Hollywood Stars with Eight Marriages
I met Lana in Dallas during the 70's. She was in her mid-50's at the time and just as beautiful as ever. She simply radiated with sex appeal and charisma. My eagerness to do more than shake her hand was eradicated by my new wife standing next to me.
Lana was married first to bandleader Artie Shaw and then Stephen Crane, actor and restauranter whom she married twice. They had one daughter together. In 1958, this daughter would kill Lana's gangster boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato. Lana's fourth husband was Henry Topping, Jr., followed by actor Lex Barker, Frederick May, Robert Eaton and the 8th and final husband Ronald Pellar.
Lana is my favorite leading lady of all time in regard to tear-jerkers. Starting with Johnny Eager in 1941 co-starring Robert Taylor in the title role, Lana, all of twenty just broke your heart when she tried to give her whole being to Johnny, a gangster who was setting her up with a fake murder. The final scene with Johnny Eager dying in the street to protect Lana is one of my all-time favorite endings.
Imitation of Life in 1959 may well be the saddest movie of all time. Lana's maid has a daughter who is white skinned although she is African American and Lana deals with the trials and tribulations of this girl's growth into womanhood in a world cruel to those that are different. The daughter ultimately goes out into the world pretending to be white and finds solace for a short while, but comes to terms with her birthright upon learning of her mother's death.
Madame X in 1966 finds Lana leaving the country to protect her son from ever knowing the truth about his mother. She winds up in the slums of Mexico a drunk laying down for anyone with a bottle. She returns to the states and resorts to murder of an unscrupulous man who is going to blackmail her by notifying her son of who she is. Her court trial appoints none other than her son to represent her while he is completely unaware of his mother's existence. She never tells him who she is despite her ex-husband's wish that she do so.
8 is enough.
Artie was called King of the Clarinet and was rival to the legendary Benny Goodman. After playing with other bands throughout the 20's and 30's, Artie would form his own group in 1936. Artie had a flair for the ladies and musicians always were an attractive species to the females.
Artie and Lana Turner
Artie married 8 times including Jane Cairns, Margaret Allen, film star Lana Turner, Elizabeth Kern, Hollywood beauty Ava Gardner who was also married to Mickey Rooney and Frank Sinatra, Kathleen Winsor, actress Doris Dowling and from Gone With the Wind, his 8th wife, actress Eveln Keyes who played Scarlett's sister.
Artie and Ava Gardner
8 is enough.
One of the most beautiful women to grace the screen, Liz would also marry 8 times. Her first marriage was to hotel heir Conrad Hilton Jr.. This was followed by actor Michael Wilding who was much older than Liz, film director Michael Todd who was killed in a plane crash while they were married, singer Eddie Fisher who she stole away from Debbie Reynolds, actor Richard Burton who she would marry twice, politician John Warner and her 8th husband, truck driver Larry Fortensky who she met in a rehabilitation facility.
Some of my favorite films with Liz included National Velvet in 1944 with Mickey Rooney about a girl and her horse and their dream of running in the biggest race of them all.
Courage of Lassie in 1946. A story of a girl and her dog who are separated and the dog, Lassie is taken by the army into battle as a k-9 dog.
A Place in the Sun with one of my very favorite actors, Montgomery Clift in 1951. A love story beyond all love stories of a rich young lady who falls for the poor handsome young man wanting to do something with his life and murders along the way.
Giant in 1956 would be James Dean's final film. With Rock Hudson and Elizabeth they formed quite an image upon the screen and formed a bond with each other as well.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1958 was outstanding! With Paul Newman as her alcoholic husband and one of the truly great actors, Burl Ives as Big Daddy along with all those no-neck kids, this film kept you glued to your seat although the movie never left the home where Big Daddy and his family lived. There was plenty of drama right there in Big Daddy's house.
Butterfield 8 in 1960 would give Elizabeth her fourth Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and her first of two Oscar wins despite the fact that she hated this film and did not want to do it.
8 is enough.
I have already done a Hub on Mickey, so will not dwell on his history in the movies. Mickey also had 8 marriages. His first was his most famous when he married new film star Ava Gardner who would also marry Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra. Mickey would follow that marriage with B.J. Baker, Martha Vickers, Elaine Devry, Carolyn Mitchell, Margaret Lane, Carolyn Hockett and his 8th wife, Jan Rooney with whom he is still married today in his 90's. Mickey would father nine children.
Mickey with Ava Gardner.
Mickey with Judy Garland in one of the Andy Hardy series.
Mickey in Boy's Town in 1938 with Spencer Tracy.
Mickey again with Judy Garland in their Oscar nominated performances in Babes in Arms in 1939.
Mickey and Jan today
8 is enough.
ZSA ZSA GABOR
Zsa Zsa decided that 8 was not enough and went for number 9. She first married Burhan Beige followed by hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, actor George Sanders who also married Zsa Zsa's sister Magda, Herbert Hutner, Joshua Cosden, Jr., Jack Ryan, Michael O'Hara, Felipe de Alba and her current husband since 1986 Frederic von Anhalt.
Zsa Zsa and her sisters remind me of the Kardashian sisters in that she is famous for being famous. She has had a very extravagant life of jewels and furs and wealthy men. She currently claims to be a German princess, but it is very questionable.
She made several forgettable films and had many appearances on television. She also made the news with her lifestyle, her notoriety with the press, her love life and the much publicized trial of her hitting a policeman.