Best photos ( Greta Garbo )

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Birth information

18 September 1905 Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden

Death information

15 April 1990 New York City, New York, USA

Given Name

Greta Lovisa Gustafsson

Nickname

The Face
The Swedish Sphinx
Garbo
La Divina

How tall is Greta Garbo?

1.7 m

Life Story of Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905, in Stockholm, Sweden, to Anna Lovisa (Johansdotter), who worked at a jam factory, and Karl Alfred Gustafsson, a laborer. She was fourteen when her father died, which left the family destitute. Greta was forced to leave school and go to work in a department store. The store used her as a model in its newspaper ads. She had no film aspirations until she appeared in short advertising film at that same department store while she was still a teenager. Erik A. Petschler, a comedy director, saw the film and gave her a small part in his Peter, der Vagabund (1922). Encouraged by her own performance, she applied for and won a scholarship to a Swedish drama school. While there she appeared in at least one film, En lyckoriddare (1921). Both were small parts, but it was a start. Finally famed Swedish director Mauritz Stiller pulled her from the drama school for the lead role in The Saga of Gösta Berling (1924). At 18 Greta was on a roll.

Following The Joyless Street (1925) both Greta and Stiller were offered contracts with MGM, and her first film for the studio was the American-made Torrent (1926), a silent...

Significant features of Greta Garbo

Enigmatic personality

How much money has Greta Garbo earned?

Torrent (1926) $400 /week
Flesh and the Devil (1926) $600 /week
Love (1927) $5,000 /week
Love (1927) $2,000 per week
Anna Christie (1930) $250,000
Inspiration (1931) ...

Publications and Magazines about Greta Garbo

Hugo Vickers Loving Garbo: The Story of Greta Garbo, Cecil Beaton, and Mercedes de Acosta. 1994
Jean des Vallieres Greta Garbo. 1932
John Bainbridge Garbo. 1971
Hans-Joachim Schlamp Die Partner der Greta Garbo. 1938
Richard Corliss Greta Garbo (A Pyramid Illustrated History of the Movies). 1974
Raymond Daum Walking With Garbo: Conversations and Recollections. 1991
Raymond Durgnan, John Kobal Greta Garbo. 1967
R. Payne The Great Garbo. 1973
Mark Ricci, Michael Conway, DionMcGregor The Films of Greta Garbo. 1983
F. Billquist Garbo: A Biography. 1960
Karen Swenson Greta Garbo: A Life Apart. 1997
Mark A. Vieira Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy. 2005
French Film Press Greta Garbo. 1936
Jean Lacouture Greta Garbo, la dame aux caméras. 1999
Antoni Gronowicz Garbo--Her Story`. 1990
Colin Shindler Garbo & Gilbert in Love: Hollywood's First Great Celebrity Couple. 2007
Sven Broman Conversations with Greta Garbo. 1992
Stefania Ricci Greta Garbo: The Mystery of Style. 2014
Norman Ziebold Garbo. 1969

Biographical movies about Greta Garbo

The Silent Lovers 1980
Greta Garbo: A Lone Star 2001
Garbo 2005

What movies did Greta Garbo play or participate?

Actors Filmography
Two-Faced Woman (1941) Karin Blake, Ninotchka (1939) Nina Ivanovna Yakushova aka Ninotchka, Conquest (1937) Countess Marie Walewska, Camille (1936) Marguerite Gautier, Anna Karenina (1935) Anna Karenina, The Painted Veil (1934) Katrin, Queen Christina (1933) Christina, As You Desire Me (1932) Zara aka Maria, Grand Hotel (1932) Grusinskaya, Mata Hari (1931) Mata Hari, Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise) (1931) Helga aka Susan Lenox, Inspiration (1931) Yvonne Valbret, Anna Christie (1930) Anna Christie, Romance (1930) Rita Cavallini, Anna Christie (1930) Anna...

Birth information

18 September 1905 Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden

Death information

15 April 1990 New York City, New York, USA

Given Name

Greta Lovisa Gustafsson

Nickname

The Face
The Swedish Sphinx
Garbo
La Divina

How tall is Greta Garbo?

1.7 m

Life Story of Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905, in Stockholm, Sweden, to Anna Lovisa (Johansdotter), who worked at a jam factory, and Karl Alfred Gustafsson, a laborer. She was fourteen when her father died, which left the family destitute. Greta was forced to leave school and go to work in a department store. The store used her as a model in its newspaper ads. She had no film aspirations until she appeared in short advertising film at that same department store while she was still a teenager. Erik A. Petschler, a comedy director, saw the film and gave her a small part in his Peter, der Vagabund (1922). Encouraged by her own performance, she applied for and won a scholarship to a Swedish drama school. While there she appeared in at least one film, En lyckoriddare (1921). Both were small parts, but it was a start. Finally famed Swedish director Mauritz Stiller pulled her from the drama school for the lead role in The Saga of Gösta Berling (1924). At 18 Greta was on a roll.

Following The Joyless Street (1925) both Greta and Stiller were offered contracts with MGM, and her first film for the studio was the American-made Torrent (1926), a silent...

Significant features of Greta Garbo

Enigmatic personality

How much money has Greta Garbo earned?

Torrent (1926) $400 /week
Flesh and the Devil (1926) $600 /week
Love (1927) $5,000 /week
Love (1927) $2,000 per week
Anna Christie (1930) $250,000
Inspiration (1931) ...

Publications and Magazines about Greta Garbo

Hugo Vickers Loving Garbo: The Story of Greta Garbo, Cecil Beaton, and Mercedes de Acosta. 1994
Jean des Vallieres Greta Garbo. 1932
John Bainbridge Garbo. 1971
Hans-Joachim Schlamp Die Partner der Greta Garbo. 1938
Richard Corliss Greta Garbo (A Pyramid Illustrated History of the Movies). 1974
Raymond Daum Walking With Garbo: Conversations and Recollections. 1991
Raymond Durgnan, John Kobal Greta Garbo. 1967
R. Payne The Great Garbo. 1973
Mark Ricci, Michael Conway, DionMcGregor The Films of Greta Garbo. 1983
F. Billquist Garbo: A Biography. 1960
Karen Swenson Greta Garbo: A Life Apart. 1997
Mark A. Vieira Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy. 2005
French Film Press Greta Garbo. 1936
Jean Lacouture Greta Garbo, la dame aux caméras. 1999
Antoni Gronowicz Garbo--Her Story`. 1990
Colin Shindler Garbo & Gilbert in Love: Hollywood's First Great Celebrity Couple. 2007
Sven Broman Conversations with Greta Garbo. 1992
Stefania Ricci Greta Garbo: The Mystery of Style. 2014
Norman Ziebold Garbo. 1969

Biographical movies about Greta Garbo

The Silent Lovers 1980
Greta Garbo: A Lone Star 2001
Garbo 2005

What movies did Greta Garbo play or participate?

Actors Filmography
Two-Faced Woman (1941) Karin Blake, Ninotchka (1939) Nina Ivanovna Yakushova aka Ninotchka, Conquest (1937) Countess Marie Walewska, Camille (1936) Marguerite Gautier, Anna Karenina (1935) Anna Karenina, The Painted Veil (1934) Katrin, Queen Christina (1933) Christina, As You Desire Me (1932) Zara aka Maria, Grand Hotel (1932) Grusinskaya, Mata Hari (1931) Mata Hari, Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise) (1931) Helga aka Susan Lenox, Inspiration (1931) Yvonne Valbret, Anna Christie (1930) Anna Christie, Romance (1930) Rita Cavallini, Anna Christie (1930) Anna...

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Greta Garbo and Lewis Stone in Wilde Orchideen (1929)

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

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Greta Garbo, Johnny Mack Brown, and Lowell Sherman in Das göttliche Weib (1928)

In October of 1997 she was ranked #38 in "Empire" (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.

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Greta Garbo and Lars Hanson in Das göttliche Weib (1928)

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

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Lionel Barrymore and Greta Garbo in Die Kameliendame (1936)

Director Jacques Feyder recalled working with her: "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 at rushes nor goes to the premieres 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".

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Greta Garbo and Ramon Novarro in Mata Hari (1931)

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

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Greta Garbo and Robert Montgomery in Yvonne (1931)

Her personal favorite of all her movies was Camille (1936).

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Greta Garbo, John Miljan, Lewis Stone, and Richard Tucker in Yvonne (1931)

She disliked Clark Gable, a feeling that was mutual. She thought his acting was wooden while he considered her a snob.

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Greta Garbo in Anna Christie (1930)

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

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Greta Garbo and Owen Moore in Wie du mich wünschst (1932)

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

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Greta Garbo and George Brent in Der bunte Schleier (1934)

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.

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Greta Garbo, Albert Conti, and Roland Varno in Wie du mich wünschst (1932)

In the mid-'50s she bought a seven-room apartment in New York City (450 East 52nd St.) and lived there until she died.

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Greta Garbo, C. Aubrey Smith, and Elizabeth Young in Königin Christine (1933)

Became a US citizen in 1951.

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Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas in Ninotschka (1939)

She 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 messages for British agents.

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Charles Boyer and Greta Garbo in Maria Walewska (1937)

She was prone to chronic depression and spent many years trying to "cure" it through Eastern philosophy and a solid health food regimen. However, she never gave up smoking and cocktails.

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Greta Garbo and Lewis Stone in Königin Christine (1933)

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

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Greta Garbo in Wie du mich wünschst (1932)

She was as secretive about her relatives as she was about herself and, upon her death, the names of her survivors could not immediately be determined.

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Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas in Wie du mich wünschst (1932)

Never married, she invested wisely and was known for her extreme frugality.

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John Barrymore and Greta Garbo in Menschen im Hotel (1932)

Related to Anna Sundstrand of the Swedish pop group Play.

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John Barrymore and Greta Garbo in Menschen im Hotel (1932)

Although it was believed that she 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. In the late 1980s failing health decreased her mobility. 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.

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Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, and John Miljan in Helgas Fall und Aufstieg (1931)

Popularized trench coats and berets in the 1930s.

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Clark Gable and Greta Garbo in Helgas Fall und Aufstieg (1931)

According to her friend, producer William Frye, he offered Garbo $1 million 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.

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Greta Garbo and Nils Asther in Unsichtbare Fesseln (1929)

She was voted the 25th Greatest Movie Star of all time by "Entertainment Weekly".

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Greta Garbo and Antonio Moreno in Totentanz der Liebe (1926)

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).

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Greta Garbo and Ricardo Cortez in Fluten der Leidenschaft (1926)

Was named #5 Actress on The American Film Institute's 50 Greatest Screen Legends.

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Greta Garbo and Charles Bickford in Anna Christie (1930)

Spanish sculptor Pablo Gargallo created three pieces based on her: "Masque de Greta Garbo à la mèche," "Tête de Greta Garbo avec chapeau," and "Masque de Greta Garbo aux cils".

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Greta Garbo in Romanze (1930)

Pictured on a 37¢ USA commemorative postage stamp issued 23 September 2005, five days after her 100th birthday. On the same day, Sweden issued a 10kr stamp with the same design. The likeness on the stamps was based on a photograph taken during the filming of As You Desire Me (1932).

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Clark Gable and Greta Garbo in Helgas Fall und Aufstieg (1931)

Once lived in the famed Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles (8221 Sunset Boulevard).

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Greta Garbo and Herbert Marshall in Der bunte Schleier (1934)

Aunt of Gray Reisfield (daughter of Sven Gustafson).

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Greta Garbo, Herbert Marshall, and Jean Hersholt in Der bunte Schleier (1934)

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

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Greta Garbo and Herbert Marshall in Der bunte Schleier (1934)

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.

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Greta Garbo and Nils Asther in Unsichtbare Fesseln (1929)

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

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Greta Garbo and Nils Asther in Wilde Orchideen (1929)

Throughout her MGM career she insisted that William H. Daniels be cinematographer on her pictures. This may not have been purely superstition, as the two notable films she made without him--Conquest (1937) and Two-Faced Woman (1941)--were her only notable flops.

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