The Kid Stays in the Picture 

Lana Turner's lesbian daughter, Cheryl Crane, has penned her second memoir about her late, great movie star mother -- Lana: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies. Crane sits down with The Advocate to relive that fateful night she killed her mother's mobster lover, share some untold stories, and give us a sneak peek at the new photographs of their life together.

BY Greg Archer

November 26 2008 12:00 AM ET

Cheryl Crane John Waters x390 (courtesy of Cheryl Crane) | Advocate.com  

“‘The Paragraph’ became our euphemism
for the events in 1958 that made mother and me
notorious the world over,” she writes in the book.
But the authors’ true mission is to present
Turner in a new light through rare photographs and
personal vignettes. The result is one of the season’s
more engaging reads, a coffee table-size tome that cleverly
balances the surreal with the sublime as it gently
moves along a creative catwalk loaded with lovers,
liars, and hundreds of classic Hollywood stars.

“Every
section adds layers to who she was, as an actress, mother,
daughter, lover, friend, and idol to legions of movie
fans,” Crane says. “We tried to show the
real person and to fill in a lot of the things that
were wondered about in public over the years, but with a
humorous slant. Because the one thing about mother was
that she didn’t like anyone that didn’t
get the joke.”

Turner, who died
at the age of 74 in 1995, was forever idolized after
being discovered at the age of 16 by Hollywood
Reporter
publisher Billy Wilkerson while she was sipping
a Coke at a soda shop in Beverly Hills. When asked by
Wilkerson if she wanted to be in motion pictures,
Turner said, according to Crane's account, “I
don’t know. I have to ask my mother.”

Turner fans may
appreciate Crane’s frothy nuggets throughout the
book. Like Carrie Bradshaw after her, the star was a
bona fide “shoe girl.” At one time she
had accumulated 698 pairs. Meanwhile, a 20-foot jewelry
vault, built in her home closet, was where she stored
valuable diamonds, pearls, and emeralds.

The memoir really
shines, though, when Crane narrows her focus on more
intimate details. Her mother was shy, for instance, and of
her film debut in 1937’s They Won’t
Forget
-- a fitting title -- Crane writes that her
mother “was absolutely mortified and wanted to
crawl under the seat” when she saw herself.

But that was the
film that found Turner, a 36B, wearing what would become
the most talked-about formfitting sweater in cinematic
history. She was immediately christened the
“Sweater Girl,” a moniker Crane says her
mother abhorred, having once quipped, “I have done
more for the sweater than the sheep, the silkworm, or
the Yale football team.”

Still, it only
fueled Turner’s ride toward superstardom. By the mid
1940s, she was starring opposite Clark Gable in several
films, and her unabashed portrayal of an adulteress in
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946),
costarring John Garfield, sent her celebrity soaring
higher. The legend’s steamy personal exploits, much
like the case with today’s celebrities,
generated the most buzz. In a lengthy chapter dubbed
“Lanamours,” Crane chronicles the
“many” men in Turner’s life.

“I think
men are exciting,” Turner is quoted as saying in
book, “and the gal who denies that men are
exciting is either a lady with no corpuscles or a
statue.” Later Crane writes, “Marrying was a
sincere desire for her. Simply put: when she fell in
love, she married.” Turner was married eight
times, twice to Crane’s father.

Lana Turner soda shoppe x390 (Cheryl Crane Courtesy) | Advocate.com

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