Greta Garbo (1905 – 1990)

by Reta Robinson

Why we should care: This Swedish vixen was a major star of silent movies in the 1920s and 30s. She blazed a trail for actresses to come as one of the first real Hollywood movie stars. Unlike many of her contemporaries, and despite her thick Swedish accent, she went on to have success in talking films.

Three roles: She starred as Ninotchka in the 1939 film of the same name, as Anna Karenina in 1927 and again in 1935, and as Katrin in the original version of The Painted Veil.

Tag line: “I think I’ll go back to Sweden”, was often heard on set if things weren’t going her way.

Style best described as: classic beauty with a sexy foreign twist – she was voted the most beautiful woman of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records.

What highschool textbooks didn’t say: She was the original Runaway Bride — Her torrid love affair with co-star John Gilbert ended in tears after she left him standing at the altar in the mid 1920s.

How she’s celebrated: Her work was recognized in 1954 when she was given an honorary Oscar for her contribution to cinema. You can find her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and celebrated with commemorative stamps in both Sweden and the US.

For her biopic: we’d cast Maggie Gyllenhaal

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