickered out early.

  Hedda didn’t print much of the data Stanley collected—”It’s too scandalous”—but she wanted to know everything that was going on after dark, especially who was sleeping with whom.

  On his nightly rounds, Stanley was joined by William Hopper, Hedda’s only son.

  Each of them, had they wanted, could have written a detailed account of Lana’s life, with special emphasis on her heyday years from the late 1930s till the end of the 1950s. I will always be grateful to both men for supplying such rich and detailed notes about early Lana, wartime Lana, and post-war Lana.

  Other than those two night owls, no one was more helpful than the beautiful and charming actress, Virginia Grey, the longtime lover of Clark Gable. She met Lana on the set of Rich Man, Poor Girl in 1938. They became close friends and confidantes, with Virginia serving as a sounding board for Lana’s consternation about her many love affairs—some of them satisfying, others disastrous.

 
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