WALLACE, Idaho Lana Turner is gone, but remembered by many in her birthplace of Wallace.

The Hollywood star died Thursday after battling throat cancer.

She was born Julia Jean Turner on Feb. 8, 1921 to John and Mildred Turner in Providence Hospital in the east end of Wallace.

Turner's father worked at City Dye Works, a dry-cleaning business, Wallace District Mining Museum director John Amonson said.

The Turner family eventually moved to the town of Burke, a few miles north of Wallace, Amonson said.

Dominic Peretti, 82, who was born and raised in Wallace, remembers Turner as a young girl and may have witnessed her first scheduled public performance.

"I remember one time going to the Liberty Theater in Wallace and she and her dad did a dance review before the show," said Peretti.

The Turners tap-danced for about 20 minutes, said Peretti, who rated the performance as quite good. Lana was 6 years old at the time.

Excerpts from her autobiography: "Lana the Lady, the Legend, the Truth," substantiate Peretti's story.

Turner describes her father as talented man who could sing and dance. Her father taught Lana a tap-dance routine that he regularly performed at the Elks Club in Wallace, according to the book.

Peretti said he and his boyhood friend, Bill Squance, played with Lana as children.

The Squance family owned the Pacific Hotel, Peretti said. The Turners temporarily stayed at the establishment and both Peretti and Squance used to play tag with Turner, he said.

"She was a pretty nice kid," Peretti said, "just like the rest of us."

Besides tap-dancing, Turner also tried her hand at impromptu modeling during her time in Wallace.

According to the autobiography, Turner's mother was modeling furs at an Elks Club show and Lana, who was backstage, put on a fur and sashayed onto the stage mimicking her mother. The 4-year-old Turner's modeling debut brought down the house.

When she was 6-years old, the Turner family moved to San Francisco.

Her father died when she was still a youngster, murdered after leaving a card game with his winnings stuffed in his sock, the book said.

Turner and her mother moved to Los Angeles in 1936, where Lana was discovered by an influential publisher of a Hollywood trade paper at a malt shop where she had sought refuge after skipping a typing class.

Cast as a sensuous Southern girl in "They Won't Forget," Lana's career was launched during a scene where she walked down the town street in a tight sweater.

During her meteoric rise to Hollywood stardom, Turner returned to the Silver Valley on a tour of the Pacific Northwest to promote war bonds.

As part of her agreement with the Treasury Department, Turner finished her two-week tour in Wallace where she received a gala homecoming.

On June 19, 1942, Turner stood on a platform erected in front of the Elks Temple and addressed a crowd of an estimated 4,000 people who turned out to welcome the star, according to a Wallace Press-Times article.

"Tonight I am not going to talk about bonds and stamps," Turner is quoted as saying. "I want to talk about how happy I am at returning home and at this marvelous reception. I want to talk tonight to my friends and my people."

Peretti, who was working across the street, remembers the occasion.

"We opened the upstairs window and listened to the speech," he said. "It was a big deal because she was quite a star."

Turner returned a final time to the Silver Valley in the early 1970s, said June Chapman, 62, a Wallace native.

Chapman first met Turner during that visit at the Sunshine Inn in Kellogg.

Turner had returned to the Silver Valley because she was interested in purchasing a bar in Wallace, Chapman said.

Turner stayed in Wallace for several months, said Chapman, who declined to relate any anecdotes about her, citing concern for the actors' penchant for privacy.

Turner's private life, however, often upstaged her stardom. The actor was married seven times and had several publicized affairs with the likes of Howard Hughes, Tyrone Power and Fernando Lamas.

But perhaps her most infamous romance was with gangster Johnny Stompanato who was stabbed to death by Turner's then 15-year-old daughter, Cheryl Crane.

At the time of the incident, Stompanato was beating Turner in her Beverly Hills bedroom on April 5, 1958. The matter was later deemed to be justifiable homicide.


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