It’s 1957. The place is London, England. Co-stars Sean Connery and Lana Turner are filming “Another Time, Another Place”, and it’s all going as planned. Things take a wild turn when Turner’s mobster boyfriend shows up uninvited on the set.
Johnny Stompanato strolled onto the set as if he owned it. He represented the stereotypical gangster found in every mob movie ever made. Stompanato was armed and dangerous.
Turner’s relationship with Stompanato was not good, and often included violence and abuse. Even with that, she decided to invite him to England with her, but not to the movie set. Either way, this was a decision she would soon regret.
Picture this: at the time, Turner was 36 with four ex-husbands in her rear-view. Stompanato was a 32 year old former Marine who was an enforcer for LA crime boss Mickey Cohen. In London, things seemed to be going well, but Stompanato’s behavior turned sour quickly, and Turner called Scotland Yard to have him removed from the country.
In the film, Turner portrayed an American journalist who had a love affair with a BBC war correspondent, played by Sean Connery. Stompanato was jealous and did not want to stand aside while his girlfriend was on the set filming a movie with this heartthrob, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. Stompanato showed up on the set with a gun and threated to kill Connery. The real-life scene was something out of a James Bond movie! When Stompanato pointed the gun, Connery grabbed it out of his hands and simultaneously twisted Stampanato’s wrist. They kicked the mobster off set, and he was back on a flight to the US in no time.
Wondering how this tumultuous love affair between Turner and Stompanato ended? Apparently he continued to threaten her at gunpoint almost every day after she returned from England, often saying that he would kill her daughter and her mother. Through all this, Turner persevered as an actress, and was nominated for an Oscar for Peyton Place. She refused to take Stompanato to the Oscars and instead took her mother and 14-year-old daughter. Stompanato was infuriated by her decision, and a week after the Academy Awards he showed up in Turner’s new house where she and her daughter Cheryl recently moved in, threatening to cut her face and end her career.
The two were arguing loud enough for 14-year old Cheryl to hear from the room next door. Fearful that Stompanato might kill her mother, the teenager decided to take matters into her own hands. Grabbing a knife from the kitchen, Cheryl carefully approached her mother’s bedroom. When Johnny Stompanato opened the door, Cheryl stabbed him and killed him.
The story and subsequent trial became a media sensation. The court ruled the crime was declared a “justifiable homicide”. Turner’s dramatic off-screen life was more interesting than all her movies, and her love affairs were definitely in the middle of it all. She summed it up saying, “I planned on having one husband and seven children, but it turned out the other way around.“
-Your Big Bro