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Lana Turner recovering after throat cancer surgery

LOS ANGELES -- Actress Lana Turner was at home Tuesday, receiving calls from family and friends after undergoing successful treatment for throat cancer, her daughter said.

'She's feeling very good,' said Turner's daughter, Cheryl Crane.

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The 72-year-old actress entered Cedars-Sinai Medical Center May 13 for exploratory surgery after going to a doctor to check out a sore throat, Crane said.

In a statement Turner issued Monday, the actress said doctors discovered 'a small cancer.'

'Because of its early detection, the prognosis for full recovery is excellent,' Turner said.

Crane said the surgery did not involve her larynx or vocal cords and did not affect her voice, Crane said. No chemotherapy or radiation was advised.

'Right now the only treatment the doctors have indicated was to keep an eye on her,' Crane said.

She was released from the hospital and was recovering from surgery at her Los Angeles home.

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'Calls are coming in like crazy today,' Crane said. 'She's gotten wonderful support from everyone.'

Crane's publicist, Linda Dozoretz, said Turner decided to go public with her illness after being contacted by several New York-area tabloids.

'Just know that she's going to be OK,' Crane said. 'We're in this together. She's a strong lady and we've been through worse things. We'll get through this.'

Perhaps the most noted role for Turner, the 'sweater girl' sex symbol of the 1940s, was played on the front pages of newspapers around the world in 1958 when her violent lover, mobster Johnny Stompanato, was stabbed to death with a butcher knife in her home.

A coroner's investigation found that Cheryl, then 14, had committed 'justifiable homicide.' Many Hollywood insiders were unconvinced the girl had actually stabbed Stompanato to save her mother from a beating.

Turner, 38 at the time and four times divorced, testified her only child killed Stompanato, 32, after he threatened to disfigure the actress' famous face. She later called Stampanato a madman.

Many observers believed the trembling, weeping Turner gave her best performance on the witness stand. Her career never recovered from the scandal in which her impassioned letters to Stampanato were made public.

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The story was recounted in Crane's 1988 autobiography, 'Detour: A Hollywood Story.'

The first Turner film released after the scandal, 'Another Time, Another Place,' was a flop. She never regained her popularity and has since appeared in second-rate films. She talked about retiring, but never actually did.

Turner worked in diminished roles in the 1960s, finally co-starring in an unsuccessful TV series, 'The Survivors' in 1969.

She all but dropped from sight in the 1970s, appearing in two lackluster films -- the 1976 drama 'Bittersweet Love' and a 1974 British thriller, 'Persecution,' described by one critic as 'unintentionally hilarious.'

Turner appeared in the TV series 'Falcon Crest' in 1982 and 1983 as Jacqueline Perrault, leaving after rumors of differences with the show's star, Jane Wyman.

Turner is best-known for her film roles in 'Ziegfeld Girl,' 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,' 'Honky Tonk,' 'The Bad and the Beautiful,' 'Peyton Place,' 'The Merry Widow' and 'Slightly Dangerous.'

Her career included some 50 films, but the performance that brought her to public attention was as a sexy high school girl in 'Love Finds Andy Hardy' with Mickey Rooney, in which she turned a few heads with her angora sweaters.

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Turner has been married and divorced seven times, including unions with band leader Artie Shaw, 'Tarzan' star Lex Barker and Cheryl's father, restaurateur Stephen Crane.

In recent years she has spent much of her time in seclusion in Los Angeles and in Honolulu, where her daughter is a real estate broker.

Turner was born Julia Jean Turner in Wallace, Idaho, Feb. 8, 1920. She attended schools in Sacramento, San Francisco and other California cities while her impoverished and widowed mother worked at a variety of jobs.

Eventually, Julia attended Hollywood High School, which gave birth to the legend that she was discovered perched on a stool at a drug store soda fountain by the publisher of a Hollywood trade paper.

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