by Helen Earnshaw |
Lana Turner was an Academy Awad winning actress in a career that spanned over sixty years. She was one of the most glamorous stars of the forties and fifties starring in The Postman Always Rings Twice and Inmitation fo Life.
But away from the big screen her private life was the talk of Hollywood going on to be married eight time as well as a string of lovers. But it was her relationship with Mob enforcer Johnny Stompanato still remains one of tinsel town's most notorious romances.
Lana Turner met Johnny Stompanato in 1957 when both her career and personal life were suffering; she was going through a divorce with Lex Barker, whom her daughter Cheryl claimed had raped and molested her since the age of ten, and MGM had not renewed her contract.
But there were problems with the relationship from the start it was volotile and violent as Stompanato was jealous of the men that Turner worked with and struggled to control his temper.
In 1957 he followed Turner to England where she was filming Another Time, Another Place with Sean Connery and tried to strangle her during one of their more vicious fights, it was only the intervention of the maid that saved her.
But Stompanato was convinced that Turner was having an affair with Connery and stormed onto the set flashing a gun at the 007 actor, who went on to floor him with a single punch.
This was the final straw for the actress as she tried to protect her image, as well as herself from physical harm, she attempted to end their relationship.
However Stompanato didn't take the hint and became a menacing presence in Turner's life beating her savagely and threatening to to disfigure her if she left him. He also tried to smother her with a pillow.
What came next was one of Hollywood's most famous murders on the evening of April 4, 1958 the pair were fighting once again, but Stompanato was at Turner's Beverly Hills home at the invitation of the actress.
But what happened next has been seculated on for fity years. Also in the house that night was Turner's fourteen year old daughter Cheryl who heard the fight between her mother and Stompanato and she feared for the saftery of Lana.
In a bid to protect her mother the young girl grabbed a butcher's knife and burst into the rom stabbing Johnny in the stomach.
Other reports have suggested that it wasn't Cheryl that stabbed Johnny but it was Lana. Cheryl was taken, and held, in custody until the coroner's inquest.
Although Cheryl herself didn't testify her monther Lana did in what many call the performance of her life. The jury were moved by Turner's performance on the stand and took just thirty minutes to return a verdict of justifiable homocide and the case was closed.
Despite all the controversy that surrounded the case Turner's career flourished. But for years there have been questions surrounding the murder of Johnny Stompanto including how was a ex-marine over powered by a slight fourteen year old girl?
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw