Birthdate: Tuesday, February 8th, 1921
Location: Wallace, Idaho, USA
Died: Thursday, June 29th, 1995
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of death: Throat cancer
Best known for: Hollywood starlet of the 1940s and 50s who made her name as a femme fatale in films such as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1941), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and Peyton Place (1957, for which she was nominated for an Oscar, losing out to Joanne Woodward).
|In Love Has Many Faces with Cliff|
Robertson, when she was 44
March 1966's Madame X was a soapy melodrama more suited to the serial dramas of the small screen by this time, and signalled the direction the rest of her career would take. At 45, although still an attractive woman, she was no longer the beautiful Hollywood femme fatale she had built her name on. There was a gap of three years before her next starring role, in April 1969's The Big Cube, another soapy damp squib which, as well as the acting talents of Lana Turner and George Chakiris, also boasted a good amount of LSD-induced hallucinations, and bare
|Experiencing the effects of LSD in|
The Big Cube (1969)
This preponderance for soap saw its inevitable fruition with Lana's transfer to television in the soap opera The Survivors, in which she played Tracy Carlyle Hastings. The venture was a huge flop for ABC and was cancelled mid-season, with its fifteenth and final episode airing on January 12th, 1970.
|Lana aged 53 in Persecution|
|As she appeared in 1980's|
Lana's final work was back on TV, playing Jacqueline Perrault in six episodes of the soap opera Falcon Crest between February 1982 and March 1983. Confrontation scenes between her character and star Jane Wyman had to be recorded separately as the two actresses allegedly did not get on, although Lana denied the feud in an interview on The Phil Donahue Show.
|In The Love Boat, aged 64|
One of Lana's last screen appearances was aged 66 on the TV special Happy 100th Birthday, Hollywood, on May 18th, 1987, where she appeared along with a cornucopia of other movie starlets such as Dorothy Lamour, Lillian Gish, Eve Marie Saint, Cyd Charisse and June Allyson to celebrate Heroines of the Silver Screen.
|Her appearance at 1987's Happy 100th|
Birthday, Hollywood, aged 66
Her screen swansong came in an interview conducted in 1994 in which she speaks about being given only seven days to live by doctors following a lung infection, but how she was sure God hadn't done with her yet and wanted her to do so many other things "in his name". Her religious convictions were worn on her sleeve, and the honesty with which she talks about her cancer - and how she wanted it to be taken away so she could get on with things - is powerful. She is also enthusiastic, fiery and ultimately happy with her lot in this final interview, which makes her demise all the sadder.
|Enthusiastic, fiery and determined...|
Lana's final interview, in 1994, aged 73
In her will Lana left her only child Cheryl Crane and her partner Joyce LeRoy $50,000 and most of her personal belongings, but the majority of her estate - a further $1.65m - to her maid of 45 years, Carmen Lopez Cruz, who had also been her carer in her final years. Cheryl contested the will, but Cruz claimed much of the estate had been soaked up by legal costs and Lana's final illness.
That 1994 interview Lana conducted is well worth a watch, if only to see how determined she was in the face of illness at that time. Her voice is croaky and cracked, a result of the first diagnosis for throat cancer which would return to claim her life soon after this interview was carried out...