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Annual Signe Karlström Event

Monday, March 16, 2015
12:00 AM
Rackham East Conference Room

Greta Garbo - the unknown story

”I thought I ’knew’ Greta Garbo.” This is how Swedish author and film maker Lena Einhorn begins the epilogue of her novel Blekinge Street 32. Einhorn had already made a television documentary about Greta Garbo and had therefore had reason to spend many hours with this inaccessible and – mostly – unhappy woman who was once the world’s greatest movie star. A movie star who hailed from the poorest district of Stockholm, who rose to be the most famous Hollywood actress over almost two decades, only to suddenly retire, at age 36, with the famous words: “I want to be left alone”

Einhorn thought she knew Garbo, until suddenly she read the thirty-three letters from Greta to fellow actress Mimi Pollak. Letters written from when Greta and Mimi were students at the Royal Drama School in Stockholm, continuing until long after the end of Greta’s career. Mimi was said to have kept these letters in her purse through her entire life.

And suddenly a completely different Greta Garbo emerged: a woman who had once had other choices in life, and who already felt she had achieved her dreams, and happiness, when suddenly a world-famous film director – Mauritz Stiller – came forward and explained to her that she could go further than that – much, much further…

In 2014, Blekinge Street 32 was awarded the Garbo Prize.