Interred at Skogskyrkogården Cemetery, Stockholm, Sweden.
Lived the last few year of her life in absolute seclusion.
(October 1997) Ranked #38 in Empire (UK) magazine’s “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” list.
Letters and correspondence between Garbo and poet, socialite and notorious lesbian Mercedes De Acosta were unsealed on April 15, 2000, exactly 10 years after Garbo’s death (per De Acosta’s instructions).
The letters revealed no love affair between the two, as had been fervently rumored.
Garbo according to movie director Jacques Feyder: “At 9 o’clock a.m. the work may begin. “Tell Mrs. Garbo we’re ready” says the director. “I’m here” a low voice answers, and she appears, perfectly dressed and combed as the scene needs. Nobody could say by what door she came but she’s there. And at 6 o’clock PM, even if the shot could be finished in five minutes, she points at the watch and goes away giving you a sorry smile. She’s very strict with herself and hardly pleased with her work. She never looks rushes nor goes to the premières but some days later, early in the afternoon, enters all alone an outskirts movie house, takes place in a cheap seat and gets out only when the projection finishes, masked with her sunglasses”.
Once voted by The Guinness Book of World Records as the most beautiful woman who ever lived.
Her parents were Karl and Anna Gustafson, and she also had an older sister and brother, Alva and Sven.
Her father died when she was 14 of nephritis, and her sister was also dead of lymphatic cancer by the time Greta was 21 years old.
Her personal favourite movie of her own was Camille (1937)
She disliked Clark Gable, a feeling that was mutual. She thought his acting was wooden while he considered her a snob.
Left John Gilbert (I) standing at the altar in 1927 when she got cold feet about marrying him.
Before making it big, she worked as a soap-latherer in a barber’s shop back in Sweden.
During filming, whenever there was something going on that wasn’t to her liking she would simply say “I think I’ll go back to Sweden!” which frightened the studio heads so much that they gave in to her every whim.
In the mid-1950s she bought a seven-room-apartment in New York City (450 East 52nd Street) and lived there until she died.
(1951) Became a US citizen.
Garbo’s sets were closed to all visitors and sometimes even the director! When asked why, she said: “During these scenes I allow only the cameraman and lighting man on the set. The director goes out for a coffee or a milkshake. When people are watching, I’m just a woman making faces for the camera. It destroys the illusion. If I am by myself, my face will do things I cannot do with it otherwise.”
Garbo was criticized for not aiding the Allies during WWII, but it was later disclosed that she had helped Britain by identifying influential Nazi sympathizers in Stockholm and by providing introductions and carrying messsages for British agents.
Garbo was prone to chronic depression and spent many years attacking it through Eastern philosophy and a solid health food regiment. However, she never gave up smoking and cocktails.
Except at the very beginning of her career, she granted no interviews, signed no autographs, attended no premieres, and answered no fan mail.
Her volatile mentor/director Mauritz Stiller, who brought her to Hollywood, was abruptly fired from directing her second MGM Hollywood film, The Temptress, after repeated arguments with MGM execs and was soon let go. Unable to hold a job in Hollywood, he returned to Sweden in 1928 and died shortly after at the age of 45. Garbo was devastated.
Garbo actually hoped to return to films after the war but, for whatever reason, no projects ever materialized.
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.
Never married, she invested wisely and was known for her extreme frugality.