- Even to write about Garbo, the
- reluctant star of stars, seems
- But her ethereal screen image
- was born in Sweden on September 18th, 1905
- Greta began her life in a shabby district of Stockholm, when
- at the age of 13, she was left to care for her ailing father, an
- unskilled laborer. When he died a year later, she was forced
- to leave school to earn a living. While working in a
- department store, she was chosen to model hats, which led
- to some publicity shots in the cinema. This encouraged her
- to try acting and she won a scholarship to the Royal
- Dramatic Theatre School in Stockholm. While there she
- came to the notice of the celebrated film director Maurice Stiller
- and was selected to play the young female lead in one of his masterpieces.
- Hollywood, at this time always on the look out for
- Continental directors, saw some of Stiller's work, and
- MGM's Louis B. Mayer promptly signed him up.
- Stiller agreed, providing he could take his young star
- with him, and the rest is "Hollywood history."
- "Greta always had the allure of the unattainable."
- "She gave you the impression that if your imagination had to sin,
- it could at least congratulate itself on its impeccable taste."
- "I've always wanted to live two lives, one for the movies
- and then one for myself," replied Greta. "I give them
- everything I've got on the screen ~ why do they
- try to usurp my privacy?"
- "I vant to be alone," she declared
- in 1920's "Grand Hotel."
- Many thought she repeated the
- line off screen, yet Garbo maintained
- she only wanted "to be left alone."
- "Perhaps it's better if I live in your heart,
- where the world can't see me."
- From the classic movie "Camille" ~ 1936
- Greta went into her 50-year-retirement in 1941, after her only flop "Two-faced
- Woman." Until then, her movies ~ 10 silents and 17 talkies ~ had all been hits.
- By 1940, she was earning $352,000 a picture. She had amassed so much wealth in
- her relatively brief career ~ and had invested it so wisely ~ that she was said to
- own more than half of the properties on glitzy Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
- The camera never stopped finding her!
- Antiqua in 1976, she could
~ This photo was taken when she was 80 years old. ~
- Beginning in 1941, Greta lived in seclusion on the
- Upper East Side of Manhattan.
- She was perhaps best described as a "hermit-about-town" rather than the shut-in
- her public imagined. Her apartment was stocked with current newspapers and
- magazines. She was occasionally spotted at fashionable restaurants, and
- she often traveled, booking two seats on an airplane to isolate herself.
- She also used aliases: Jane Smith, Gussie Berger, Joan Gustafson,
- or most often, Harriet Brown.
- Her favorite pastimes were long, aimless walks through the city.
- "Often I just go where the man in front of me is going," she
- said. "I couldn't survive here if I didn't walk."
- So Garbo spotting became a local sport. Ironically, she made it easy,
- always wearing dark glasses and a large hat. She deflected
- countless requests to be interviewed or photographed,
- except for these "rare" moments.
- "I never wanted any kind of attention from
- anybody, except to know that somebody likes
- me," she once remarked. "Otherwise it's all
- so false. All they care about is, 'What does
- she look like today?' And look at me!
- I look the Madwoman of Chaillot,
- Inevitably, Greta Garbo's passion for privacy made her the paparazzi's "Holy Grail." Ted Leyson took this rare picture, as she sat in her limo outside her Manhattan apartment.
Even till the end, Garbo would not capitulate to anyone else's
- idea of how she should live. Perhaps the final image of
- Garbo was taken four days before she died, as she
- went to the hospital for dialysis.
- At the age of 84, she passed away on
- Easter Sunday, April 15th, 1990
- "You know, I've led a fabulous life," she once replied.
- Upon her death, Greta's estate was estimated at more
- than $50 million dollars. Much of it went to the elderly housekeeper who looked after Greta for a quarter
- of a century. Clare Kojer was one of
- A neighbor replied: "We would see them together all the time. But it was more like
- two old friends, than a woman and her servant. They would stroll from store to store,
- or go for walks in Central Park, chattering away in German. I don't think it will matter
- to her that she has become an extremely wealthy woman. At her time of life,
- what is money? She has lost her best friend in the world."
- Even after her death it seemed as if new information about
- her was being released almost "daily."
- One of more mysterious elements of all was a
- "comeback" screen test filmed in 1949,
- which was thought lost forever!
- However, in 1990, "Entertainment Tonight" previewed
- this long lost moment, showing Garbo in all her magic!
Contrary to popular belief, she didn't retire. She tried to make films on several
- occasions, and each time something went wrong. Then in 1949, producer
- Walter Wanger made her an intriguing offer to star with James Mason, and
- she said "yes!" And she even agreed to shoot some silent camera tests,
- so the world could see what she looked like after eight years.
- Garbo arrived at the studio alone, and she did her own makeup. At the age of 43, she
- still had it. The glamour, the mystique, the soul-searching eyes. She simply came
- alive in front of the camera!
- "Her silence preserved the magic that
- made her so fascinating!"
- Over the years, the public's undying curiosity
- about Greta never diminished.
~ ~ ~
Throughout the years, Bette has even shared her own thoughts
- on many of the Stars, from the early days of Hollywood!
- "Mary Pickford" "Mae West" "Gloria Swanson" "Bette Davis" and
- "Bette Midler Collapses at Concert"
- Singer Bette Midler, suffering from exhaustion and a stomach disorder, collapsed
- offstage during a performance. "Ms. Midler had a good night and her condition
- is stable," said Rita Johnson, a spokeswoman for Pontiac General Hospital. "She's
- expected to be released in a day or two." The singer and actress was completing
- the final night of a three-day stint at the Pine Knob Music Theatre, near
- Clarkson when she fainted. Ms. Midler, 40, left the stage during the
- song "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" before collapsing Tuesday night.
- While being interviewed for "The Today Show" Gene Shalit
- asked Bette about her recent stay in the hospital,
- after collapsing on stage.
- "When I was lying on my face in Detroit, trying to breathe, I thought:
- 'This is really dumb. What am I doing this for? I have no
- children . . . What am I killing myself for? This is silly.'
- I have enough to retire on. Why bother? And I do think about it.
- I was feeling pretty poor there for awhile, and I did think
- 'It's time. It's better to top out, than it is to wait for them, to tell you your days are numbered. I mean, "Look at Greta Garbo.
- I'd love to look at Greta Garbo, but I don't know where she is!"
- Even during her movie, "That Old Feeling" a reference
- was made to the illusive "Greta Garbo."
- " Come on Mother! . . . Please don't do this Garbo thing!
- " That's what you think! "
- Unfortunately, many of the legendary stars of
- Hollywood were fading from view, by the time
- I became aware of them. In their place, many
- new "bright" and "fresh" faces, were making
- their way into the spotlight.
- I remember distinctively, Ann Jillian's portrayal
- of the legendary "Mae West," in a wonderful
- television movie of the week. After viewing
- her incredible performance, I wanted to
- learn more about the legendary star.
- Long before the "internet" there was only one place to go . . . "the library." And I
- can't remember the title of Mae's Official Autobiography, but I thought it was called
- When speaking of her, it has been said, that
- "She stole everything but the camera!"
- Not to mention, that some of the most suggestive lines ever uttered
- on the silver screen came from her lips!
- After reading Mae's Official Autobiography, I remember glancing through the
- "return" rack and someone had just finished Gloria Swanson's Autobiography
- I had remembered seeing Gloria in a movie called "Killer Bees" where she
- played a rather mysterious matriarch, who had the incredible ability to
- control a swarm of bees. Beyond that particular movie, I really
- didn't know very much about her, but her name was
- Little did I realize, after reading her book, how much I'd come to admire her!
- "Gloria" lived a "fascinating life!"
- In closing, please join me for a "Special Tribute" to one of the
- truly remarkable actresses of the "Silver Screen!"
- This page is dedicated to
- whose early inspiration from the movies
- has truly inspired us all!