Newly single mom, Lana Turner, fresh off her divorce from Stephen Crane, was in dire need of an escort to all the Hollywood parties, and who better than our very own Peter Lawford to do the escorting?
In 1944 Peter was 21 and like most 21 year old males, infatuated with Lana Turner.
Termed the sweater girl for one reason and one reason only, and well, she did wear those little cashmere sweaters pretty well. Peter was thrilled to find Lana’s attitude on men wasn’t elitest, and he would be acceptable as a male speciman.
Now, while Peter definitely did his share of dating all the eligible and ineligible women in Hollywood, he had nothing on Lana and one might wonder if he learned some of the tricks of the trade from Lana early on.
Peter and Lana would be inseparable for eight months. She would pick him up in her jeep every morning so they could ride to the studio together. They would make the rounds to the clubs and parties, and when the evening outings were over they would go back to Lana’s house, because as Peter said, “my mother would eat alive any girl that even called at home, acting like they were all out to get their hands on her precious son.” Peter and Lana didn’t make any movies together during their heyday at MGM, but for those eight months they did just about everything else. Peter appreciated Lana’s ‘down to earth tastes’ and they would go to the beach( Peter’s favorite activity), go horseback riding and play tennis. Peter said of Lana, ” she was the kind of woman you could call up and say, ‘come and help me bury dad- I just shot him’ and she would be there without question.”
Peter was ready to propose to Lana when she ran off on him to Boston to meet up with Gene Krupa. It was a cold and horrid ending to a great relationship. Peter would be untouchable for a year, lose some substantial self esteem and essentially his faith in women. The once considerate Peter was replaced by a man scarred and in the words of friend Milton Ebbins, “Peter could be cruel and heartless. It was Lana who taught him that.”