In the late 50s, vicious mob boss Johnny Stompanato owned L.A., and by extension, Hollywood. The stage crew, writers, and actors’ unions were all under his “protection”. He also owned the studios. He made sure the workers showed up on time and didn’t strike, and the studios “loaned” him money, which of course he never had to repay. The Greater Los Angeles’ Metropolitan Area was Stompanato’s personal fiefdom.
Actress Lana Turner was trying to resurrect her career and turned to a relationship with Stompanato, but it was far from ideal. In March 1957, Turner was filming “Another Time, Another Place” with unknown 27 year old British actor, former Mr. Universe contestant, Royal Navy vet, Scottish patriot, and male sexbot template, Sean Connery (OK, I made the last one up. It’s just not true…yet).
Stompanato, being the jealous type, wasn’t happy that Connery was poking Lana Turner (because of course he was), so one day he decided to intimidate him. Stompanato showed up on set waving a revolver around and started yelling at Connery. Connery, unimpressed, disarmed his adversary, pistol whipped Stompanato with his own gun, and beat him to a bloody pulp right there on the set.
Sean Connery just gave a beating to the most powerful and ruthless man on the West Coast. There could be only one result: Sean Connery had to die.
On 4 April 1958, Stomapanato vowed to sneak into Connery’s hotel and murder him, as he had done to others a dozen times before. He was just waiting for dark. But that evening, Lana Turner came home from filming, and Stompanato proceeded to beat her, as he was wont to do. The beating was so vicious, that Turner’s 12 year old daughter, Cheryl, ran into the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and stabbed Stompanato… 12 times, killing him.
Another Time, Another Place released in June and featured credits with “Introducing Sean Connery” as opposed to “Dedicated to…”
Almost exactly three years later, archetypical English gentleman and actor David Niven, by far the favorite, lost the spot for the new role of James Bond to his only real competition: a still nearly unknown Sean Connery.