Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Gary Cooper was reportedly one of her favorite actors. She requested him for several of her films, but nothing ever materialized.

1951: Became a US citizen.

A photograph of Greta Garbo, probably cut from a movie magazine, was one of several images of movie stars, royalty, pieces of art, and family members used as decoration by Anne Frank on the wall of her room in the "Secret Annex" in Amsterdam where she and her family hid from July 1942 until their capture by the Nazis in August 1944.

According to her friend, producer William Frye, he offered Garbo one million dollars to star as the Mother Superior in his film The Trouble with Angels (1966). When she declined, he cast Rosalind Russell in the part - at a much lower salary.

Although it was believed that Garbo lived as an invalid in her post-Hollywood career, this is incorrect. She was a real jet setter, traveling with international tycoons and socialites. In the 1970s she traveled less and grew more and more eccentric, although she still took daily walks through Central Park with close friends and walkers. Due to failing health in the late 1980s, her mobility was challenged. In her final year it was her family that cared for her, including taking her to dialysis treatments. She died with them by her side.

Aunt of Gray Reisfield (daughter of Sven Gustafson).

Before making it big, she worked as a soap-latherer in a barber's shop back in Sweden.

Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 316-319. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.

During filming, whenever there was something going on that wasn't to her liking she would simply say "I think I'll go back to Sweden!" which frightened the studio heads so much that they gave in to her every whim.

Except at the very beginning of her career, she granted no interviews, signed no autographs, attended no premieres, and answered no fan mail.

Garbo actually hoped to return to films after the war but, for whatever reason, no projects ever materialized.

Garbo was criticized for not aiding the Allies during WWII, but it was later disclosed that she had helped Britain by identifying influential Nazi sympathizers in Stockholm and by providing introductions and carrying messsages for British agents.

Garbo was prone to chronic depression and spent many years attacking it through Eastern philosophy and a solid health food regiment. However, she never gave up smoking and cocktails.

Garbo, according to movie director Jacques Feyder: "At 9 o'clock a.m. the work may begin. "Tell Mrs. Garbo we're ready" says the director. "I'm here" a low voice answers, and she appears, perfectly dressed and combed as the scene needs. Nobody could say by what door she came but she's there. And at 6 o'clock PM, even if the shot could be finished in five minutes, she points at the watch and goes away giving you a sorry smile. She's very strict with herself and hardly pleased with her work. She never looks rushes nor goes to the premières but some days later, early in the afternoon, enters all alone an outskirts movie house, takes place in a cheap seat and gets out only when the projection finishes, masked with her sunglasses".

Garbo's sets were closed to all visitors and sometimes even the director! When asked why, she said: "During these scenes I allow only the cameraman and lighting man on the set. The director goes out for a coffee or a milkshake. When people are watching, I'm just a woman making faces for the camera. It destroys the illusion. If I am by myself, my face will do things I cannot do with it otherwise."

Grandaunt of Derek Reisfield and Scott Reisfield, children of Gray Reisfield and Donald Reisfield.

Great Garbo is caricaturized in a Merrie Melodies short cartoon called Hollywood Steps Out directed by Tex Avery (Warner Brothers 1941). The action takes place in the famed Ciro's nightclub where the Hollywood stars are having dinner. Garbo is a cigarett girl selling "cigars, cigarettes, butts." Garbo was also caricatured in other cartoons including: I've got to Sing a Torch Song (1933), Porky's Road Race (1937) and Porky's Five and Ten (1938)

Greta Garbo is among the actors and actresses who successfully made the transition to talkies; publicized with the slogan "Garbo Talks!" her voice was first heard on screen in Anna Christie (1930), a film adaptation of the 1922 play by Eugene O'Neill.

Greta Garbo is caricaturized in the Walt Disney 1938 animated short, Mother Goose Goes Hollywood which featured parodies of Mother Goose nursery rhymes and caricatures of Hollywood celebrities from the 1930s. The nursery rhyme, See Saw Margery Daw, is performed by Edward G. Robinson and Greta Garbo on a seesaw. Garbo says: "I want so much to be alone", to which Robinson replies: "O.K., babe, you asked for it!". He leaves and Garbo falls off the see saw. Garbo's character also 'appears' in other Disney cartoons including Mickey's Polo Team (1936) and Mother Goose Goes Hollywood (1938).

Greta Garbo was awarded an Academy Honorary Award "for her unforgettable screen performances" in 1954. She did not show up at the ceremony, and the statuette was mailed to her home address.