Imitation of Life Official Trailer #1 - Lana Turner Movie (1959) HD
The Scandal: A mobster boyfriend and a homicide.
Already an icon by the late ‘50s, Lana Turner had been both a successful and acclaimed actress, as well as a popular WWII-era pin-up, her face even adorning fighter planes. A career contraction in the middle of the decade gave way to a resurgence that may well have been short-lived. In 1958, the actress was courted by mobster Johnny Stompanato, an enforcer for the Cohen crime family, and began a deeply unhealthy relationship punctuated by abuse, stalking, and violent arguments that generally gave way to reconciliations (this was not a good guy). On April 4, 1958 Stompanato arrived at the home of Turner and her daughter and, determined to separate herself and her daughter from the relationship, Turner tried unsuccessfully to get him to leave. Stompanato became characteristically violent and Turner’s 14-year-old daughter Cheryl stabbed him in the stomach, killing him.
The ensuing trial brought all the ugly details of the relationship to light, and blended in the public’s mind with Turner’s prominent femme fatale roles (conspiracy theories had it that she’s actually stabbed her mobster boyfriend and let her daughter take the fall). Her film released during the period, Another Time, Another Place, tanked. However, she had a mother role in the works—that of struggling single mother Lora Meredith in Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life. The sumptuous tearjerker arrived at just the right time, becoming one of the year’s biggest hits. Turner had foregone a salary in favor of a share in the box office, an arrangement which netted her a small fortune.
Where to stream: Digital rental