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Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner was born on February 8, 1920 in Wallace, Idaho. Sources say Miss Turner was born in 1920 although the actress stated in her autobiography that she was born in 1921.

In 1935, Miss Turner and her family moved to Los Angeles, California where she attended Hollywood High School where a lot of other budding actresses were students. She was soon introduced to William R. Wilkerson the publisher of the "Hollywood Reporter" and he in turn introduced this young woman to Zeppo Marx who had his own casting agency. Marx sent Miss Turner to director Mervyn LeRoy for a screen test. This fifteen-year-old was cast in her first movie "They Won’t Forget" which hit the box office in 1937. This was the first time the young woman appeared on screen in a form fitting sweater and skirt. This would soon become her trademark – cashmere sweaters and skirts, which then became the rage for all the young women. Miss Turner was dubbed "The Sweater Girl" although she did not like the stereotype. After acting in her first film, Miss Turner signed a contract with MGM studio. Miss Taylor made over fifty films in her acting career.

Her on screen persona did not reflect her private life. Miss Turner was married seven times, had numerous lovers and was involved in a murder scandal that involved her teenage daughter. Her private life only seemed to add to her sex symbol status.

After World War II, Miss Turner moved away from the Sweater Girl stereotype and was cast in more mature roles. After 1952, she didn’t renew her contract with MGM and it proved profitable for her to do so.

In 1958, she won an Academy Award for her role in the movie "Peyton Place." After that, Miss Turner was in demand. In the 1970s, Miss Turner took to the stage and then in 1982, she played in her last role - the television miniseries "Falcon Crest" where she starred opposite Jane Wyman. She also published her autobiography in the same year.

In 1973, Miss Turner retired from acting. She became a recluse until 1992 when she was diagnosed with throat cancer. Miss Turner died on June 29, 1995 in Century City, Los Angeles.