Greta Garbo ~ Hollywood's Most Private Star

 Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo became one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars but she just wanted to be left alone

She was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905 in Stockholm, Sweden. Her family was very poor and tragically her father died when she was fourteen, To help out at home she left school and got a job working at a department store. Then she studied acting at Royal Dramatic Training Academy in Stockholm. In 1924 she was cast in the Swedish film The Saga of Gösta Berling. MGM president Louis B. Mayer brought her to Hollywood and offered her a contract in 1925. The studio made her fix her teeth and lose weight. Greta was given a starring role in the 1926 silent drama The Temptress. Her performance got rave reviews. During the 1920s she starred in a string of hits including Love, The Divine Woman, and Wild Orchids. The press called her "The Face" and "The Swedish Sphinx." While filming Flesh And The Devil she fell in love with her costar John Gilbert. They were engaged to be married but she left him right before the wedding. She never wanted to have children and had several abortions Greta, who was bi-sexual, started dating Lilyan Tashman in 1927. Her many lovers included Louise Brooks, Ona Munson, and Mercedes de Acosta.

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By 1930 she had become one of MGM most successful actresses and was earning $250,000 a film. The very private star never gave interviews and refused to sign autographs. Throughout her life she suffered from serious bouts of depression. Her first sound film, Anna Christie, was was a big hit and she was nominated for an Academy Award. She would also get Oscar nominations for her performances in Camille and Ninotchka. Greta had a brief romance with in conductor Leopold Stokowski in 1937. When her 1941 comedy Two-Faced Woman flopped she decided to quit acting. During the 1950s she became a US citizen and moved to New York City. She was given an honorary Academy Award in 1954 but she did not show up at the ceremony. Greta, who famously said "I want to be left alone", would spend the rest of her life out of the spotlight. In 1984 she was successfully treated for breast cancer. On April 15, 1990 she died from natural causes at the age of eight-four. She was cremated and her ashes were buried at Skogskyrkogården in Enskede, Sweden.

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