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WHY LANA AND TY
AGREED TO DISAGREE
by Monica MacKenzie
Movieland, Mar 1948
"Goodbye for a while," or so Lana and Ty thought in September when he left on 33,000-mile air trip
Cupid took a nose-dive when Ty returned from his round-the-world flight. At dinner Lana and Ty wrote finis to their romance.
In the whole hectic history of Hollywood, there have been two great romances which became public property: the Greta Garbo-Leopold Stokowski entente and the Lana Turner-Tyrone Power love affair.
Garbo turned Stokowski down, only to watch him marry the fabulously wealthy Gloria Vanderbilt; and Tyrone Power called it quits with Lana to return temporarily to his wife Annabella, who is shrewd, intelligent, and older than he.
The inside story of the Power-Turner disruption can be told cursorily in five or six short, simple sentences.
Lana Turner wanted to get married. Tyrone Power did not. By the time he had returned from his round-the-world flight, he had fallen out of love with Lana. She, however, a victim of that adage, absence makes the heart grow fonder, was more in love with him than she’d ever been.
In being married to Annabella, Tyrone has helped raise a ten-year-old stepdaughter, fathered by a man he never knew.
If he married Lana, he would have to help raise Cheryl, another stepdaughter, fathered by Steve Crane.
The assumption is that, if he ever marries again, Tyrone would like to raise a family of his own. Stepchildren are fine, but every man likes to produce his own offspring. Tyrone is no exception.
Other reasons for the breakup with Lana are these; a woman in Ty’s life comes second to his career. That’s true of all men. Their work is of paramount importance. As for Lana, love comes first, and her career comes second.
Moreover, as regards background, there’s a tremendous difference between Ty’s and Lana’s. Ty is an actor by heritage, training, disposition, intent. Lana is an actress by luck, circumstances, fortune, and accident.
Intellectually, they are also completely mismated. Lana is volatile, emotional, intuitively perceptive. Ty is logical, methodical, and formally educated.
Actually, they have little in common but screen careers. And marriage between two screen stars usually ends in divorce. There is too much exhibitionism in the family, too much jealousy; too much assertion; too many breadwinners.
When Tyrone Power told reporters, “Miss Turner and I have decided to call it quits,” he didn’t go into all the reasons. He didn’t tell them that for his part the affair was an infatuation, a strong, dynamic one, but an infatuation all the same. And yet, that’s what it was.
Rumors of the Power-Turner break started when Lana dined at New York's El Morocco with socialite Perry Belmont Frank, Jr. (pictured at right)
As for Lana, she had intuitively expected a proposal and when it wasn’t forthcoming after Ty’s return, she decided like the sensible woman she is not to break her heart any further.
She raced to New York and almost immediately started making the rounds with John Alden Talbot, Jr., an airport promoter, and Perry Belmont Frank, Jr., a nephew of Bernard Baruch. To friends, she confided, “I’m through with the male species.” But Lana could no more go through life without men than Vic Mature could without women.
As for Ty, after a Metro spokesman made the announcement, “Lana Turner and Tyrone Power by mutual consent have broken off their friendship” - he continued to stay around Hollywood. His heart wasn’t broken one bit. I spoke to him at Ciro’s dinner party, and he was bubbling over with the excitement of what he’d done and seen on his trip.
Ty stopped off at Rome to watch filming of "Cagliostro," (aka "Black Magic") and met Valentine Cortese (extreme right in picture to the left).
He was all agog about having met Jan Christian Smuts of South Africa, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, and His Holiness the Pope. He certainly wasn’t all agog about his breakup with Lana. He had thought about it for many days and many miles while he flew around the world. And he knew that when the time came for decision, he would have to make it.
He made it and now he’s in the throes of making another decision, this time with Annabella. Will there be a reconciliation or will there not?
Annabella, if she sues for divorce, will sue in California, where the parties to any divorce action have to stay separated for one year before the divorce becomes final. As of this writing, Annabella has not instituted suit, and there’s a possibility that she may never.
Many gossip columnists are saying that the current breakup between Tyrone Power and Lana Turner is a lovers’ quarrel, and that as soon as Annabella gives Ty a divorce, he and Lana will tie the knot.
That’s sheer hokum. I predict that the Power-Turner affair is over, finished, done with. Power is marrying no woman with growing children on hand to look after.
Ty's marriage to Annabella (pictured to the left) remains in a state of suspension
It is entirely possible that his current marriage with Annabella will remain in a state of suspension, and that Ty will continue to make the Hollywood rounds with such girls as Linda Christian, Cyd Charisse, and the other eligible. He has gotten accustomed to his enforced bachelorhood. But as for reconciling with Lana, that’s out.
In affairs of this sort, it’s usually the woman who suffers most, and Ty is aware of that fact. If he goes with anyone, he is determined not to let it mushroom into public property.
That’s what happened with Lana. Ty started going out with her because he was lonely. His wife supposedly had gone abroad to get a divorce. He was working long and hard on several pictures. He needed relaxation. What better relaxation than Lana Turner?
She’s beautiful, appealing, lively, witty, great fun. She’s also impetuous; she does things on the spur of the moment, like flying down to Mexico to see Ty while one of her own pictures was in production. The executives at Metro hit the ceiling when they found out Lana had done that. But they’re understanding men, and they realized that Lana had a terrific crush on Ty, and they marked the expense up to Cupid.
By the same token, however, Ty would never have flown to see Lana if the circumstances were reversed. His career comes first. His whole life has been tied to acting. Lana’s whole life has been tied to men. Unfortunately, the tie-up with Ty became the publicity men’s delight.
I remember one night running into Ty and Lana in the Biltmore Theatre when Katharine Cornell was putting on “The Barretts of Wimpole Street.”
“The newspaper boys tell me,” I said, “that you two are as good as hitched. Is that true?”
Ty merely shrugged his shoulders, smiled, and changing the subject, said, “How do you like the play?”
There was nothing Ty and Lana did, however, no place they went where they weren’t shadowed by photographers and reporters. When Ty left on his goodwill flight, these reporters assumed that he was deeply in love with Lana. They knew that she was with him. She made no bones about it. Subtlety is not one of Lana’s cultivated capabilities. She wears her heart on her sleeve.
After all, everyone knew that Ty had just purchased director Henry Hathaway’s home in Brentwood. He had said to Lana, “I want you to decorate it.”
While Ty was gone, Lana spent weeks supervising the interior decoration. She shopped for drapes, rugs, blending colors. Shopping is tough work, and frequently Lana was late in reporting for her own work. As a matter of fact, she was late at least half a dozen times in reporting on the set of “Homecoming”. She was working opposite Gable, who’s a stickler for promptness. By the time the picture was finished, Gable and Lana weren’t talking, largely because of her tardiness.
It’s possible, too, that while Ty was gone, Lana had an inkling, a suspicion - call it an intuition if you will - that Ty’s feelings toward her would change. That frequently happens when a man gets a chance to think and meditate and measure things. And Lana knew it.
She was a bit on edge. One night at Ciro’s, for example, she had quite a few words with Peter Lawford on the dance floor. “Just who do you think you are, anyway? Lana demanded. If it weren’t for me, you’d be nothing.” Lawford seems to be feuding with everyone on the lot. Van Johnson won’t even talk to him; so perhaps too much shouldn’t be read into the Turner-Lawford fracas.
The point is that while Ty was gone, Lana was nervous and irritable. She was working on her own picture; she was supervising the furnishing of Tyrone’s house; she was trying to keep in contact with him all around the world. He had never promised her marriage or anything, for that matter; because it wasn’t his to promise - he was still married to Annabella, but a girl can hope, can’t she?
When Tyrone landed in Massachusetts on one of the last legs of his flight and took Thanksgiving with the enlisted men in an Army mess, Lana began to head home for California. So, too, did Annabella, who had arrived from France that week on the liner, De Grasse.
All the persons in the triangle, it seemed, were converging on one spot, the Hughes Airport in Culver City, California. Here, at last, all the rumors and mongering and gossip would come to an end. Annabella would start divorce proceedings, perhaps in Reno, and after six weeks, Ty would be free - free to marry Lana and settle down with her four-year-old daughter in the Brentwood house she had decorated.
That was the popular expectation. It never materialized. Once away from Hollywood and Lana, Ty had the opportunity to look at things honestly, objectively, in true perspective.
Would marriage between him and Lana work? How would he get along with his little stepdaughter? How had he gotten along with Annabella’s daughter? What did he have in common with Lana? True, they were both screen personalities, but they came from different backgrounds; they had different tastes, different friends, different hobbies, different aspirations, different fundamental philosophies.
Ty knew that those marriages succeed best wherein the wife and husband have the most in common. He had Lana just didn’t have enough mutual ness of purpose. Besides, there was a variance in the intensity of their affection.
It is safe to say that Lana had gone off the deep end for Ty.
Ty might have felt the same way about Lana, but the feeling wasn’t enduring.
He came back from that round-the-world trip a more sober, serious person than when he’d left. He’d seen the world in turmoil; he’d witnessed first hand the battle of various ideologies in Europe. He’d seen starvation; the fight for power; the diplomatic struggle between East and West.
Compared to all that, his personal romance seemed unimportant, almost minor.
To Lana, on the other hand, personal romance meant everything. There she was back home, waiting for Ty to return, planning in her own mind the future they would make together.
“The biggest mistake Lana made,” one of her closest friends recently revealed, “was when she let Ty get out of her sight. Had she forced the issue when she had him reeling on the ropes, she would have been Mrs. Tyrone Power today.”
The moral of it all is that a woman must strike while the iron is hot. Of course, this is all theory - and perhaps you won’t agree! But Hollywood was firmly convinced that the finale to this romance was inevitable from the start.
Girdling the globe by air, it seems, always cools Tyrone Power off.
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