On Monday I posted my review of Marlene: Marlene Dietrich a Novel. I thought it would be a good counter point to feature Greta Garbo: the sometimes rival, fascination and idol of Marlene. In the book she was portrayed as elusive but I thought it would interesting to explore her history.
Greta was born in Sweden to a working class family that could barely make ends meat. At the age of 13 she dropped out of school to take care of her ailing father. This experience formed who she would be in later life; the serious, determined woman who would not have the same struggles that her family had.
Greta was discovered while doing commercials for modeling men’s wear. This led to her first film in Sweden. It was because of that film that she was noticed by Metro Golden Mayer. Her first American film, The Torrent, premiered in 1925.
Even though she was a huge star it didn’t mean she craved the attention. She was a recluse, never attending parties or even award ceremonies. However, she did have an
active private. In addition to numerous male lovers she was also a member of the Hollywood Sewing Circle.
The Hollywood Sewing Circle was a clique of women who were either lesbian or bisexual women. It was through this social circle that she met Mercedes de Acosta, her long time lover.
Like Marlene, Greta lived her own life by her
rules. She was a modern woman who is forever synonymous with the glamour of classic Hollywood.