Ned Glass, who plays the wardrobe man in the cat costume scene, was an active member of the Living Newspaper unit of the Federal Theater project on Broadway during the Depression, an organization accused of being "leftist" and "pro-communist" by many on the political right. When Glass was blacklisted during the McCarthy "Red scare" era, he became a carpenter.
Kirk Douglas stands no more than 5'9" and wears super high lifts that almost distort his walking. If you look closely at him in long shots you can spot the lifts (it's really apparent in Seven Days in May).
Leo G. Carroll's brief appearance as a "demanding" director is a thinly veiled reference to Alfred Hitchcock. When he first came to Hollywood, Hitchcock was under contract to producer David O. Selznick for years. Carroll had roles in many Hitchcock films of this era.
Lana Turner plays an actor whose career started as a movie extra. Turner started her own career as an extra in A Star Is Born.
Douglas landed the lead role after Clark Gable had turned it down.
Scenes in the film were based on the career of producer David O. Selznick.
Sex is mentioned six times throughout the film. While this may not be a big deal today the filmmakers in 1952 had trouble getting the word to make it past the censors.
The photograph of Kirk Douglas' detested studio-head father, which Barry Sullivan straightens on the wall in this MGM film, looks exactly like Jack L. Warner, the head of Warner Bros. - MGM's competitor.
The scene showing the production of the fictional low budget horror film was based on how Val Lewton produced Cat People.
The working title, "Tribute to a Bad Man", was later used as the title of an unrelated MGM feature (Tribute to a Bad Man). One reason for the title change was to add "beautiful", in consideration of the top-billed Lana Turner.
This movie holds the record for most Academy Awards won by a film not nominated for Best Picture, with five.