Roles as a cold-blooded femme fatale made Lana Turner famous, but new evidence suggests they weren't merely roles. A new book says Lana Turner murdered her lover, and let her teenage daughter take the blame.
Is it another case of the truth being stranger than fiction, or is it just a ploy to sell books? You be the judge.
Turner was renown for her good looks and sultry personality, she was also no stranger to controversy. The Hollywood starlet was married 8 times, and took numerous lovers including Clark Gable, Rex Harrison and even Frank Sinatra. One of those lovers was Johnny Stompanato, a mobster with ties to the infamous LA Crime Lord Mickey Cohen.
In April of 1958 Stompanato was found dead in the apartment that he shared with Turner and her 14-year-old daughter, Cheryl Crane.
The official story was that Stompanato "ran into a knife" that was held by Crane when she got in between her mother and the abusive gangster. The police ruled it was a justifiable homicide and released Crane to the custody of her grandmother.
Now a book by historian Darwin Porter says the story was an elaborate lie to cover up the truth: Turner murdered Stompanato while he slept after she found him lying in bed with her daughter.
He claims that a detective on the case, Frank Otash, came forward and confessed to having helped cover up the crime.
"I was the one who wiped the fingerprints off the knife in Lana's bathroom sink," he reportedly said.
The book also claimed Lana herself confessed to several of her friends once the case was closed. Rat Pack actor Peter Lawford said "The Rat Packers knew that Lana did it." One of the most extreme allegations in the book is that Turner called Frank Sinatra over to the home the night of the murder.
Stompanato was known for his violence, having been overheard telling Turner that he'd carve her up. He even held a gun to her head to show her that "she was his." Because of these actions and others like them Turner bought a kitchen knife and hid it in the bedroom to protect herself.
Turner and her daughter told police that he threatened to "cripple" them both and charged at them. Impaling himself on the kitchen knife. The book however says Turner came home to find her lover sleeping with her 14-year-old daughter in his arms so she took the knife she had hidden and plunged it into his stomach.
Porter says Turner called her lawyer, who advised her to blame her daughter since she was only a minor.
We'll never know the real truth about the case, but it certainly casts the legendary Lana Turner in a new light.