(September 18, 1905 - April 15, 1990) Sweden
Stage name of the actress Greta Lovisa Gustafsson, born in Stockholm. She began her career in silent movies and became a screen legend, starring in more than 25 films.
Trained at the Royal Theatre drama school, Stockholm, she made her first film Gösta Berling Saga in 1924, and Die freudlose Gasse (Life without Joy, 1925).
Garbo then went to the U.S.A. where she played in The Torrent (1926), becoming one of Holliwood's first "stars". In 1954 she was awarded with an Oscar Prize.
Garbo's biographer Barry Paris notes that she was technically bisexual, predominantly lesbian, and increasingly asexual as the years went by.
Paris also notes that virtually all the reports and "common knowledge" of Garbo's affairs with women (or men, for that matter) are gossip. Garbo, of course, never told anyone whom she went to bed with.
Garbo died a bachelor and, according to Mercedes D'Acosta in her autobiography, Garbo and D'Acosta had been lovers. There are 181 letters from Garbo to Mercedes in repository at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia. They might shed much further light on heir relationship, but are sealed. Future historians might find further details.
Greta Garbo was followed by reporters - two quotations from Movie Magazines about her and Mercedes de Acosta.
Garbo has a new friend! And when Garbo becomes enough interested in anyone to have an even rumoured friendship... it is news in Hollywood. This time it is Mercedes Acosta... a feminine writer imported from New York to write screen stories for Pola Negri. Miss Acosta is a very sensual lady... affecting Russian costumes... very white skin... strange and sometimes weird facial expressions. She was seen at Pola's beach party and her "different-ness" caused a great deal of excited comment. Her appearance is so distinctive that she can be compared to no one... perhaps that what intrigues the never-so-friendly Swede.
Film Gossip of the Month 1931
Around eight o'clock of that particular morning, a fresh young blonde of some eighteen summers was seen to skip out the front door of Mercedes house into the garage, out of which she drove a small closed car into the circular driveway, stopping directly opposite the front entrance. When she jumped out to go inside she left the motor running and the car door open.
It was all of fifteen minutes before the blonde reappeared with Garbo - blue trousered legs showing beneath a tightly buttoned trench coat and blue beret titled jauntily over straight blonde hair - following close behind. Both Girls hurried into the car.
1932 "What's Really Happening to Garbo?" article in Modern Screen November by Rita Page Palmborg
Both quoted in "Entertaining Lesbians - celebrity sexuality and self-invention", by Martha Gever, published Routledge
Her later films include
- Flesh and the Devil (1927)
- he Divine Woman< (1928)
- The Mysterious Lady (1928)
- Wild Orchids (1929)
- The Kiss (1929)
- Anna Christie (her first "talkie", 1930)
- Inspiration (1931)
- Mata Hari (1931)
- Queen Christina (1933)
- The Painted Veil (1934)
- Anna Karenina (1935)
- Camille (Margherita Gautier, 1936)
- Conquest (Maria Walewska, 1937)
- Ninotchka (1939)
- Two Faced Woman (1941)