Biography of American Filmmaker and Actress Greta Garbo Part 1

About the famous American filmmaker and actress Greta Garbo, her biography and history.

Greta Garbo (1905- ). The press followed her on trips abroad, Hollywood stars begged her to attend their parties, her lovers implored her to marry them. Still Greta Garbo remained the "mystery woman." The more she tried to evade the world's insatiable curiosity, the more the public wanted to know about the real woman behind one of the most beautiful faces of the 20th century. Born Greta Gustaffson in a Stockholm slum, she had a miserably poor childhood. Her formal education ended at the age of 14 when her father became ill and died. She 1st worked as a lady barber, then as a clerk in a large department store. The store owners noticed that she was unusually good-looking and decided to use her as a model in their catalogue and for advertising films. An extremely shy girl, it was difficult for Garbo to summon up the nerve to apply to drama school and to seek acting jobs. At last she was noticed by the director Mauritz Stiller, who featured her in Gosta Berling's Saga (1924).

Stiller lectured Garbo on everything--whom to see, what to wear, and how to look (she had to lose 20 lbs.). He even changed her name to Garbo--she was a willing pupil. In 1925, she was noticed by Louis B. Mayer, then director of MGM, who, while vacationing in Europe, saw her in The Street of Sorrow. Mayer signed a contract with Stiller, and Garbo went with him to Hollywood at a salary of $350 a week.

In her 1st few films, Garbo played a variety of roles, but primarily was cast as a seductress. Stiller was given no projects to direct and returned to Sweden, leaving Garbo to contend with Hollywood alone. At one point, she was banned from the movies for 7 months for refusing to play yet another vamp and for demanding $5,000 a week. Ultimately, the studio gave in to the glamorous star that audiences wanted to see.

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