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Imitation of Life (1934) Poster

Trivia

Fredi Washington (Peola, Aged 19) was a light-skinned African-American. After playing this role, she was criticized by some in the black community who labored under the misconception that the actress herself practiced self-hatred and would rather 'pass' herself off as white. Ms. Washington was, in fact, an avid civil rights activist.
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Spoiler: It is believed that as many as five hundred African American extras appear as mourners and onlookers in Delilah's funeral procession. It was the largest call for African American extras in a film at the time.
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Although cast as the daughter of Louise Beavers (Delilah), 'Fredi Washington' (Peola, age 19) was in reality less than two years younger than her onscreen mother. She was, however, considerably slimmer than the matronly Beavers, which enabled the pair to "pass" as mother and daughter.
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Eight uncredited writers contributed to the screenplay, including Preston Sturges and Finley Peter Dunne.
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Paul Lukas was the original choice for the male lead.
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The script didn't get Breen office approval until the film was two weeks into shooting.
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Paramount loaned Claudette Colbert out to Universal for the film.
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Claudette Colbert and Warren William also co-starred in Cecil B. DeMille's Cleopatra (1934) that same year.
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1934 proved to be a banner year for Claudette Colbert with her acclaimed performance in this film, the Cecil B. DeMille blockbuster Cleopatra (1934) and the runaway Oscar-winning hit It Happened One Night (1934).
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Despite this being a Universal film, Claudette Colbert would get up two hours earlier and meet Dorothy Ponedel at the Paramount studio, so she could have Ponedel (preferred makeup artist) prepare her for filming.
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