Greta Garbo

By: Anna Bilton


Greta Garbo was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden. Her father died when she was young, forcing her to get a job to support her family. Later, she took on a job at a department store where she landed her first acting role: short movies on employee etiquette. While attending acting school, she met director Mauritz Stiller who gave her her big break. After filming a few Swedish movies, Stiller and Garbo traveled to America together. But, Mauritz did not end up directing the first few American movies she was in. After a few years, he traveled back to Sweden and passed away which made Greta very distraught.

In America, Greta starred in 24 films, her first being The Torrent in 1926. Critics raved about her. Everyone was very impressed by her acting abilities. In 1955, she received and Academy Award, but did not even attend the event. In 1960, her abilities were recognized when she earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

After her retirement from acting, Garbo was rarely seen in public. She liked to keep to herself. She was often seen traveling or walking around Central Park. Greta Garbo died on April 15, 1990 in New York City, New York.

Impact on the 1920's

Greta Garbo made a huge impact on the film industry in the 1920's. Everyone was impressed by her. When she began acting, films had no sound; but during her career they began including sound and she is still remembered for her flawless transition from "silents to talkies".

Another way Garbo impacted the 1920's is that she reinvented what it means to be famous. For such a great actress, she really didn't enjoy being in the spotlight. She kept to herself and stayed away from paparazzi as much as possible. When she won an Oscar at the 1955 Academy Awards, she did not even attend the ceremony.

The Divine Garbo. Part 1 of 5.

Video Questions

1. What was Mauritz Stiller, the director who first noticed Garbo, determined to do? What did he do to accomplish that?

2. Why did the Hollywood press make fun of Greta?