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Imitation of Life ()


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An aspiring actress befriends a black widow, but trouble arises when the latter is rejected by her daughter, who tries to pass for white.

Director:
Awards:
  • Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations.
  • See more »
Reviews:

Photos and Videos

Cast verified as complete

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Lora Meredith
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Steve Archer
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Susie - 16
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Sarah Jane - 18
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Allen Loomis
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David Edwards
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Annie Johnson
Karin Dicker ...
Sarah Jane - 8
Terry Burnham ...
Susie - 6
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Young Man
Lee Goodman ...
Photographer
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Showgirl
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Frankie
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Annette
David Tomack ...
Mr. McKenney
Joel Fluellen ...
Minister
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Tom
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Fat Man on Beach
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Teacher
Than Wyenn ...
Romano
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Fay
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Choir Soloist
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Party Guest (uncredited)
Alex Ball ...
Audience Member (uncredited)
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Furniture Mover (uncredited)
Chuckie Bradley ...
Bit Part (uncredited)
Paul Bradley ...
Preston Mitchell (uncredited)
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Man at Coney Island (uncredited)
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Marching Band Member (uncredited)
George Calliga ...
Security (uncredited)
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Actor at Audition (uncredited)
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McKinney (uncredited)
Paul Cristo ...
Show Spectator (uncredited)
Joe Darensbourg ...
Marching Band Member (uncredited)
Robert Darin ...
Waiter (uncredited)
Mike De Lay ...
Marching Band Member (uncredited)
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Lora's Friend (uncredited)
Adolf Eichmann ...
Himself (uncredited) (archiveFootage)
Cicely Evans ...
Louise Morton (uncredited)
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Iris Dawn (uncredited)
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Geraldine Moore (uncredited)
George Ford ...
Show Spectator (uncredited)
Paul Gustine ...
Bit Part (uncredited)
Tedd Hadfield ...
Cop (uncredited)
Shep Houghton ...
Bit Part (uncredited)
Lynne Hunter ...
Teacher (uncredited)
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Doctor (uncredited)
Paul Levitt ...
Waiter (uncredited)
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Bit Part (uncredited)
John Marlowe ...
Bit Part (uncredited)
John McNamara ...
Doctor (uncredited)
Joseph Mell ...
Watchman (uncredited)
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Bit Part (uncredited)
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Cop at Funeral (uncredited)
Waclaw Rekwart ...
Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
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Audience Member (uncredited)
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Audience Member (uncredited)
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Funeral Onlooker (uncredited)
Cap Somers ...
Truck Driver (uncredited)
Norman Stevans ...
Bit Part (uncredited)
Ted Thorpe ...
Dog Owner (uncredited)
Jeanne Westmore ...
Bit Part (uncredited)
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Kenneth - Lora's Butler (uncredited)

Directed by

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Douglas Sirk

Written by

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Eleanore Griffin ... (screenplay) and
Allan Scott ... (screenplay)
 
Fannie Hurst ... (novel)

Produced by

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Ross Hunter ... producer

Music by

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Frank Skinner
Henry Mancini ... (uncredited)

Cinematography by

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Russell Metty ... director of photography

Film Editing by

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Milton Carruth

Art Direction by

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Alexander Golitzen
Richard H. Riedel

Set Decoration by

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Russell A. Gausman
Julia Heron

Costume Design by

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Bill Thomas ... (gowns)

Makeup Department

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Larry Germain ... hair stylist
Bud Westmore ... makeup artist
Del Armstrong ... makeup artist (uncredited)
Nick Marcellino ... makeup artist (uncredited)
Lynn F. Reynolds ... makeup artist (uncredited)
Lavaughn Speer ... hair stylist (uncredited)
Pat Westmore ... hair stylist (uncredited)

Production Management

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Norman Deming ... production manager (uncredited)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

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Frank Shaw ... assistant director
Wilson Shyer ... assistant director (uncredited)

Art Department

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Robert Laszlo ... props (uncredited)

Sound Department

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Leslie I. Carey ... sound
Joe Lapis ... sound
Glenn E. Anderson ... sound (uncredited)
Ralph Brown ... sound (uncredited)
Henry Janssen ... sound (uncredited)

Visual Effects by

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Monty Phillips ... lead digital artist (uncredited) (digital restoration)

Camera and Electrical Department

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Clifford Stine ... special photography
Charles Cowie ... grip (uncredited)
Ledge Haddow ... assistant camera (uncredited)
Rollie Lane ... still photographer (uncredited)
Max Nippell ... gaffer (uncredited)
Eddie Pyle ... camera operator (uncredited)
Roy Vaughn ... assistant camera (uncredited)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

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Jean Louis ... gowns: Lana Turner
Martha Bunch ... wardrobe (uncredited)
Rydo Loshak ... wardrobe (uncredited)
Rosamonde Lytele ... wardrobe (uncredited)

Music Department

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Joseph Gershenson ... music supervisor
Jo Ann Greer ... singing voice: Susan Kohner (uncredited)
Ethmer Roten ... musician: flute (uncredited)

Other crew

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Wayne Fitzgerald ... title designer (uncredited)
Don Morgan ... unit publicist (uncredited)
Luanna Sherman ... script supervisor (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies

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Distributors

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Special Effects

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Other Companies

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Storyline

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Plot Summary

Aspiring actress Lora Meredith meets Annie Johnson, a homeless black woman at Coney Island and soon they share a tiny apartment. Each woman has an intolerable daughter, though, Annie's little girl Sarah Jane, is by far the worse. Neurotic and obnoxious, Sarah Jane doesn't like being black; since she's light-skinned (her father was practically white), she spends the rest of the film passing as white, much to her mother's heartache and shame. Lora, meanwhile, virtually ignores her own daughter in a single-minded quest for stardom. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Keywords
Taglines "I'll get the things I want out of life, one way or another...from one man to another!" See more »
Genres
Parents Guide View content advisory »
Certification

Additional Details

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Also Known As
  • Mirage de la vie (France)
  • Imitación a la vida (Spain)
  • Imitacja zycia (Poland)
  • Αυτή Είναι η Ζωή μου (Greece)
  • Kanashimi wa sora no kanata ni (Japan)
  • See more »
Runtime
  • 125 min
Country
Language
Color
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $2,000,000 (estimated)
Cumulative Worldwide Gross $25,000,000, 01 Jan 1970

Did You Know?

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Trivia This film, which focuses on the relationship struggles of mothers and daughters, was Lana Turner's first since a very public scandal involving Turner and her daughter Cheryl Crane. The previous year, the fourteen year old Crane had fatally stabbed Turner's boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato. Stompanato, part of Mickey Cohen's infamous gang, had been beating Turner, and the court ruled that Crane's actions were justifiable homicide. Nonetheless, the killing and subsequent scandal created a rift between Turner and her daughter, and seriously threatened to end Turner's film career. However, Turner channeled the pain from her experience into this film. It proved financially and critically successful, and served as a comeback vehicle for the actress. See more »
Goofs Steve's photo of Lora as a 'mother in distress' shows no people in the background, but when we see Lora looking for Susie at the start of the film, the boardwalk is packed with people. See more »
Movie Connections Featured in Home Stories (1990). See more »
Soundtracks Imitation of Life See more »
Crazy Credits Juanita Moore, who plays Annie, is billed with the credit "And Presenting Juanita Moore as Annie Johnson", even though she had already appeared in many films. See more »
Quotes [Sarah Jane enters carrying a serving tray on her head]
Sarah Jane: [affected Southern Negro accent] Fetched y'all up a mess 'a crawdads, Miss Lora... fo' you an' yo' friends!
Lora: Well, that's quite a trick, Sarah Jane... where did you learn it?
Sarah Jane: [affected Southern Negro accent] Oh, 'tain't no trick ta' totin', Miss Lora! I learned it from my mammy, an' she learned it from ol' massa, 'fo' she belonged to you...
See more »

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