The Nickname Lana Turner Couldn't Stand

Some stars in the celebrity sky have no control of the labels that accompany their success. Even John Mellencamp never fully escaped the nickname "Cougar" that has tailed his persona from the start of his career, despite his contempt for it (via NBC New York). Perhaps it's merely an occupational hazard of being wildly successful in the entertainment world. 

Long before Johnny Cougar, the world had Lana Turner. Turner would become a spellbinding mistress of Hollywood screens throughout the 1940s and '50s and is often revered as one of the most notable actresses of the 20th century, a bona fide beauty through and through. However, she reportedly had a nickname that wasn't so elegant and flattering in her mind. It came about after her feature debut in Mervyn LeRoy's "They Won't Forget" (1937) and a costuming decision for her character — rightly or wrongly, for good or ill, but definitely memorably.

'The Sweater Girl'

In the film, Turner was clad in a very tight sweater that left few doubts about her physicality and leading to her being dubbed "The Sweater Girl." In her self-produced/directed documentary about her mother's life, "Lana Turner ... A Daughter's Memoir," Cheryl Crane describes the revulsion that accompanied Turner's view of the "Sweater Girl" phenomenon: "My mother told me that when she first sat there in that darkened theater watching herself on-screen in that sweater, she went scarlet. She was so embarrassed. And it took her a long time to get over it." Warner Bros. publicist Irvine Fine is reputed to have conceived the star's tragically popular nickname that spread to the public and beyond (via Mental Floss).

The tight-fitting attire actually accentuated her figure and became a look that other stars like Jane Russell and Jayne Mansfield would mimic, ultimately earning them, too, the label of "Sweater Girls." However, despite the "complimentary" notion at its core, it wasn't a title that Lana Turner was too keen on and she shunned it to the best of her ability throughout her career (per The Hair Pin)