Lana Turner: Hollywood’s Alluring Talent

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” The thing about happiness is that it doesn’t help you to grow; only unhappiness does that. So I’m grateful that my bed of roses was made up equally of blossoms and thorns. I’ve had a privileged, creative, exciting life, and I think that the parts that were less joyous were preparing me, testing me, strengthening me” Lana Turner (February 8th, 1921-June 29th, 1995)1
Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner (known to millions of classic film lovers as Lana Turner), for me, redefined the quintessential femme fatale- although her immaculate and incomparable talents stretched far and beyond her profound versatility and the sheer brilliance of her authenticity in such memorable and incredibly poignant film roles like the 1946 film noir The Postman Always Rings Twice with John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway and Hume Cronyn. Both Lana Turner and myself have some things in common- though I don’t consider myself a true American hybrid, Ms. Turner proved that being a selfless, modest, compassionate, and empathetic human being is equally just as important as accepting your rich heritage with the same unconditional love and understanding. I am very grateful that she has instilled that level of confidence and reassurance in me, for she is a wondrously exotic mixture of Scottish, Irish, Dutch and English ancestry & I’m profoundly collaborated with my Irish, Cherokee Indian, Spanish, German, African American and Caucasian heritage- a truly culturally significant background that we shared, thus giving just one of the many reasons she has become an influential aspect and respectable role model in my life! She was the epitome of a consummate captivating starlet- not just because she sparkled the silver screen with her alluring beauty, having achieved a revered, accomplished sensually symbolic status, an incredibly mesmerizing sex appeal, and an enigmatic awe-inspiring screen persona3
But rather because of her impeccable wisdom and incredible perseverance, the radiance and remarkably youthful personality that existed deep within her, and her wondrous impassioned intellect! Through life’s enduring hardships, struggles, trials and tribulations, Lana Turner became a venerated, beloved, and deeply treasured cinematic artist of the 20th Century and one of my most profound inspirations in my list of actresses that I deeply respect and knew that one day, she would be destined for cinematic greatness. Born on February 8th 1921 in Wallace Idaho, Julia would later on gain critical acclaim and renowned recognition as simply Lana Turner, an empathetic and deeply charismatic individual who displayed an astounding level of grace, wit, poise, empathy and humility. Of her countless film contributions during her nearly 60 year film career, I have had the rare but ardent appreciation of watching just 4 of her films: The Postman Always Rings Twice (in which not only was it considered to be Turner’s greatest performance & her signature role, but also Turner herself said that she regarded this film as her personal favorite), 1950s A Life of Her Own with Ray Milland, Louis Calhern and Ann Dvorak, 1952s The Bad and the Beautiful starring Kirk Douglas, Dick Powell, Gloria Grahame and Walter Pidgeon, and last but not least Turner’s most successful film as well as becoming a personal favorite of both me & my mom’s before she passed away: The 1959 version of Imitation of Life with John Gavin, Sandra Dee, Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner. In my opinion, I would love to be able to fully experience all of the many wonderful classic films of Lana Turner on TCM! She portrayed many memorable and vividly profound characters on screen and displayed a spectacular level of regal elegance, both onscreen and off. Lana Turner has a constant array of roadblocks in her life, some at times threatened her livelihood and her very existence, including numerous affairs & a long bout with alcoholism that gave a malevolent threat to overshadow her personal successes & achievements. On top of that, she endured a series of painful divorces as well as the traumatic experience with her only daughter Cheryl and the accusation that she stabbed Turner’s boyfriend Johnny Stompanato, Jr. to death. In spite of the surge of media sensation that became a virulent strain in her life, the violent arguments, physical abuse and repeated reconciliations as well as the tumultuous relationship with Stompanato, Jr. it was later found that her daughter acted on justifiable homicide actions and the case was dismissed. Amidst the cloud of emotional pain and heartbreak emerged a woman who gained strength, valor, courage, respect, love and appreciation from her fans. Later on in the 1960s, her roles gained fewer interest before achieving the prominent recurring role as Chase’s flamboyant mother and a bitter enemy of Angela Channing ( Jane Wyman) Jacqueline Perrault during the 1982-83 season of the hit American primetime television soap opera on CBS: Falcon Crest. The role would gain Turner world wide recognition and an even deeper appreciation for her many talents, even later on in her career. Lana Turner was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her riveting performance as Constance MacKenzie in the 1957 American drama film Peyton Place ( she lost to Joanne Woodward for her performance as the titular 3 characters in the 1957 American film adaptation of The Three Faces of Eve). On June 29th 1995 @ the age of 74, the world remembered the cinematic impact that Lana Turner’s endearing legacy left behind when she passed away after a long valiant battle with throat cancer- an eminent part of the classic film world was lost with Ms. Turner’s untimely passing. Lana Turner once stated “ I’ve always loved a good challenge”- whether good, bad, or indifferent, she gave a precise and genuine contribution with that statement because of how incredibly real and profoundly sincere it had in the last years of her life, and I agree 100%! Considered to be one of the screen’s most charismatic and prolific cinematic artists who ever lived, Lana Turner gave the world something to remember her by: a deeply inspired love, passion and appreciation for the classics. She brought forth so much genuine heart and authentic soul in each of her films and I was very lucky to have seen 4 of her classic films in my lifetime. Captivating the world with her uncanny independence and breathtaking allure, Lana Turner held the classic film world and its countless fans in the palm of her hand- and with it gave a selfless, riveting, heartfelt, humbled, awe-inspiring and benevolent glimpse into the life, career and memorable legacy that etched a timeless cinematic line into the hearts, minds and souls of classic movie lovers for generations to come. To me, love has no limits when it comes to fully appreciating and deeply respecting what Ms. Lana Turner gave to TCM and classic films of Hollywood’s Golden Age of Television!5
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