A Centennial Tribute to Greta Garbo
Probably no other star in the history of Hollywood has been wrapped in so much mystery as Greta Garbo.
Her fans worship her. Many newer moviegoers don’t even know about her, for a number of reasons. Many of her films were silent, and some are no longer available. All were black and white. She ended her career prematurely. There are rumors, perhaps intentionally encouraged by her, regarding her sexual orientation. But what remains of her legacy is marvelous, and there’s plenty of material on the Web that will help new fans learn more about her.
Greta Garbo was born in Stockholm, Sweden on September 18, 1905, as Greta Lovisa Gustafsson. Her father died when she was 14, and she had to work to help support her family. But that may have been a pivotal moment in her career, because her appearances in advertising for the department store where she worked resulted in a role in a film, which in turn caused her to attend a drama school in Sweden. By the age of 18 she was on her way to stardom, and by 1925, off to Hollywood.
She wowed them in her first talking film, Anna Christie, in 1930. That Oscar-nominated performance was followed by Romance (1930), Susan Lenox: Her Rise And Fall (1931), Mata Hari (1931), Grand Hotel (1932), Queen Christina (1933), Anna Karenina (1935), Camille (1937), andNinotchka (1939), each portrayal a work of art. She was the highest-paid woman in America during the 30s. She made her last film in 1941, at only 36, and retired from the business. She died in 1990, at the age of 84, after almost 50 years out of the filmmaking business.
Right or wrong, her decision to stop making films just contributed to her mystique. She did not, as is widely believed, go into seclusion, however. She lived in New York City, hung out with the gliterati, and worked in her garden. She was nominated four times for Best Actress Oscars (twice in one year), but never won. However, she received a special Oscar in 1954. She was recently voted #5 on the AFI’s list of greatest classic actresses. Her relatively small number of available films has contributed to a lot of discussion of which ones were the best. The discussion has stepped up in 2005, now that we have reached what would have been her 100th birthday.
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Greta Garbo Tributes and Other Pages
Part III: Movie Reviews & Where to Find Her Movies
Part IV: Photos, Art, and Posters