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Imitation of Life Details


This glamorized remake of the 1934 film Imitation of Life bears only a passing resemblance to its source, the best-selling novel by Fannie Hurst. Originally, the heroine was a widowed mother who kept the wolf from the door by setting up a successful pancake business with her black housemaid. In the remake, Lana Turner stars as a would-be actress who is raising her daughter on her own. She chances to meet another single mother at the beach: African-American Juanita Moore. Moore goes to work as Turner's housekeeper, bringing her light-skinned daughter along. As Turner's stage career goes into high gear, Moore is saddled with the responsibility of raising both Turner's daughter and her own. Exposed to the advantages of the white world, Moore's grown-up daughter (Susan Kohner) passes for white, causing her mother a great deal of heartache. Meanwhile, Turner's grown daughter (Sandra Dee), neglected by her mother, seeks comfort in the arms of handsome photographer John Gavin. When Moore dies, her daughter realizes how selfish she's been; simultaneously, Turner awakens to the fact that she hasn't been much of a mother for her own daughter, whose romance has gone down the tubes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:June 27, 1960


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Juanita Moore Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1959 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Juanita Moore Best Supporting Actress 1959 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Susan Kohner Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1959 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Susan Kohner Best Supporting Actress 1959 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Douglas Sirk Best Director 1959 Nominee


Lana Turner
as Lora Meredith
John Gavin
as Steve Archer
Juanita Moore
as Annie Johnson
Sandra Dee
as Susie (older)
Dan O'Herlihy
as David Edwards
Robert Alda
as Allen Loomis
Susan Kohner
as Sara Jane (older)
Mahalia Jackson
as Herself
Terry Burnham
as Susie Meredith, at 6
John Vivyan
as Young Man
Lee Goodman
as Photographer
Ann Robinson
as Show Girl
Troy Donahue
as Frankie
Sandra Gould
as Receptionist
Joel Fluellen
as Minister
Jack Weston
as Stage Manager
Billy House
as Fat Man
Maida Severn
as Teacher
Than Wyenn
as Romano
Peg Shirley
as Fay
Myrna Fahey
as Actress
Bess Flowers
as Geraldine Moore
Eddie Parker
as Policeman
Napoleon Whiting
as Kenneth
David Tomack
as Burly Man
Myrna Fahey
as Actress
David Tomack
as Burly Man
Napoleon Whiting
as Kenneth
Eddie Parker
as Policeman
Bess Flowers
as Geraldine Moore


Douglas Sirk
Ross Hunter
Fannie Hurst
Book Author
Russell Metty
Frederick Herbert
Sammy Fain
Arnold Hughes
Paul Francis Webster
Frank Skinner
Composer (Music Score)
Henry Mancini
Composer (Music Score)
Joseph E. Gershenson
Musical Direction/Supervision
Alexander Golitzen
Art Director
Julia Heron
Set Designer
Jean Louis
Costume Designer
Clifford Stine
Special Effects