Born in Stockholm in 1905, Greta Lovisa Gustafsson would later become the reclusive, enigmatic Hollywood legend known to the world as Greta Garbo. Perhaps the most notable star in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer constellation, Garbo's career was at its apex during the silent film era and the early part of its so-called golden age. Ranked by the American Film Institute as the fifth greatest female film star in history, Garbo remains a subject of much fascination and curiosity, due in large part to her insistence on privacy and aversion to publicity.
Garbo's career began with roles in Swedish silent films, including Peter the Tramp and The Story of Gosta Berling, followed by the German picture The Joyless Street. Having caught the eye of Hollywood mogul Louis B. Mayer. Garbo went on to give acclaimed performances in silent films such as The Mysterious Lady, Love and Flesh and 1927's Flesh and the Devil. Unlike most female silent movie stars, Garbo was able to successfully make the transition to talkies. The famous promotional line "Garbo Talks" was used to bring attention to the 1930 film Anna Christie, which was the first production in which the star's voice was heard. Garbo's portrayal of a ballerina in 1932's Grand Hotel is perhaps her most famous role, though Garbo herself much preferred the performance she gave in the George Cukor directed version of Camille. Receiving Best Actress nominations from the Academy for her roles in Anna Christie
, Romance, Camille and Ninotchka, Greta Garbo was indisputably one of the pivotal stars of Hollywood's golden era.
Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel
After becoming widely known through her film roles, Garbo gained a reputation for being very guarded and private. Unlike other stars of the day, she gave no interviews, did not attend parties, refused to answer fan mail or sign autographs. Never married, Garbo did not leave any children and preferred always to live alone. However mysteriously secluded Garbo may have become upon attaining stardom, there can be no doubt that she was truly one of the great lights of Hollywood's fledgling years.