You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Garbo, screen siren, 84

'Queen Christina' actress retired in 1941

Greta Garbo, 84, the most successful and glamorous screen star during Hollywood’s Golden Age, died April 15 in New York. In keeping with her obsession for privacy, hospital would not reveal the cause of death.

A virtual recluse for the last five decades of her life after retiring in 1941, Garbo shunned offers for a screen comeback and steadfastly declined personal appearances at retrospectives of her films.

The mystery woman image, created in the ’20s by MGM’s publicity department, combined with re-issues of her most popular work to create new generations of fans. As her most frequent director Clarence Brown explained in 1963, “Today, without having made a film since 1940, she is still the greatest. She is the prototype of all stars.”

Born in Stockholm, she was discovered in 1921 while working in a department store. In 1925, Garbo was spotted by an MGM talent scout in Berlin. Her first Hollywood film role was in “The Torrent,” followed by “The Temptress” and then the breakthrough hit “Flesh and the Devil.” She starred in seven hit silent films released after “The Jazz Singer” had ushered in a public demand for talkies.

She was Oscar-nommed for “Anna Christie,” advertised with the slogan “Garbo Talks!,” as well as “Romance,” George Cukor’s “Camille,” and “Ninotchka.” Her other notable roles included “Queen Christina” and “The Painted Veil” and her last film was “Two Faced Woman” in 1941. The Academy gave her an honorary Oscar in 1954.

–Adapted from Variety’s obit of April 18, 1990.

More Scene

  • Nick Offerman Amy Poehler

    'Parks and Recreation' Cast Talks Possibility of a Revival at 10th Anniversary Reunion

    For one night, Hollywood felt a little like Pawnee. The cast of NBC’s hit comedy “Parks and Recreation” reunited at PaleyFest on Thursday in honor of the show’s 10th anniversary. The whole Pawnee gang showed up: Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Retta, and Jim [...]

  • Andy CohenThe Shops and Restaurants at

    Andy Cohen to Receive Vito Russo Award at GLAAD Media Awards

    Mazel, Andy Cohen! Bravo’s late-night talk show host is set to receive the Vito Russo Award at the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 4 in New York City. Sarah Jessica Parker will present him with the award, which is named in honor of GLAAD founder Vito Russo. The annual award goes to openly [...]

  • Variety TV Summit Europe

    Variety TV Summit Europe Coming to London on June 13

    Variety’s TV Summit Europe will coincide with London Tech Week this year, returning to the city on June 13. The international conference will be held at the Royal Lancaster and is co-produced by global events company Informa’s KNect365 division, the world’s largest business-to-business organizer. The one-day summit will focus on the intersection of content and [...]

  • David Furnish, Bryce Dallas Howard, Taron

    'Rocketman': Paramount Previews Footage of Elton John Biopic

    “Rocketman” is ready for lift off. Paramount Pictures threw a cocktail party Monday night to preview 15 minutes of the upcoming Elton John biopic, set for release on May 31, at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, the legendary rock club where John made his U.S. debut nearly 50 years ago. The footage featured pieces of [...]

  • The CalArts REDCAT Gala 2019 Honoring

    Pixar's Pete Docter Honored at CalArts REDCAT Gala

    Pixar’s Pete Docter reminisced about his days as a student at CalArts on Saturday night at the 2019 CalArts REDCAT Gala, where he received the Distinguished Alumni Award. For the wide-eyed boy from Minnesota, where life was more routine, attending CalArts “was a free-for-all. It was eye-opening in a lot of ways,” he recalled. “But [...]

  • Sasha Pieterse, Eli Brown, Sydney Park

    'Pretty Little Liars' Spinoff Unexpectedly Coincides With College Admissions Scandal

    It was a case of art imitating life at Saturday night’s Hollywood premiere of “The Perfectionists” — Freeform’s “Pretty Little Liars” spinoff about a scandal involving college students striving for excellence by any means necessary. The TV show’s debut was coincidently preceded by a real-life college scandal involving Hollywood celebrities who allegedly didn’t let a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content