Yes, yes, yes, we all know about the scandal, but what about the career? By the time she was 21, Lana Turner was starring opposite MGM’s top leading men — Gable, Tracy and Taylor (that’s she with Robert Taylor in Johnny Eager).
In any case, has Hollywood ever presented a more wonderfully serendipitous combination of “bad girl” and top-name movie star than the subject of this week’s Monday Quiz?
The most fevered of script writers couldn’t have dreamed up the sheer drama and melodrama packed into the not-so-private life of Lana Turner. She churned through multiple husbands via multiple (and we mean multiple; see below) marriages over 32 years.
She charmed countless lovers, usually men of at least slightly unsavory reputation. And then there was that matter of daughter Cheryl and mobster Johnny Stompanato. Also, of course, there was booze, the impoverished childhood, abortions, miscarriages and suspected suicide attempts and toughest of all — some notably lousy movie scripts.
We admit it. We love Lana Turner, lousy movies and all. She is credited with some 60 feature and tv credits (a few very good) over her professional lifetime, begun at age 16 and ending four years before her death in 1995. We’ve written lots about her already but this is Turner’s debut in our elite Monday Quiz circle.
Test yourself on how much you really know about this classic star and true legend in her own time. (Warning: a shamless plug.) We were inspired by the 1971 biography Lana, co-authored by Joe and Edward Z. Epstein. Quiz answers tomorrow.
1) Question: Turner was actually something of an “ugly duckling” in her teenage years, hardly the stunning beauty she became thanks to her grooming at until MGM. a) True; or b) False?
2) Question: Turner was “discovered” sipping a soda at Schwab’s Pharmacy in Hollywood. a) True; or b) False?
3) Question: Lana Turner and Ava Gardner shared an “intimate something” between them. What was it? a) The affections of Frank Sinatra; b) The affections of Tyrone Power; c) Marriages to Artie Shaw; d) A nasty drinking habit.
4) Question: How many times did Turner get married, and to how many husbands? a) five to five; b) seven to nine; c) eight to seven; or d) ten to eleven?
5) Question: She was nominated for an Oscar for which film?
6) Question: Turner was said to have reminded Louis B. Mayer of another famous exotic movie sexpot. Who was the MGM mogul thinking of? a) Marion Davies; b) Theda Bara; c) Jean Harlow; or d) Gale Sondergaard.
7) Question: Turner was often attracted to Latin-looking men, married or not. About which one of the following was she referring to when she declared that “no other man means a thing to me?” a) Ricardo Montalban; b) Alfonso Bedoya; c) Fernando Lamas; or d) Gilbert Roland.
8) Question: Which of the following was it written that he”kisses Lana Turner like a husband with a hangover.” a) Roddy McDowall; b) Errol Flynn; c) Clark Gable; or d) Charles Laughton.
9) Question: Turner set a nationwide fashion movement into action with her steamy performance in 1946’s The Postman Always Rings Twice. What was it all about? a) Lana’s look in short shorts; b) Lana’s exotic hair styling; c) Lana’s bra-less look; or d) Lana’s long flowing skirts.
10) Question: Because of the the Stompanato killing, Turner and daughter Cheryl Crane were permanently estranged. a) True; or b) False?
Happy fireworks tomorrow….Answers on Wednesday.