Lana Turner's story is the stuff of Hollywood legends. One afternoon in 1936, Turner skipped class at Hollywood High School to get a soda at a Sunset Boulevard soda fountain. While sitting at the counter, Turner was spotted by William Wilkerson, publisher of movie magazine The Hollywood Reporter. Wilkerson approached Turner (then known as Julia Turner) asking if she'd like to be in pictures. This chance meeting led to a small role in the 1937 film, They Won't Forget. As the murder victim at the center of the plot, Turner wore a tight, fitted sweater. Though her on-screen appearance was brief, Turner was a hit. Audience response cards and fan mail begged for more of the "Sweater Girl," aka Lana Turner.
Throughout the 1930s and '40s, Turner starred in succession of films, including a highly praised performance in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946). Off-screen, Turner's personal life also had a cinematic arc. Turner reportedly enjoyed Hollywood nightlife, and was romantically linked with a succession of married and unmarried men. Turner's life both off and on the screen was well-covered in the press. The rate at which Turner switched romantic partners was considered somewhat scandalous, and MGM sometimes engaged in damage control regarding Turner's personal life. For example, when Turner slashed her wrist in the wake of her 1951 divorce from her third husband, the press reported that she cut herself in the shower. This type of misinformation campaign was not unique; studios frequently engaged in damage control to protect their assets, i.e. their film stars.