Lana Turner And The Scandal
At the heart of the movie, it’s about two strained mother-daughter relationships. And just as Lora and her daughter Susie can’t seem to get along while her mother is skyrocketing to fame, there was scandal between Lana and her own daughter Cheryl Crane that made things tense between them as well. The year before Imitation of Life was filmed, Crane stabbed and killed Turner’s boyfriend Johnny Stompanato. Stompanato was a known bodyguard for mobster Mickey Cohen. According to Crane, he had been beating Turner and because of this, Crane’s stabbing was ruled a justifiable homicide. But the scandal was so great that it affected Turner’s career and her ability to find work, and thus negatively affected the relationship she had with her daughter.
In that same TCM interview, Juanita said that the incident kind of took her spirit away. She noted that she and her daughter weren’t very loving toward one another but Turner did bring Cheryl on the set so she could see what her mother was doing.
Moore also said that during the first day of shooting, they filmed the scene where Annie is dying. In that scene, Turner has to say “Don’t leave me Annie…” During that emotional scene Turner started crying and didn’t stop for three days.
Moore said, “She wasn’t crying about the scene. I don’t think. I think she was crying about frustration, what had happened to her all this time. How hard she had worked to attain what she had attained and it was all going for naught.”
Moore recalled that Turner cried so much during those three days that her face was too swollen to continue filming and the directors sent her home to collect herself.