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LGBT People of History 21 - Greta Garbo

Updated on April 26, 2012
Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo | Source
Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo | Source
Garbo becoming a US Citizen
Garbo becoming a US Citizen | Source
Garbo's grave in Sweden
Garbo's grave in Sweden | Source

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.


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    • alian346 profile image
      Author

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thank you for the lovely comment, krillco.

      We have so many more in the pipeline.

      Ian.

    • krillco profile image

      William E Krill Jr 5 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

      This series is great! Thanks for it, and all of the 'between the lines' dignity that it provides.

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

      Cheers Ian. All the best, Gerry

    • alian346 profile image
      Author

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Hi, sligobay - I have had a quick look at your Hub and will read it later when I have more time to take in your comprehensive article.

      Ian.

    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Your so welcome Sligobay and we look forward to reading those articles in the future once we have finished our series x

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

      Hello Lads. My Tri-sexual, Bi-sexual etc article attempts to focus attention on the LGBT history of oppression by the psychiatric industry and religious establishment. You have given me guidance for future articles. Thanks a bunch.

    • alian346 profile image
      Author

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      You're welcome! There are many more and many more to come, sligobay!

      Ian.

    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Your very welcome sligo x Glad that you have enjoyed it :)

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

      This is another fine bit of history which I did not know. Thank you.

    • alian346 profile image
      Author

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      One of my top 5 all time actresses, Dexter!

      Ian.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      Hello! I love watching her in movies. Outstanding actress. Thanks for sharing another great one in your series!

    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Thanks Caroline as alian346 has said there is more to come :)

    • alian346 profile image
      Author

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thank you for the kind comments, carolinemd21. We have a few others in the pipeline and some we have previously written about.

      Ian.

    • alian346 profile image
      Author

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thank you Callum - she was indeed!

      Ian.

    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 5 years ago from Close to Heaven

      Great hub! Very informative. Love old movie stars. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Absolutely Brilliant!!

      She was the most beautiful woman on the screen :)

      I love this hub :)