80 Years of The Hollywood Reporter
The most glamorous and memorable moments from a storied history.
On Good Friday in 1958, Lana Turner, a recent Oscar nominee for Peyton Place, and her gangster boyfriend Johnny Stompanato had their last argument. The actress, 37, had divorced her fourth husband the year before. She and the hood had a torrid affair, but the relationship had soured. Turner had told her daughter, Cheryl, that he beat her and she wanted him gone. On that night, Cheryl heard the couple arguing in Turner’s Beverly Hills bedroom, with Stompanato allegedly saying: “You’ll never get away from me. I’ll cut you good, baby. No one will ever look at that pretty face again.” The 14-year-old ran downstairs, grabbed a 10-inch knife and, as the gangster exited the bedroom, plunged the blade into his chest, killing him. Cheryl’s lawyers argued self-defense. The fact that Stompanato was looking back toward Turner, carrying clothes on hangers over his shoulder and leaving the room, made the self-defense theory a bit shaky, but the jury found Cheryl not guilty after brief deliberation. Of course there was a media storm, but the only mention The Hollywood Reporter made after Stompanato’s death was, “Lana Turner’s Page One turmoil prompted Paramount to reshuffle release of Another Time, Another Place from September to May.” Her next film, Imitation of Life, was the fourth-highest grosser of 1959. She married three more times. Cheryl Crane is a Palm Springs real estate agent.