Lana Turner (1921-95) wasn’t discovered at Schwab's Drug Store, as movie legend has it, but rather at the Top Hat Café. William R. Wilkerson, publisher of the Hollywood Reporter, was struck by her beauty and referred her to the actor/comedian talent agent Zeppo Marx, who in turn introduced her to film director Mervyn LeRoy at
MGM. Lana's first film was THEY WON'T FORGET (1937). During World War II, she became a popular pin-up girl due to her popularity in such films such as ZIEGFELD GIRL, JOHNNY EAGER and four films with Clark Gable. The classic 1946 film noir THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE made her a star, but then during the '50s she appeared in a series of films that fared poorly. Hoping to refresh Lana’s career, MGM cast her in several musicals, one of which was a flop; the other, 1952's THE MERRY WIDOW, more successful. Returning briefly to noir, she gave a widely-praised performance in Vincente Minnelli's THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, and later starred in the adventure film THE SEA CHASE. She was then cast in the epic THE PRODIGAL, not a success. After 1956's DIANE, MGM opted not to renew her contract. Turner's career recovered briefly after she appeared in the hugely-successful big screen adaptation of Grace Metalious's best-selling novel, PEYTON PLACE, for which she was nominated for Best Actress. Several box office failures later, Lana starred in the re-make of the ‘30s weepie IMITATION OF LIFE, a huge success. She made her last film appearance for MGM in BACHELOR PARADISE, starring with Bob Hope. Her last two major film successes were 960’s PORTRAIT IN BLACK and 1966's MADAME X, both of which capitalized on Lana’s troubled and tabloid-touted personal life.