Icons of the Century

“We had faces then,” Gloria Swanson says in “Sunset Boulevard” of filmdom’s early stars. Few fit the line as well as Garbo.

With her porcelain skin, arched brows and long lashes, the lithe Swedish beauty captured the public imagination in the ’20s and ’30s as the epitome of movie star glamour. Groomed for stardom from 18 by Stockholm film director Mauritz Stiller, who brought her to Hollywood in 1925, she segued out of the blockbuster success she had in the silent era with talkie hits like “Anna Christie” — which used two words in its ad campaign, “Garbo Talks!” — and “Grand Hotel.”

She would move away from Stiller, taking a long string of famous lovers and companions, both men and women.

Last seen onscreen in 1941, her famous reclusiveness only added to her myth and mystery.

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