Bloody October Post #24: The Lana Turner Scandal
Lana Turner once said that her childhood dream was to have one husband and seven children. However, in real life things worked the other way around! In between marriages, Turner had a slew of boyfriends and in 1957 she met Johnny Stomapanato…
In the beginning of the relationship, Turner was impressed by Stompanato’s good looks and his prowess as a lover. However, she soon found out that Stompanato had connections with gangsters, and was actually the body-guard of gangster Mickey Cohen. In order to avoid scandal, Turner tried to break it off with Johnny, but Stompanato did not want to let her go and soon Turner was unable to get rid of him. They led a relationship filled with violent arguments and physical abuse.
On April 4, 1958, another violent argument began in Johnny and Lana’s bedroom, with Lana’s teenage daughter, Cheryl Crane, trying to break up the fight. However, Lana ordered her daughter away from the door to protect her. Cheryl then heard Johnny making threats against Lana’s life and her grandmother’s life. Fearing that her mother’s life was in danger, Cheryl grabbed a carving knife from the kitchen and as Johnny was about to leave the house, she stabbed him to death in the stomach.
It’s odd to read that Turner didn’t want to see Stompanato anymore because of fear of bad publicity, for the murder case was a field day for the media. The case was later declared a justifiable homicide, since Crane was only trying to protect her mother. At the inquest, Turner gave a dramatic testimony which prompted many to call it “the acting performance of her life”.