Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Joseph Stephen Crane, 1916-1985

Joseph Stephen Crane was born in Crawfordsville, IN on February 7, 1916. The Crane family owned the Stephenson Crane Cigar Store located on South Washington Street. Crane graduated from Crawfordsville High School where he was active in drama and debate. He then attended Wabash College, graduating in 1937 with a degree in Business. In 1942, Crane married the famous Hollywood actress, Lana Turner. They were actually married and divorced twice. They had one child together, a daughter, named Cheryl Crane. When Cheryl was 14 years old, she fatally stabbed her mother's boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato (Johnny Stomp). He was a bodyguard for mobster Mickey Cohen. Stompanato was known to have been abusive to Lana and the murder was ruled a justifiable homicide.

Stephen Crane actually enjoyed his own brief Hollywood career starring in three Columbia Pictures productions. The Oscar-nominated film "Tonight and Every Night" featured Crane alongside screen goddess, Rita Hayworth. However, Crane was more notably known as a restaurateur. He developed, owned, and managed The Luau, Kon-Tiki, and Ports o' Call restaurants. The Luau was very famous in Hollywood and was frequented by many film stars. The Kon-Tiki restaurant was popular in Sheraton Hotels throughout the United States and Canada from 1958-1978.

Crane died on February 6, 1985, just one day shy of his 69th birthday. He is buried in Crawfordsville next to his parents at Oak Hill Cemetery. Lana Turner died in 1995 of throat cancer. Cheryl Crane has written her own book, "Detour: A Hollywood Story," and is a realtor living in California.

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