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Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo (born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson) was a Swedish-American actress. She was known for her melancholic, somber persona due to her many portrayals of tragic characters in her films and for her subtle and understated performances. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Garbo fifth on its list of the greatest female stars of classic Hollywood cinema. She was nicknamed "The Divine" because of her whimsical attitude and her willingness to avoid the press.Garbo launched her career with a secondary role in the 1924 Swedish film The Saga of Gösta Berling. Her performance caught the attention of Louis B. Mayer, chief executive of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), who brought her to Hollywood in 1925. She stirred interest with her first American silent film, Torrent (1926). Garbo's performance in Flesh and the Devil (1927), her third movie, made her an international star. In 1928, Garbo starred in A Woman of Affairs, which catapulted her into becoming MGM's highest box-office grossing star usurping the long reigning Lillian Gish. Garbo's other well known films from the silent era are The Mysterious Lady (1928), The Single Standard (1929) and The Kiss (1929). Garbo's first sound film was Anna Christie (1930). MGM marketers enticed the public with the tagline "Garbo talks!" That same year, she starred in Romance. For her performances in these films, she received her first of the three nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress. In 1932, her success allowed her to dictate the terms of her contract, and she became increasingly selective about her roles. She continued in films such as Mata Hari (1931), Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise) (1931), Grand Hotel (1932), Queen Christina (1933) and Anna Karenina (1935). Many critics and film historians consider her performance as the doomed courtesan Marguerite Gautier in Camille (1936) to be her finest. The role gained her a second Academy Award nomination. However, Garbo's career soon declined and she was one of the many stars labeled box office poison in 1938. Her career revived upon her turn to comedy in Ninotchka (1939) which earned her a third Academy Award nomination, but after the failure of Two-Faced Woman (1941), she retired from the screen, at the age of 35, after acting in 28 films. After retiring, Garbo declined all opportunities to return to the screen. Shunning publicity, Garbo led a private life. Garbo was an art collector whose collection contained many works that were of negligible monetary value, but also included works from Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pierre Bonnard and Kees van Dongen, which were worth millions of dollars when she died.
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