She was born Greta Gustafsson in inauspicious circumstance in Stockholm in 1905, and wound up in her first full-length movie — playing a maid — in Sweden in 1921.
Twenty years and some 30 titles later, her career was voluntarily over, and she famously embarked for the rest of her life on a singular journey premised insistently on being alone.
But there is no question that Garbo is a screen icon, considered one of Hollywood’s most beautiful classic stars of the Thirties — some say THE most beautiful. And she could act. Her love scenes with silent screen hero John Gilbert can still raise temperatures.
How much do you know about Greta Garbo. Less than you think you do? Well, let’s see how you fare with the following 10 queries of our Monday Quiz. We were inspired here by Frederick Sands and Sven Broman, coauthors of The Divine Garbo, published 11 years before her death at age 84 in 1990. (Answers tomorrow.)
1) Question: During her peak years at MGM, Garbo was known by various nicknames. Which of the following is not one of them? a) The Swedish Sphinx; b) La Divina; c) Hot Lips; or d) The Face.
2) Question: Although their acting styles were very different, Garbo and Clark Gable very much admired each other’s work. a) True; or b) False?
3) Question: Silent screen star Gilbert was so in love with costar Garbo that he made enemies with Louis B. Mayer because the MGM boss passed unflattering remarks about her. a) True; or b) False?
4) Question: “Garbo Talks” was the studio’s promotional pitch for which one of Garbo’s pictures? a) Flesh and the Devil; b) Queen Christina; c) Anna Christie; or d) Ninotchka.
5) Question: Although she learned English remarkably easily, Garbo never lost the lilting Scandinavian speech rhythm that many of her countrymen cannot escape. a) True; or b) False?
6) Question: Garbo and sister Swede Ingrid Bergman were close friends throughout their professional lives? a) True; or b) False?
7) Question: Which of the following men figured most importantly in Garbo’s life? a) Gayelord Hauser; b) Mauritz Stiller; c) Max Gumpel; or d) Rouben Mamoulian.
8) Question: Throughout her many romances, Garbo always regretted that none of the liaisons resulted in marriage? a) True; or b) False.
9) Question: Unusual for a foreign actress in Hollywood, Garbo took to the movie capital very quickly and more or less felt at home. a) True; or b) False.
10) Question: What did Garbo have in common with Bette Davis and Olivia DeHavilland? a) All three got into protracted contract disputes with studio bosses; b) All three were prima donnas; c) All three lived long lives; or d) All three made scads of money during their careers?