Cheryl Crane kills Johnny Stompanato in Beverly Hills, 1958. “There is no gentle way to put this,” wrote Crane in Lana: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies, her 2008 memoir about her mother, Lana Turner. “At the age of 14, I stabbed and killed John Stompanato, my mother’s boyfriend, during an episode of physical abuse.” Stompanato, a bodyguard and enforcer for gangster Mickey Cohen, met Turner in spring of 1957 and began a romance marked by frequent battles and reconciliations. During a particularly violent argument at Turner’s 730 North Roxbury home, Crane grabbed a kitchen knife and headed towards her mother’s bedroom, where the two were fighting. Stompanato opened the door to leave and ran into the knife Crane was brandishing, dying moments later. Crane’s actions were later deemed justifiable homicide at the coroner’s inquest. “I took a life and that is something that remains with me always,” wrote Crane, “but it is a nightmare that my family and I lived through together and survived.”
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Lex Barker dies of a heart attack in New York City, 1973. Barker figured heavily in one of the more dramatic parts of Detour, the autobiography by Lana Turner’s daughter, Cheryl Crane. In Crane’s book, she relays her experiences of sexual abuse at the hands of the actor, who was Turner’s fourth husband at the time. In movies, he was the tenth official Tarzan, playing the primitive man in five films. A number of westerns followed before he headed to Europe to make movies there, the most notable being Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960).
Fernando Lamas dies of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, 1982. Every inch the Latin lover, the Argentine-born Lamas was married four times and carried on affairs with many of his leading ladies. Signed by MGM in 1951, the actor—dubbed "First of the Red Hot Lamas"—appeared opposite Lana Turner in The Merry Widow (1951) and Esther Williams in Dangerous When Wet (1953). On loan to Paramount, he appeared opposite Arlene Dahl in Sangaree (1953) and The Diamond Queen (1953). Williams and Dahl he would later marry; with Turner, one may assume he simply had a very nice time.