- Mildred Pierce – middle class mother of two
- Bert Pierce – Mildred's first, and later third, husband
- Moire ("Ray") Pierce, Mildred's younger daughter
- Veda Pierce – Mildred's elder daughter
- Wally Burgan – Bert's former business partner
- Monty Beragon – wealthy playboy; Mildred's lover and later second husband
- Lucy Gessler – Mildred's friend
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