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The working title of this film was The Jeanne Eagels Story. Although the Daily Variety review notes that the film featured a written disclaimer stating "all events in the photoplay are based on fact and fiction," the viewed print contained no such disclaimer, and the character of "Sal Satori" was fictional. Jeanne Eagels, born June 26, 1894 in Kansas City, MO, appeared in Kansas City pageants, festivals and local stages from the age of seven. She later toured the Midwest with the Dubinsky Brothers Tent Repertoire Company, and in 1911, arrived in New York where she rose to fame in the role of "Sadie Thompson" in Somerset Maugham's Rain. Eagels appeared in five films before dying from an overdose of heroin on October 3, 1929. Eagels died five days after her last film, Jealousy opened in New York. In Jeanne Eagels, the name of her final film was changed from Jealousy to Forever Young. As portrayed in the film, Eagels was suspended by Actors Equity for chronically canceling her performances.
According to a May 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item, Jerry Wald purchased the rights to Eagels' life story while he was vice-president in charge of production at Columbia. After Wald left the studio to become an independent producer, the rights were turned over to him as part of his twelve-picture deal with the studio. According to a December 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item, technical advisors Charles and William Couch originally worked as carnival barkers, and veteran showmen Jimmy Woods and Roy Kabat were hired to assure the authenticity of the carnival sequence. A December 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that Mac Miller was tested for the part of "John Donahue." Although February and May 1957 Hollywood Reporter news items add Billy Griffity and Frank Sully to the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
Although the CBCS lists an actress "Nanette Fabares" as a "teenager," neither actress Nanette Fabray (whose real surname was Fabares), nor her niece Shelley Fabares appeared in the film. A March 1957 Hollywood Reporter news items add that the final theater scene in the film was shot at the shuttered Ritz Theater in Los Angeles. According to December 1956 and January 1957 Hollywood Reporter news items, location shooting was done at the Columbia Ranch in Burbank, CA and at the RKO-Path lot. Joseph Novak, credited as "Patron" in the cast, was the father of star Kim Novak. Although director Frank Borzage and his brother Lew, an assistant director, appeared as the director and assistant director of Eagels' film, in reality they never worked with the actress.