Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo


9/18/1905, Stockholm, Sweden



Birth Name

Greta Lovisa Gustafson



Also Known As

The Swedish Sphinx, Garbo, The Face
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Legendary Swedish-born film actress famous for her reclusiveness. Though she was the top star and highest paid actress in Hollywood for nearly 15 years, Garbo walked away from movies after the failure of her 1941 movie Two Faced Woman. She never returned to the silver screen and spent…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Garbo's favorite TV program during her later years was Matlock and she greatly admired star Andy Griffith.

    • Garbo's brother emigrated to the United States in the 1930's and owned a ranch in New Mexico where she frequently went to relax.

    • Garbo was pictured on a U. S. commemorative postage stamp issued on September 23, 2005.

    • Garbo's measurements were 35B-27-38 according to Celebrity Sleuth magazine.

    • Garbo's older sister, Alva, appeared in a couple of Swedish films and showed great promise as an actress but died of tuberculosis in 1926 at the age of 23.

    • Once voted by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

    • Garbo's favorite of her films was Camille.

    • One reason Garbo refused to sign autographs was because her handwriting was poor.

    • Garbo frequently used the alias Harriet Brown when traveling.

    • Won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Actress in 1935 and 1936 for her performances in Anna Karenina and Camille.

    • Garbo's first speaking words on-screen in the movie Anna Christie were, "Gimme a whiskey with ginger ale on the side and don't be stingy, baby."

    • MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer reportedly told Garbo to lose weight when he signed her to a contract.

    • Garbo never said, "I want to be alone" except as a line in one of her movies. She said regarding dealings with fans, media, etc., "I want to be let alone."

    • Garbo enjoyed gardening and growing flowers.

    • Legally changed her name to Greta Garbo on November 9, 1923.

    • Actor Nils Asther reportedly proposed to Garbo in 1929 while they were filming The Single Standard. Asther and Garbo never made it to the altar.

    • During her American film career only one actor was ever billed above Garbo in the credits--Ricardo Cortez in The Torrent, Garbo's first American film.

    • Garbo was portrayed by Kristina Wayborn in the 1980 TV movie The Silent Lovers. Future Spin City mayor Barry Bostwick played John Gilbert.

    • Voted the 25th greatest movie star of all-time by Entertainment Weekly magazine.

    • Garbo's male co-star in her last two films, Ninotchka and Two Faced Woman, was Melvyn Douglas. He was reportedly her favorite leading man after John Gilbert.

    • Garbo was reportedly friends with Greek shipping tycoom Aristotle Onassis.

    • Garbo's final film was Two Faced Woman, released in 1941. The picture was a critical and box office disaster and its chilly reception was the major reason she decided to take a hiatus from movie making.

    • Garbo has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6901 Hollywood Boulevard.

    • Garbo was rumored to have written an autobiography in her later years but it has yet to surface.

    • In the mid-50's, Garbo purchased a seven room apartment in New York City at 450 East 52nd Street. She lived there for the remainder of her life.

    • In 1954, Garbo was awarded a special Academy Award for her contributions to motion pictures.

    • Garbo became a naturalized U.S. citizen on February 9, 1951.

    • In 1949, Garbo filmed a screen test and considered re-entering the movies but the project she was considering fell through.

    • Garbo had a contract dispute with MGM in 1932 and did not appear on-screen again for two years.

    • Garbo always had a closed set to all visitors. Only the movie crew themselves were allowed to watch her scenes being shot.

    • Garbo's first major film success was the 1924 Swedish film Gosta Berlings Saga.

    • Garbo studied at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm from 1922 to 1924.

    • Garbo's first film appearances came in a series of advertising shorts made by the department store where she was employed.

    • Garbo left school at age 14 after her father's death. Her first job was as a lather girl in a barber shop.

    • Garbo had an older sister named Alva and an older brother named Sven. Like her father, Garbo's sister also died at a young age.

    • Garbo was the youngest of three children born to Karl and Anna Lovisa Gustaffson.

    • Garbo's favorite drink was reportedly Cutty Sark Scotch whiskey.

    • Garbo, as befitting her aloof personna, never gave interviews, signed autographs, or answered fan mail.

    • Garbo was a huge fan of the game show Hollywood Squares and reportedly wrote panelist Paul Lynde a fan letter.

    • Garbo twice appeared in screen versions of Tolstoy's classic novel Anna Karenina. The 1936 film of the same title and the 1928 silent film Love.

    • Garbo got co-star Laurence Olivier replaced in the 1934 drama Queen Christina by former co-star and ex-lover John Gilbert.

    • Garbo reportedly had several affairs with women as well as men.

    • Garbo's 1939 film Ninotchka was a comedy billed under the heading "Garbo Laughs!."

    • Garbo was cremated and her ashes were buried in a cemetary in Stockholm, Sweden.

    • Dick Cavett used to have a running gag on his talk show that Garbo was backstage waiting to appear.

    • Garbo was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress three times: in 1930 for Anna Christie, in 1937 for Camille, and in 1939 for Ninotchka.

    • Garbo's mentor was Swedish director Mauritz Stiller. When Stiller was offered a contract in America by MGM he insisted that Garbo be given one too.

    • Garbo, the queen of MGM Studios, and Clark Gable, the MGM king, only appeared in one picture together--Susan Lennox: Her Rise and Fall. Garbo didn't think Gable was much of an actor and Gable considered Garbo snobbish and aloof.

    • Garbo's father, to whom she was extremely close, passed away in 1920 when she was only 14 years old.

    • Garbo and co-star John Gilbert were once engaged to be married but she called off the wedding at the last minute.

    • Garbo made her talking film debut in the 1930 movie Anna Christie.

    • Garbo left all of her large estate to her favorite niece.

    • Though Garbo and Joan Crawford starred together in Grand Hotel, the two queens of the MGM lot had no scenes together because it wasn't in the script. Although they weren't close friends, they were cordial to each other. Crawford admitted that she was in awe of Garbo.

    • Uttered her famous line: "I want to be alone" in Grand Hotel (1932)

  • Quotes