A Good Girl With a Taste for Bad Boys
By the late 1950s, Lana Turner’s career had passed its peak, and she no longer cared about her public image. In 1958, she hooked up with a new boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato, a mobster with close ties to LA’s key crime boss, Mickey Cohen. On the one hand, Stompanato, a World War II Marine veteran, was a handsome hunk. On the other hand, he was a violent psychopath who did not hesitate to beat the daylights out of Turner, starting with when she first tried to break up with him. It was a toxic relationship that ended with a scandal that shocked even a jaded Hollywood seemingly impervious to scandals.
Throughout the course of a stormy year, Turner and her psycho beau carried on a torrid affair filled with violent arguments, physical abuse, frequent breakups, and just-as-frequent reconciliations. Turner claimed that on at least one occasion, her mobster boyfriend drugged and photographed her in the nude when she was passed out, in order to have something to blackmail her with. The relationship finally ended when Stompanato was stabbed to death in Turner’s home – not by her, but by her fourteen-year-old daughter.