Lana Turner — She Won In A Walk (1938) 🇺🇸
Most young players have to endure hardships and rebuffs at the start of a career, but there is one exception.
by Elmer Sunfield
All that pretty, seventeen-year-old Lana Turner had to do to convince Producer Mervyn LeRoy out at Warner Brothers Studios that she was top-notch movie star material was to “walk right in, turn around, and walk right out again.”
As simple as all that!
This ambulation — to use a dollar word — occurred in “They Won’t Forget,” the motion picture that marked Lana’s screen debut.
Of course there was more to it than the mere walk across the screen, but not so much at that. If you’ve seen the picture you may recall that Lana, in the role of Mary Clay, had just about become established in the story when she was murdered. That small amount of footage, however, was enough to win plenty of verbal bouquets from the Warner front office and her celluloid demise lasted only long enough for the aforementioned front office to find another featured spot for her — which it did in The Great Garrick where you’ll find her very much alive again and, unless twenty Warner officials are completely wrong, walking off with the show in every sequence in which she appears.
And, since we’re talking about walking, there’s little room for anyone to deny but that this lovely little young star has acquired the luckiest habit in the world. For instance: Less than seven months ago she walked out of the side door of the Hollywood High School and walked into a tiny lunch-room near Sunset Boulevard.
She sat chatting with a schoolmate for a while and then, in less time than a Hollywood “yes-man” can agree with his boss, a trade paper publisher walked in and sat down at a near-by table. He wasn’t an official talent scout, but he’d been around the film factories long enough to recognize a good bet when he saw one, and before Lana scarcely knew what it was all about he had her walking into the office of a player’s agent.
So enthused was this agent over his young client and so fast did he work that the next day Lana was among twenty other girls to be tested for the role of Mary Clay. As composed as a veteran trooper, Lana walked in front of the camera and then walked right into a fat movie contract five minutes after Producer LeRoy had seen the test! As simple as all that!
“Up until the time I walked out of the high school side door,” says Lana, “I had no thought of ever adopting acting as a career. I had planned to be a fashion designer and had selected my high school studies toward that career — but I took a walk, and here I am!”
Getting down to a few vital statistics, Lana is five feet, four inches tall in her stocking feet, and tips the scales at the 109 lb. mark. She’s a tennis addict, designs and makes her own clothes, and says she’s far too young and too busy to give romance any thought. But she thinks “Wayne Morris is just about the best actor in pictures.”
“Lana lives in Hollywood with her mother, moving here from San Francisco in 1936. Wallace, Idaho, is her birthplace, and don’t think for a single minute that those hard-rock miners aren’t proud of her! A strict disciplinarian of herself, she likewise knows that two pictures never made an actress and that success comes only through hard work.
Well, unless all predictions go overboard, it’s going to be a long movie Lana that has no Turner — and here’s hoping this wholesome, unaffected young star keeps on winning in a walk!
Source: Hollywood, January 1938