Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Her favorite American director was Ernst Lubitsch, although Clarence Brown, directed her in six films, including the classics Flesh and the Devil (1926), A Woman of Affairs (1928), Anna Christie (1930), and Anna Karenina (1935).

Her first "talkie" film was Anna Christie (1930).

Her first film appearance ever was in a short advertising film that ran in local theaters in Stockholm.

Her greatest confidante was Salka Viertel, a German friend who had known her back in Sweden. Viertel proved to be very manipulative of her, including relationships (particularly with that of Mercedes de Acosta), film choices and general living. It was Viertel, in fact, who persuaded her not to return to films. Ironically, Viertel was friendly with Marlene Dietrich, Garbo's enemy, whom Salka had known back in Germany's Weimer Republic, and she had a lot of dirt on Dietrich's deepest secrets and past. Garbo's film choices were largely determined by Salka's persuasion; they co-starred in the German version of Anna Christie (1930), and shortly after that Garbo insisted that Salka be placed on the MGM payroll as a writer for her films.

Her parents were Karl and Anna Gustafson, and she also had an older sister and brother, Alva Garbo and Sven Garbo. Her father died when she was 14 of nephritis, and her sister was also dead of lymphatic cancer by the time Greta was 21 years old.

Her performance as Ninotchka in Ninotchka (1939) is ranked #25 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).

Her performance as Ninotchka in Ninotchka (1939) is ranked #53 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

Her personal favourite movie of her own was Camille (1936).

Her volatile mentor/director Mauritz Stiller, who brought her to Hollywood, was abruptly fired from directing her second MGM Hollywood film, The Temptress (1926), after repeated arguments with MGM execs. Unable to hold a job in Hollywood, he returned to Sweden in 1928 and died shortly after at the age of 45. Garbo was devastated.

In Italy, her first films (like Mata Hari (1931) and Grand Hotel (1932)) were dubbed by Francesca Braggiotti. Because Braggiotti had been living in the United States for many years and had a slight American accent, the Italian public didn't really accept her voice so the very Italian Tina Lattanzi was chosen as Garbo's official Italian voice instead (she even re-dubbed Mata Hari (1931)). For her last two films Ninotchka (1939) and Two-Faced Woman (1941), she was dubbed by Andreina Pagnani. When some of Garbo films were re-released in Italy in the 1960's, they were re-dubbed once more. This is how stage actress Anna Proclemer lent her voice to the divine Garbo.

In late 1934, after Queen Christina (1933) and The Painted Veil (1934), which were both huge hits in Europe (making twice their budget in the UK alone) but underwhelming US successes, Garbo signed a contract with MGM saying that she would only make films under David O. Selznick and Irving Thalberg. Her next two films, Anna Karenina (1935) and Camille (1936), were notable hits at the US box office, and produced by Selznick and Thalberg respectively. In 1937 her contract had to be revised, as Selznick left the studio in 1935 and Thalberg had died. She made only three films after "Camille".

In September 2005, the United States Postal Service and Swedish Posten jointly issued two commemorative stamps bearing Greta Garbo's likeness.

In the mid-1950s she bought a seven-room-apartment in New York City (450 East 52nd Street) and lived there until she died.

Interred at Skogskyrkogården Cemetery, Stockholm, Sweden.

Is one of the many movie stars mentioned in Madonna's song "Vogue"

Is portrayed by Kristina Wayborn in The Silent Lovers (1980) (TV)

Left John Gilbert standing at the altar in 1927 when she got cold feet about marrying him.

Letters and correspondence between Garbo and poet, socialite and notorious lesbian Mercedes de Acosta were unsealed on April 15, 2000, exactly 10 years after Garbo's death (per De Acosta's instructions). The letters revealed no love affair between the two, as had been rumored.

Lived the last few years of her life in absolute seclusion.

Madonna's hit "Vogue" paid tribute to Greta Garbo in the song's rap section: "Vogue, vogue / Beauty's where you find it / Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe". The song was released on March 20, 1990 less than a month before Garbo's death.