April A to Z Challenge 2017

April A to Z: Mercedes {d}e Acosta

DKnown more for who she loved than what she wrote, Mercedes de Acosta was an accomplished and talented artist in her own right.

Born into a wealthy Spanish family living in New York City she was the youngest of eight children. Her parents were socialites that often held parties that included the Roosevelts and the Vanderbilts on their guest list. Even though her parents were members of high society they were still very open to who Mercedes was. Until the age of seven, she thought she was a boy. Her parents didn’t do much to correct this and when they were forced to confront the that she was, in fact, a different gender they tried to get her to be more feminine but she wasn’t interested.

Mercedes was an early outspoken LGBTQ activist. She wasn’t ashamed of who she was or willing to hide it in any way shape or form. She once boasted, “I can take any woman from any man.”  In addition to being an activist, she was a devout follower of eastern religions and a strict vegetarian.


So, in regards to those lovers, they included (but were not limited to) an on again, off again relationship with Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Ona Munson, Tallulah Bankhead and Adele Astaire.

To read more about Mercedes’ life check out these books:

  1. Here Lies the Heart by Mercedes de Acosta. She referred to her lovers as her friends which basically meant that she called them out for being gay. After this book was published, Greta Garbo never spoke to her again.
  2. Women in Turmoil: Six plays by Mercedes de Acosta edited by Robert A. Schanke. Read the plays that made Mercedes a sensation in the 1920s.
  3. The Furious Lesbian: The Story of Mercedes de Acosta Learn more about Mercedes’ fascinating life in her biography, again written by Robert A. Schanke.

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