Cheryl Crane

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Cheryl Crane
Born Cheryl Christina Crane
(1943-07-25) July 25, 1943 (age 74)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Residence Palm Springs, California
Occupation Writer, real estate broker
Years active 1992–2011
Spouse(s) Joyce LeRoy (m. 2014)
Parent(s) Steve Crane
Lana Turner

Cheryl Christina Crane (born July 25, 1943)[1] is the only child of actress Lana Turner, from her marriage to actor-restaurateur Stephen Crane, her second husband. She was the subject of significant media attention when, at fifteen years old, she killed her mother's lover, Johnny Stompanato, during a domestic struggle; she escaped charges, and his death was deemed a justifiable homicide.

Killing of Johnny Stompanato[edit]

On April 4, 1958, at age 14, Crane stabbed her mother's boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato, to death.[2][3] The killing was ruled a justifiable homicide: she was deemed to have been protecting her mother.[3] Stompanato was well-known to have been abusive, extremely jealous of Turner and had previously pointed a gun at actor Sean Connery, her co-star in Another Time, Another Place, only to have Connery "take the gun from him, beat him and force him from the movie set"[4] and "Scotland Yard had him deported".[5]

Following Stompanato's death, Crane was made a ward of the State of California and was placed in the El Retiro School for Girls in Sylmar, Los Angeles for "psychiatric therapy" in March 1960.[6][7] Six weeks later she and two other girls climbed a 10-foot wall and fled.[8][9] They were eventually returned to the school after she telephoned her father.[10][11] Five weeks later, she again fled the campus with two other girls. They walked into Sylmar and were driven by a new acquaintance to Beverly Hills, where they were taken into custody a few hours later after being seen near her grandmother's home.[12] She was released from the school in January 1961 to the custody of her mother and stepfather, Frederick D. May.[13]

In 1969, Crane was detained by the Los Angeles Police Department when three half-grown marijuana plants were discovered in the back seat of her car.[3]

Later life[edit]

In her autobiography, Detour: a Hollywood Tragedy – My Life With Lana Turner, My Mother (1988), Crane discussed the Stompanato killing publicly for the first time and admitted to the stabbing. She further alleged that she was subject to a series of sexual assaults at the hands of her stepfather and her mother's fourth husband, actor Lex Barker.

Years later, Crane publicly revealed that she had told her mother she was a lesbian and that she had taken the news well. She said she regarded Crane's partner, Joyce "Josh" LeRoy, "as a second daughter".[3]

Crane lives in the Palm Springs, California, area, retired from real estate and is married to her long time companion Joyce "Josh" LeRoy, with whom she has been since 1971. She has written a mystery novel titled The Bad Always Die Twice, published in 2011.[14]

Bibliographic references[edit]

  • Lamparski, R. (1970) Whatever Became Of...?, Ace Books, New York.

Further reading[edit]

  • Detour: A Hollywood Story by Cheryl Crane with Cliff Jahr (Arbor House/William Morrow, 1988)