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February 8, 2024

40 Candid Photographs of Lana Turner at Home in Hollywood in 1939 Thru 1940

Since her rise to fame in the 1940s, American film actress Lana Turner (February 8, 1921 – June 29, 1995) has appeared and been referenced in numerous works across literature, film, art, and music. Her glamorous persona and publicized personal troubles have contributed to her recurring prevalence in popular culture.

Turner first entered the popular culture lexicon under the nickname “the Sweater Girl” due to her feature film debut in They Won’t Forget (1937), in which she appeared in a form-fitting sweater that accentuated her bust. She was the first known person to be given the nickname, which went on to be applied to numerous actresses throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Her subsequent rise to fame at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and establishment as a sex symbol enhanced Turner’s profile, and she became a popular pin-up model throughout World War II.

While she enjoyed significant popularity as one of MGM’s biggest stars, she was also subject to vociferous media attention over her numerous romantic affairs, eight total marriages, and her daughter’s 1958 killing of Turner’s lover, Johnny Stompanato, during a domestic struggle. The media focus on her storied personal life (particularly the Stompanato homicide) contributed to her cultural prevalence at the time, even sometimes serving as the basis for novels and films.

In her later career and after her death, Turner would go on to appear depicted in numerous artistic works, as well as be studied by social critics and academics in discussions surrounding Hollywood, film theory, gay icons, and camp aesthetics.

Here are some candid photographs of Lana Turner at her home in Hollywood in 1939 to 1940. The images were taken by LIFE photographer Peter Stackpole.

(Photos by Peter Stackpole/ LIFE Photo Archive)


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