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LGBT People of History 21 - Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo (1905 – 1990) was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson in Sweden. She became a star of the silver screen, always beautifully lit and mysterious. She is consistently voted into the top five of movie actresses.
She came from a poor background but attended the Royal Dramatic Theatre School on a scholarship. From there she became a Swedish movie star and Hollywood beckoned. Typically in Hollywood she played unconventional characters who suffered for it. In the 1930s she played roles involving miserable love affairs with tremendous passion. Both men and women worshipped at her feet. She kept herself aloof from the public uttering the famous ‘I vant to be alone’ which of course made everyone more curious! She was tremendously photogenic and unusually beautiful. Her career spanned the silent and talkie eras. At the time she was the biggest star the world had ever known.
Her movies include ‘The Torrent’, ‘Flesh and the Devil’, ‘Anna Christie’, ‘Mata Hari’, ‘Queen Christina’, ‘Anna Karenina’ and ‘Ninotchka’. She was nominated for four Oscars but did not win. She was, however, awarded an honorary Oscar in 1954, but typically did not turn up to accept it.
In 1941 she retired completely from the silver screen increasing her mystique immeasurably.
After this retirement from public life, contrary to myth, she did have many friends and acquaintances. She was not a recluse. It is possible that Garbo may have suffered from bipolar disorder. She lived in a flat in the Upper East Side of Manhattan for the rest of her life.
She never married and she always lived by herself. It is likely that Garbo was bisexual. Perhaps her most publicised relationship was with John Gilbert, who co-starred with her in many movies. Possible lesbian relationships were with the actress Lilyan Tashman and silent movie star Louise Brooks. Mercedes de Acosta, who was lesbian and had numerous affairs with many prominent women, had a tempestuous relationship with Garbo which lasted intermittently for 30 years.
She died of pneumonia and kidney failure and her ashes are interred near Stockholm.
Ian and Callum.
With thanks to Wikipedia.
Here is a link to all of our Hubs on LGBT People of History:
- LGBT People Of History Collection
Here are the links to each of the LGBT People Of History hubs that Ian and I have wrote. As mentioned above, each time a new one is published you will find it on here.