Lana Turner’s Mobster Mystery! A Beverly Hills Scandal! The House Still Stands Today!

Welcome To The Hotel California!

The iconic Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Blvd announces that you are at the center of the entertainment universe…the streets surrounding the hotel are lines with palm trees and movie stars:

While Beverly Hills is one of America’s most glamorous cities, it is also filled with great houses like this – which I walk by on a regular basis:

Yes, this beautiful house in Beverly Hills has a Hollywood history, because there is a story behind this door – it’s a story of sex, betrayal – AND MURDER!

Lana Turner’s Personal Hollywood Scandal!

Here was the shocking LA Times headline: a huge movie star’s daughter stabbed a mobster to death!

Here is the story:

Lana Turner was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars – and she was dating reputed Mobster Johnny Stompanato – in fact, the great film “L.A. Confidential” includes a scene with Turner and Stompanato at The Formosa Cafe in Hollywood:

See more about this iconic Hollywood institution here:

Turner’s love affair was quite scandalous at the time, since Stompanato’s mob ties were well-reported – and it was allegedly a volatile relationships well – in fact, it was so volatile that it ended with the mobster dead on Turner’s floor!

Here is what happened, according to news reports:

“On April 4, 1958, at age 14, Cheryl Crane stabbed her mother’s boyfriend Johnny Stompanato to death. It was said that she was defending her Mom, and Johnny ran into the knife.”

Yes, the daughter was holding a knife to protect her Mom, and Stompanato ran into it!

The case immediately became a huge Hollywood scandal – a big star, a dead Mobster – the headlines wrote themselves! Ultimately, the case went to trial – here is Turner discussing the murder weapon on the witness stand…

At the end of the trial, the killing was ruled a justifiable homicide: Crane was deemed to have been protecting her mother.

Of course, this was huge news in those days – and only cemented Turner’s reputation as a wild cat…

The James Bond Connection!

This is a fascinating true Hollywood story, and there is a lot of back story here as well, like this trivia – it turned out that Stompanato was a very jeolous guy, and he didn’t like his movie star girlfriend kissing 007!

According to wikipedia:

“Stompanato was well-known to have been abusive, extremely jealous of Turner and had previously pointed a gun at actor Sean Connery, her co-star in ‘Another Time, Another Place’, only to have Connery “take the gun from him, beat him and force him from the movie set” and “Scotland Yard had him deported”!

Wow! What a scandalous altercation for the young Actor who would become the first James Bond 007 a few years later!

Now, here’s a recent twist in the case:

A new book suggests that Stompanato was murdered – by Turner!

In “Lana Turner: Hearts and Diamonds Take All”, Author Darwin Porter reveals interviews with some of the case’s key figures, including detective Fred Otash, which tell a different story.

Before his death in 1992, Mr Otash apparently admitted rearranging the crime scene with Miss Turner’s lawyer, Jerry Giesler. He also said Mr Giesler – whom Miss Turner called before police – urged his client to let her daughter take the blame because, as a minor, she would not face a trial. The book claims Mr Otash said: ‘I was the one who wiped the fingerprints off the knife in Lana’s bathroom sink. I was a naughty boy doing what I’m not supposed to do.’

Well, this is a fascinating twist – no idea how true these allegations are, but if you want to read more, here is the story in the Daily Mail:

Read more:

And if you want to read more about the Stompanato case, here is a great writeup from the LA Times:

The Lana Turner / Johnny Stompanato story is a classic “True Hollywood Story”.

Hollywood’s history is filled with “mysteries & scandals” like Lana Turner’s, and this one as well:

Beverly Hills Sex Kitten Yvette Vickers is another Hollywood tragedy – she was found dead in her home after living in seclusion for years! Read the story here:

Here is the Lana Turner house on a sunny Sunday morning in Beverly Hills last week:

Categories: Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Exotic Travel, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, TV Show, Uncategorized

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14 replies

  1. A jolly good story, John. Full of real life mystery and intrigue.

  2. Reblogged this on johnrieber and commented:

    A Beverly Hills mystery

  3. Fascinating story, definite mystery hanging over all of it.

  4. I always assumed Lana stabbed Johnny as I’m sure many others did.

    • Yes, regardless of the ruling in court many felt the story didn’t make sense, and as I point out in my post, a new book says so – whether it’s true or not, the mystery continues…thanks for your post!

  5. I’ve always been convinced that it was Turner herself. It simply never rang true that it was Cheryl.

  6. That’s a great story, almost a fitting end to the turbulent scandal of that relationship. I wonder who lives there now?
    Best wishes, Pete.

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