Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo, born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson, was a Swedish film actress. Garbo was an international star and icon during Hollywood's silent and classic periods. Many of Garbo's films were sensational hits, and all but three of her twenty-four Hollywood films were profitable. Garbo was nominated four times for an Academy Award and received an honorary one in 1954 for her "luminous and unforgettable screen performances".
Greta Garbo's personal information overview.
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Sybil Jason, child star and screen rival to Shirley Temple, dies at 83 - Washington Post
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23 at 83, was a button-nosed, bright-eyed scene stealer who developed a following on the British vaudeville circuit with her comic impressions of Greta Garbo and Maurice Chevalier before drawing Warner's interest in 1935. At the time, Warner Bros
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Pencil This In - Chicagoist
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Before Greta Garbo achieved legendary status as a recluse, she was one of the greats of the silent screen. Tonight's closing film of the Silent Film Society of Chicago's "Silent Summer" film series showcases the starpower Garbo possessed with a
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The Mysterious Lady - Chicago Reader (blog)
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A young army officer in Vienna (Conrad Nagel) buys a ticket to the symphony and finds himself sharing a balcony box with the most beautiful woman who ever lived (that would be Greta Garbo). She isn't what she seems, though, and the hero is pulled into
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Medium Talks Books, Spirits At Queen Mary - Gazette Newspapers
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Kingston, a psychic and medium who said he has been hired by celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, John Wayne, US Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nancy Reagan, Princess Diana and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor,
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Shelter Animal of the Week: See Beautiful Kittens Greta and Garbo -
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Save-a-Pet Animal Rescue Greta and Garbo are two female kittens at Save-a-Pet Animal Rescue in Port Jefferson Station who are just as beautiful as their namesake, Swedish actress Greta Garbo. These kitties are black and white domestic longhairs that
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Sam Smyth: Gay will need an army of Colettes if he throws his hat in the ring - Irish Independent
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But he wasn't doing a Greta Garbo "I want to be alone" star routine -- he is a very practical man and didn't want to be recognised. His walk from Sandymount Green in Dublin to his home nearby would probably have been interrupted at least a dozen times
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Best Bets - Montreal Gazette
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Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Greta Garbo. Three icons from the golden age of cinema are celebrated over the next two weeks at Cinéma du Parc, 3575 Park Ave. Wednesday's screenings include Garbo's Ninotchka (6: 30 pm) and Crawford's Possessed (8: 30
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The only T-shirt an Apple fanboy should be seen in - CNET
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It is garb meeting Greta Garbo. If you don't rush to Cupertino within the next week specifically to buy one of these precious items, how can you possibly call yourself a fanboy? And don't even think of naming your first born "Steve
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Best bets - Montreal Gazette
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(Jordan Zivitz) Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Greta Garbo. Three icons from the golden age of cinema are celebrated over the next two weeks at Cinéma du Parc, 3575 Park Ave. Tuesday's screenings include Crawford's Possessed (6: 30 pm) and Garbo's
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Queen Christina: That Hypersexual Film From The 30s - FemPop
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Queen Christina of Sweden, like Greta Garbo, was a woman who did what she want when she wanted. She didn't care about social contrivances or niceties. If she wanted to wear pants she wore pants. If she wanted to cuddle in bed with
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Breakfast at FIDM - LA Downtown News Online
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Hollywood's greatest stars, from Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth, to a host of modern actresses, have transcended cinematic stardom to become fashion trendsetters. Just consider any awards show: The first thing red-carpet interviewers ask
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'Syliva' Star Tanna Frederick And Dog Garbo - LA Canyon News
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Yes, the dog was named in honor of former film icon Greta Garbo, who was best known for having that exquisite face in the 1920s and '30s movies, which was thanks to Jewish immigrant Max Factor who began his career as the personal makeup artist to the
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TNR Film Classic: Greta Garbo (1932) - The Plank on (blog)
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Since Miss Greta Garbo came to America some years ago, her fame has grown and grown. In her last picture, a Hollywood and rather nursery version of Pirandello's “As You Desire Me,” she has come to the end of her contract and to her highest success;
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Greta Garbo
  • 1990
    Age 84
    Garbo is the subject of several documentaries, including four made in the United States between 1990 and 2005:
    More Details Hide Details She has been praised in the media and by personalities in cinema and culture, including: Ephraim Katz (The Film Encyclopedia: The Complete Guide to Film and the Film Industry): Of all the stars who have ever fired the imaginations of audiences, none has quite projected a magnetism and a mystique equal to Garbo's. "The Divine," the "dream princess of eternity," the "Sarah Bernhardt of films," are only a few of the superlatives writers used in describing her over the years. She played heroines that were at once sensual and pure, superficial and profound, suffering and hopeful, world-weary and life-inspiring. Bette Davis: Her instinct, her mastery over the machine, was pure witchcraft. I cannot analyze this woman's acting. I only know that no one else so effectively worked in front of a camera. Dolores del Río:
    The April 1990 Washington Post obituary said that "at the peak of her popularity she was a virtual cult figure".
    More Details Hide Details Garbo possessed a subtlety and naturalism in her acting that set her apart from other actors and actresses of the period. About her work in silents, film critic Ty Burr said "This was a new kind of actor—not the stage actor who had to play to the far seats but someone who could just look and with her eyes literally go from rage to sorrow in just a close-up." Film historian Jeffrey Vance said that Garbo communicated her characters' innermost feelings through her movement, gestures, and most importantly, her eyes. With the slightest movement of them, he argues, she subtly conveyed complex attitudes and feelings toward other characters and the truth of the situation. She doesn't act," said Camille co-star Rex O’Malley; "she lives her roles." Director Clarence Brown, who made seven of Garbo's pictures, told an interviewer "Garbo has something behind the eyes that you couldn't see until you photographed it in close-up. You could see thought. If she had to look at one person with jealousy, and another with love, she didn't have to change her expression. You could see it in her eyes as she looked from one to the other. And nobody else has been able to do that on screen." Director George Sidney adds "You could call it underplaying but in underplaying she overplayed everyone else."
    Greta Garbo died on 15 April 1990, aged 84, in the hospital, as a result of pneumonia and renal failure.
    More Details Hide Details Daum later claimed that towards the end, she also suffered from gastrointestinal and periodontal ailments. Garbo was cremated in Manhattan, and her ashes were interred in 1999 at Skogskyrkogården Cemetery just south of her native Stockholm. Garbo had invested wisely, primarily in stocks and bonds, and left her entire estate, $32,042,429—$57,000,000 by 2013 rates—to her niece, Gray Reisfield. Garbo was an international superstar during the late silent era and the "Golden Age" of Hollywood and is widely regarded as a cinematic legend. Almost immediately, with the sudden popularity of her first pictures, she became a screen icon. For most of her career, she was the highest paid actor or actress at MGM, making her for many years its "premier prestige star."
    A photograph appeared in the media in early 1990, showing Koger assisting Garbo, who was walking with a cane, into the hospital.
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    The screen tests—the last time Garbo stepped in front of a movie camera—were thought to have been lost for forty-one years until they were rediscovered in 1990 by film historians Leonard Maltin and Jeanine Basinger.
    More Details Hide Details Parts of the footage were included in the 2005 TCM documentary Garbo.
  • 1984
    Age 78
    Garbo was successfully treated for breast cancer in 1984.
    More Details Hide Details Towards the end of her life, only Garbo's closest friends knew she was receiving dialysis treatments for six hours three times a week at The Rogosin Institute in New York Hospital.
  • 1975
    Age 69
    In 1975, she wrote a poem about not being able to touch the hand of her friend with whom she might have been walking through life.
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  • 1971
    Age 65
    In 1971, Garbo vacationed with her close friend Baroness Cécile de Rothschild at her summer home in Southern France.
    More Details Hide Details De Rothschild introduced her to Samuel Adams Green, a well-known art collector and curator in New York, and the two formed an immediate bond. Green, who became an important friend and walking companion, was in the habit of tape-recording all of his telephone calls and, with Garbo's permission, recorded many of his conversations with her. In 1985, Garbo ended the friendship when she was falsely informed that Green had played the tapes to friends. In his last will and testament, Green bequeathed in 2011 all of the tapes, which reveal Garbo's personality in later life, sense of humor, and various eccentricities, to the film archives at Wesleyan University. Although she became increasingly withdrawn in her final years, she had become close over time to her cook and house-keeper, Claire Koger, who worked for her for thirty-one years. "We were very close—like sisters," the reticent Koger said.
  • 1969
    Age 63
    Italian motion picture director Luchino Visconti allegedly attempted to bring Garbo back to the screen in 1969 with a small part, Maria Sophia, Queen of Naples, in his adaptation of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.
    More Details Hide Details He exclaimed: "I am very pleased at the idea that this woman, with her severe and authoritarian presence, should figure in the decadent and rarefied climate of the world described by Proust." Claims that Garbo was interested in the part cannot be substantiated.
  • 1964
    Age 58
    Schlee would split his time between the two, becoming Garbo's close companion and advisor until his death in 1964.
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  • 1963
    Age 57
    On 13 November 1963, Garbo was a dinner guest at the White House.
    More Details Hide Details She spent the night at the Washington, D.C. home of philanthropist Florence Mahoney. Garbo's niece Gray Reisfield told museum specialist James Wagner at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, quoted in a 2000 press release: "Garbo always spoke of it as a magical evening."
  • 1951
    Age 45
    On 9 February 1951, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States and, in 1953, bought a seven-room apartment at 450 East 52nd Street in Manhattan, New York City, where she lived for the rest of her life.
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  • 1949
    Age 43
    In 1949, she was offered the role of fictional silent film star Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.
    More Details Hide Details However, after a meeting with film producer Charles Brackett, she insisted that she had no interest in the part whatsoever. She was offered many roles in the 1940s and throughout her retirement years but she rejected all but a few of them. In the few instances when she accepted, the slightest problem led her to drop out. Although she refused to talk to friends throughout her life about her reasons for retiring, she told Swedish biographer Sven Broman four years before her death "I was tired of Hollywood. I did not like my work. There were many days when I had to force myself to go to the studio... I really wanted to live another life." From the early days of her career, Garbo avoided industry social functions, preferring to spend her time alone or with friends. She never signed autographs or answered fan mail, and rarely gave interviews. Nor did she ever appear at Oscar ceremonies even when she was nominated. Her aversion to publicity and the press was undeniably genuine, and exasperating to the studio at first. In an interview in 1928, she explained that her desire for privacy began when she was a child, stating "as early as I can remember, I have wanted to be alone. I detest crowds, don't like many people." But MGM eventually capitalized on it, for it bolstered the image of the silent and reclusive woman of mystery.
    She made several screen tests, learned the script, and arrived in Rome in the summer of 1949 to shoot the picture.
    More Details Hide Details However, the financing failed to materialize and the project was abandoned.
  • 1948
    Age 42
    Still, Garbo signed a contract in 1948 with producer Walter Wanger, who had produced Queen Christina, to shoot a picture based on Balzac's La Duchesse de Langeais.
    More Details Hide Details Max Ophüls was slated to adapt and direct.
  • 1945
    Age 39
    Salka Viertel, Garbo's close friend and collaborator, said in 1945 "Greta is impatient to work.
    More Details Hide Details But on the other side, she's afraid of it." Garbo also worried about her age. "Time leaves traces on our small faces and bodies. It's not the same anymore, being able to pull it off." George Cukor, director of Two-Faced Woman, and often blamed for its failure, said "People often glibly say that the failure of Two-Faced Woman finished Garbo's career. That's a grotesque oversimplification. It certainly threw her, but I think that what really happened was that she just gave up. She didn’t want to go on."
  • 1942
    Age 36
    She signed a one-picture deal in 1942 to make The Girl from Leningrad but the project quickly dissolved.
    More Details Hide Details She still thought she would continue when the war was over though she was ambivalent and indecisive about returning to the screen.
  • 1941
    Age 35
    In his diary, Erich Maria Remarque discusses a liaison with Garbo in 1941 and in his memoir, Cecil Beaton described an affair with her in 1947 and 1948.
    More Details Hide Details In 1941 she met the Russian-born millionaire, George Schlee, who was introduced to her by his wife, fashion designer Valentina. Nicholas Turner, Garbo's close friend for 33 years, said that, after Garbo bought an apartment in the same building, "Garbo moved in and took Schlee right away from Valentina."
  • 1939
    Age 33
    Ninotchka premiered in October 1939, publicized with the catchphrase "Garbo laughs!", commenting on the departure of Garbo's serious and melancholy image as she transferred to comedy.
    More Details Hide Details Despite the film's critical favoritism and box office success in the United States and abroad, it was banned in the Soviet Union and its satellites. With George Cukor's Two-Faced Woman (1941), MGM attempted to capitalize on Garbo's success in Ninotchka by casting her in a romantic comedy which sought to portray her as a chic, modern woman. She played a "double" role that featured her dancing the rumba, swimming, and skiing. The film was a critical failure, but, contrary to popular belief, performed reasonably well at the box office. Garbo referred to the film as "my grave." Two-Faced Woman was her last film; she was thirty-six and had made twenty-eight feature films in sixteen years. Although Garbo was humiliated by the negative reviews of Two-Faced Woman, she did not at first intend to retire. But her films depended on the European market and when it fell through with the war, finding a vehicle was problematic for MGM.
  • 1938
    Age 32
    On 3 May 1938, Garbo was among the many stars—including Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Luise Rainer, Katharine Hepburn, Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Fred Astaire, Dolores del Río and others—dubbed to be "Box Office Poison" in an article published by Harry Brandt on behalf of the Independent Theatre Owners of America.
    More Details Hide Details After the box office failure of Conquest, MGM decided a change of pace was needed to resurrect her declining popularity. For her next movie, the studio teamed her with producer-director Ernst Lubitsch to film Ninotchka, her first comedy. The film was one of the first Hollywood movies which, under the cover of a satirical, light romance, depicted the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin as being rigid and gray when compared to its prewar years.
    Garbo's career soon declined, however, and she was one of the many stars labeled "Box Office Poison" in 1938.
    More Details Hide Details Her career revived upon her turn to comedy in Ninotchka (1939), which earned her a third Academy Award nomination, but after the failure of Two-Faced Woman (1941), she retired from the screen, at the age of 35, after acting in twenty-eight films. From then on, Garbo declined all opportunities to return to the screen. Shunning publicity, she began a private life, and neither married nor had children. Garbo also became an art collector in her later life; her collection, including works from painters such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pierre Bonnard, and Kees van Dongen, was worth millions of dollars when she died. Greta Lovisa Gustafsson was born in Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden. She was the third and youngest child of Anna Lovisa (née Karlsson, 1872–1944)—a housewife who later worked at a jam factory—and Karl Alfred Gustafsson (1871–1920), a laborer. Garbo had an older brother, Sven Alfred (1898–1967), and an older sister, Alva Maria (1903–1926).
  • 1937
    Age 31
    It was MGM's biggest and most-publicized movie of 1937, but upon its release, it lost more than $1 million at the box office, becoming one of the studio's biggest failures of the decade.
    More Details Hide Details Garbo's popularity had considerably dropped, and when her contract expired soon thereafter, she returned briefly to Sweden.
  • 1936
    Age 30
    When the film premiered in New York on 12 December 1936, it became an international success, Garbo's first major success in three years.
    More Details Hide Details She won a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress award for her performance, and she was again nominated for an Academy Award. Garbo's follow-up project was Clarence Brown's lavish production of Conquest (1937) opposite Charles Boyer. The plot was the dramatized romance between Napoleon and Marie Walewska.
  • 1935
    Age 29
    In 1935, David O. Selznick wanted to cast her as the dying heiress in Dark Victory, but Garbo chose Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina (1935) in which she played another of her renowned roles.
    More Details Hide Details Her critically acclaimed performance won her the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress. The film was internationally successful and did better than MGM expected domestically. Still, its profit was significantly diminished because of her exorbitant salary. Garbo selected George Cukor's romantic drama Camille (1936) as her next project. Thalberg cast her opposite talents Robert Taylor and former co-star, Lionel Barrymore. Cukor carefully crafted Garbo's portrayal of Marguerite Gatier, a lower-class woman, who becomes the world-renowned mistress Camille. Production was marred, however, by the sudden death of Thalberg, then only thirty-seven, which plunged the Hollywood studios into a "state of profound shock," writes David Bret. Garbo had grown close to Thalberg and his wife, Norma Shearer, and had often dropped by their house unannounced. Her grief for Thalberg, some believe, was more profound than for John Gilbert, who died earlier that same year. His death also added to the sombre mood required for the closing scenes of Camille.
  • 1933
    Age 27
    Although her domestic popularity was undiminished in the early 1930s, high profits for Garbo's films after Queen Christina in 1933 depended on the foreign market for their success.
    More Details Hide Details The type of historical and melodramatic films she began to make on the advice of Viertel were highly successful abroad but considerably less so in the United States. In the midst of the Great Depression, American screen audiences seemed to favor "home-grown" screen couples, such as Clark Gable and Jean Harlow.
    Publicized as "Garbo returns", the film premiered in December 1933 to critical acclaim and box office triumph and became the highest-grossing film of the year.
    More Details Hide Details The movie, however, met with controversy upon its release; censors objected to the scenes in which Garbo disguised herself as a man and kissed a female co-star.
  • 1931
    Age 25
    Both films had been MGM's highest-earning films of 1931 and 1932, respectively, and Garbo was dubbed "the greatest money-making machine ever put on screen."
    More Details Hide Details Garbo's close friend Mercedes de Acosta then penned a screenplay for her to portray Joan of Arc but producers rebuffed the idea and the film was shelved. After appearing in As You Desire Me (1932), the first of three Garbo films which co-starred Melvyn Douglas, Garbo's MGM contract expired and she returned to Sweden. After nearly a year of negotiations, Garbo agreed to renew her contract with MGM on the condition she would star in Queen Christina and her salary would be increased to $300,000 per film. The film's screenplay had been written by Viertel, and although MGM had been reluctant to make the movie, they relented at Garbo's insistence. For her leading man, MGM suggested Charles Boyer or Laurence Olivier, but Garbo rejected both, preferring her former co-star and lover, John Gilbert. The studio balked at the idea of casting Gilbert, fearing his declining popularity would hurt the film's profits, but Garbo prevailed. Queen Christina was a lavish production, becoming one of the studio's biggest productions at the time.
    Garbo followed with two of her most famous roles. In 1931, she played the World War I German spy in the lavish production of Mata Hari, opposite Ramón Novarro.
    More Details Hide Details When the film was released, it "caused panic with police reserves required to keep the waiting mob in order." The following year, she played a Russian ballerina in Grand Hotel (1932), opposite an ensemble cast, including John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, and Wallace Beery among others. The film won that year's Academy Award for Best Picture.
  • 1930
    Age 24
    Although the films did not match Garbo's success with her sound debut, she was ranked as the most-popular female star in the United States in 1930 and 1931.
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    After filming ended, Garbo—along with a different director and cast—filmed a German-language version of Anna Christie that was released in December 1930.
    More Details Hide Details The film's success certified Garbo's successful transition to talkies. In her follow-up film, Romance (1930), she portrayed an Italian opera star opposite Lewis Stone. She was paired opposite Robert Montgomery in Inspiration (1931), and her popularity was used to boost the career of the relatively unknown Clark Gable in Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise) (1931).
    The film premiered in New York City on 21 February 1930 publicized with the catchphrase "Garbo talks!", and was the highest-grossing film of the year.
    More Details Hide Details Garbo received her first Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for her performance, although she lost to MGM colleague Norma Shearer. Her nomination that year included her performance in Romance (1930).
  • 1929
    Age 23
    In late 1929, MGM cast Garbo in Anna Christie (1930), a film adaptation of the 1922 play by Eugene O'Neill, her first speaking role.
    More Details Hide Details The screenplay was adapted by Frances Marion and the film was produced by Irving Thalberg and Paul Bern. Sixteen minutes into the film, she famously utters her first line, "Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on the side, and don't be stingy, baby."
  • 1928
    Age 22
    Profits from her third movie with Gilbert, A Woman of Affairs (1928), catapulted her to top Metro star of the 1928 - 29 box office season, usurping the long-reigned silent queen Lillian Gish.
    More Details Hide Details In 1929, reviewer Pierre de Rohan wrote in the New York Telegraph: "She has a glamour and fascination for both sexes which have never been equaled on the screen." The impact of Garbo's acting and screen presence quickly established her reputation as one of Hollywood's greatest actresses. Film historian and critic David Denby argues that Garbo introduced a subtlety of expression to the art of silent acting and that its effect on audiences cannot be exaggerated. She "lowers her head to look calculating or flutters her lips," he says. "Her face darkens with a slight tightening around the eyes and mouth; she registers a passing idea with a contraction of her brows or a drooping of her lids. Worlds turned on her movements." During this period, Garbo began to require unusual conditions during the shooting of her scenes. She prohibited visitors—including the studio brass—from her sets and demanded that black flats or screens surround her to prevent extras and technicians from watching her. When asked about these eccentric requirements, she said "If I am by myself, my face will do things I cannot do with it otherwise."
  • 1927
    Age 21
    Recent biographers and others believe that Garbo was bisexual or lesbian, and that she had intimate relationships with women as well as with men. In 1927 Garbo was introduced to stage and screen actress Lilyan Tashman and they may have had an affair, according to some writers.
    More Details Hide Details Silent film star Louise Brooks stated that she and Garbo had a brief liaison the following year. In 1931, Garbo befriended the writer and acknowledged lesbian Mercedes de Acosta, introduced to her by her close friend, Salka Viertel, and, according to Garbo's and de Acosta's biographers, began a sporadic and volatile romance. The two remained friends—with ups and downs—for almost thirty years during which time Garbo wrote de Acosta 181 letters, cards, and telegrams which are kept at the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia. Garbo's family, which controls her estate, has made only 87 of them available to the public. In 2005 Mimi Pollak's estate released sixty letters Garbo had written her in their long correspondence. Several letters suggest she may have had romantic feelings for Pollak for many years. After learning of Pollak's pregnancy in 1930, for example, Garbo wrote "We cannot help our nature, as God has created it. But I have always thought you and I belonged together".
  • 1926
    Age 20
    Reshooting The Temptress was expensive and even though it became one of the top-grossing films of the 1926–27 season, it was the only Garbo film of the period to lose money.
    More Details Hide Details However, Garbo received rave reviews and MGM had a new star. After her lightning ascent, Garbo went on to make eight more silent films and all were hits. She starred in three of them with popular leading man John Gilbert. About their first movie, Flesh and the Devil (1926), silent film expert Kevin Brownlow states that "she gave a more erotic performance than Hollywood had ever seen." Their on-screen chemistry soon translated into an off-camera romance and by the end of the production, they began living together. The film also marked a turning point in Garbo's career. Vieira wrote: "Audiences were mesmerized by her beauty and titillated by her love scenes with Gilbert. She was a sensation."
  • 1925
    Age 19
    Both Garbo and Stiller arrived in New York in July 1925 after a ten-day trip on the SS Drottningholm.
    More Details Hide Details However, they remained in New York for over six months without any word from MGM. They chose to go Los Angeles on their own, but another five weeks passed with no contacts from the studio. Now on the verge of returning to Sweden, she wrote to her boyfriend back home: "You're quite right when you think I don't feel at home here... Oh you lovely little Sweden, I promise that when I return to you my sad face will smile as never before." A Swedish friend in Los Angeles decided to help her by contacting MGM producer Irving Thalberg, who agreed to give her a screen test. According to author Frederick Sands, "the result of the test was electrifying. Thalberg was impressed and began grooming the young actress the following day, arranging to fix her teeth, making sure she lost weight, and giving her English lessons."
    In 1925, Garbo, then twenty and unable to speak English, was brought over from Sweden at the request of Mayer.
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    She followed her role in Gösta Berling with a starring role in the 1925 German film Die freudlose Gasse (Joyless Street or The Street of Sorrow), directed by G. W. Pabst and co-starring Asta Nielsen.
    More Details Hide Details Accounts differ on the circumstances of her first contract with Louis B. Mayer, at that time vice president and general manager of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Victor Seastrom, a respected Swedish director at MGM, was a good friend of Stiller and encouraged Mayer to meet him on a trip to Berlin. There are two recent versions of what happened next. In one, Mayer, always looking for new talent, had done his research and was interested in Stiller. He made an offer but Stiller demanded that Garbo be part of any contract, convinced that she would be an asset to his career. Mayer balked, but eventually agreed to a private viewing of Gösta Berling. He was immediately struck by Garbo's magnetism and became more interested in her than in Stiller. "It was her eyes," his daughter recalled him saying; "I can make a star out of her." In the second version, Mayer had already seen Gösta Berling before his Berlin trip and Garbo, not Stiller, was his primary interest. On the way to the screening, Mayer said to his daughter "This director is wonderful but what we really ought to look at is the girl. The girl, look at the girl!" After the screening, his daughter reported, he was unwavering: "I'll take her without him. I'll take her with him. Number one is the girl."
  • 1924
    Age 18
    She was recruited in 1924 by the prominent Swedish director Mauritz Stiller to play a principal part in his classic film The Saga of Gösta Berling, a dramatization of the famous novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf.
    More Details Hide Details She played opposite Lars Hanson, a well-known Swedish actor. Stiller became her mentor, training her as a film actress and managing all aspects of her nascent career.
  • 1922
    Age 16
    In 1922, Garbo caught the attention of director Erik Arthur Petschler who gave her a part in his short comedy, Peter the Tramp.
    More Details Hide Details From 1922 to 1924, she studied at the Royal Dramatic Theatre's Acting School in Stockholm.
  • 1920
    Age 14
    Her first commercial premiered on 12 December 1920 and was followed by others the following year.
    More Details Hide Details Thus began Garbo's cinematic career.
    In late 1920, a director of film commercials for the store began casting Garbo in roles advertising women's clothing.
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  • 1919
    Age 13
    In the winter of 1919, the Spanish flu spread throughout Stockholm and Garbo's father, to whom she was very close, became ill.
    More Details Hide Details He began missing work and eventually lost his job. Garbo stayed at home looking after him and taking him to the hospital for weekly treatments. He died in 1920 when she was 14 years old. Garbo first worked as a soap-lather girl in a barber's shop but eventually, on the advice of her friends, applied for, and accepted, a position in the PUB department store running errands and working in the millinery department. Before long, she began modeling hats for the store's catalogues which led to a more lucrative job as a fashion model.
  • 1905
    Born on September 18, 1905.
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