She was world famous star, but was very shy, had few friends, drove around in a battered old car, and only spent around a hundred dollars a week of her $7,500 weekly salary.
Do you know the name of this famous actress? Here are some additional clues.
Her father died when she was fourteen, leaving the family in poverty. She went to work for awhile in a barber shop, smearing lather on customer’s faces for the barber. Then she got a job selling hats in a department store.
One day she posed as a model for a hat advertisement where a motion picture director met her. He was so impressed with her beauty that he suggested she should study at a drama school so she could become an actress.
She hesitated giving up the surety of regular salary and embarking on a financially precarious profession, but she followed his advice.
Are you still trying to guess her name? Here’s the answer.
One day director, Maurice Stiller, sent a message to the drama school that he was looking for a young girl to play a small part and Greta got the job. She also changed her last name from Gustaffson to Garbo. Her new name, Greta Garbo, would soon be known worldwide.
Greta Garbo remained one of the shyest and most mysterious actresses on earth throughout her life. Most people never saw her, even when they were in the same film. Actor Wallace Berry, who co-starred with her in Grand Hotel, never saw her during the filming. They played different scenes; and these scenes were made at different times. When she was on set, she often demanded that even her director leave the set and no one could see her but her camera man. Her reason for this was “I can’t act while someone is looking at me.”
Greta Garbo with camera man, William Daniels
After a scene were finished, she hid away in a portable dressing room on the stage and refused to come out again until she was called for another scene. A policeman stood at her door and another policeman stood by a high fence which shut off her set.
Greta Garbo was so shy she would sometimes tremble when introduced to an important person. Greta was from Sweden and when she first arrived in America, the English language was foreign to her. On occasion she made amusing mistakes when speaking which sometimes resulted in laughter from those surrounding her. This probably contributed to her feeling ill at ease in social situations.
Greta starred in many silent films and her speech difficulties were not a problem. Her first ‘talkie’ was Anna Christie for which she was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress, but did not win.
She made several more great films, but after World War II, Greta retired at the young age of thirty-five, never to face the camera again. She had appeared in twenty-eight films in sixteen years.
She was offered many roles in the 1940s and throughout her retirement years but she rejected all but a few of them. In the few instances when she accepted, the slightest problem led her to drop out. Instead, she lived a private life, shunning publicity.
Although she refused to talk to friends throughout her life about her reasons for retiring, she told Swedish biographer Sven Broman four years before her death, “I was tired of Hollywood. I did not like my work. There were many days when I had to force myself to go to the studio… I really wanted to live another life.”
Garbo never married, had no children and lived alone as an adult. She made no public appearances and assiduously tried to avoid the publicity she loathed. She was something of an art collector and her art collection was worth millions at the time of her death.
Greta Garbo’s apartment
On 9 February 1951, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States and in 1953, bought a seven-room apartment at 450 East 52nd Street in Manhattan, New York City, where she lived for the rest of her life. Greta Garbo died on April 15, 1990 at the age of 84. Garbo had invested wisely, primarily in stocks and bonds, and left her entire estate, $32,042,429—$57,000,000 by 2013 rates—to her niece, Gray Reisfield.
Greta Garbo at Amazon
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