Greta Garbo was a Swedish actress during Hollywood's silent film and Golden Age of movies. She said to be one of the most beautiful movies stars of all time. She made trenchcoats and berets popular in the 1930s.
Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905 in Stockholm, Sweden, the daughter of Karl and Anna Gustafson.
When Greta was 14, her father died leaving the family destitude. Greta left school and went to work as a soap-latherer in a barber's shop in Sweden. Her next job was in a department store. While working at the department store, she modeled for newspaper ads. She then appeared in an advertising short while a teenager. This film short ran in local theaters in Stockholm.
From 1922 to 1924, Garbo studied at the prestigious Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. While there, she met director Mauritz Stiller. He trained her in cinema acting technique, gave her the stage name Greta Garbo and cast her in a major role in the silent film Gosta Berlings Saga (1924). She appeared in about a dozen European films before MGM brought her to the United States.
Her first American film was The Temptress (1936). She would go on to star in such silent films as Flesh and The Devil (1927), Love (1927), The Mysterious Lady (1928), A Woman of Affairs (1928), and Wild Orchads (1929).
In 1930, Greta Garbo appeared in her first talking film Anna Christie and uttered the lines "Gif me a visky, ginger ale on the side, and don' be stingy, baby."
Greta Garbo's most notable films are Romance (1930), Mata Hari (1931), Grand Hotel (1932), Queen Christina (1933), Anna Karenina (1935), Camille (1936), and Ninotchka (1939). Her final film appearnce before retiring was Two Faced Women (1941).
During her career, Garbo was nominated for four Academy Awards for Best Actress for Anna Christie (1930), Romance (1930), Camille (1937), and Ninotchka (1939). She did receive an Honorary Academy Award in 1955.
Her all time personal favorite movie of her own was Camille (1936).
In the mid 1950s, Greta Garbo bought a seven-room-apartment in New York City (450 East 52nd Street) and lived there until she died in absolute seclusion, although she could be seen taking daily walks in New York City.
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. Except at the very beginning of her career, she granted no interviews, signed no autographs, attended no premieres, and answered no fan mail.
Greta Garbo never married although she did have a long term relationship with John Gilbert. It is said she left him standing at the altar in 1926, when she changed her mind about getting married.
Greta Garbo died on April 15, 1990 at the age of 84 due to complications of pneumonia.