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Small Garbo Stories & Anecdotes - Part 1


 * James Stewart

 * Romy Schneider and Garbo

* Garbo and the Beast
* David Niven on Garbo
* Robert De Niro on Garbo
* Katharine Hepburn on Garbo

* Tina Lattanzi on Garbo
* Lucian Freud - A motor trip with Garbo
* Michel Roux - His meeting with Garbo
* Garbo's Swedish Maids
* Garbo Story by Gore Vidal


James Stewart (American Actor)

Greta Garbo. When I was first at MGM, Garbo was the big star and I would have done anything to meet her. I was a big fan. And one time I was working on the stage right next to her and I found out that when she left she would go right from the stage door to her limousine, and nobody would see her. But I got to know the sound man on her set. And he told me he knew just how much time it took her to get from her dressing room on the set to the stage door. “So I’ll give you a call one of these days when we finish,” he told me, “and maybe you’ll be able to run out your door and get to see her before she gets into the limousine.” And, sure enough, a couple days later he called me.

He said, “Now hurry and hang up and go out your door because she’s just leaving.” And so I did. I had to go on the dead run to get to the end of the stage. And as I went around the corner to the door, I ran smack into somebody. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I just kept running, right out to the door, and as I was about to open it, I stopped and looked back. And there was Greta Garbo all right—flat on her ass. I knocked the poor woman down. I don’t think she’ll ever forget me for that.


Romy Schneider (Austrian Actress)

In late 70's there was a rumour that Romy Schneider was going to get Garbo to do a comeback and that Romy may will star as Garbo in a Bio-Pic film about her life.

There is also a rumour that someone did see Romy reading newspapers at the Swedish Church in New York, and asked "Are you Garbo?"

She said "Yes!" "Are you going to do a comeback?" and she answered "No!!!! what roles could there be left for an old woman in today's movies, do they expect me to play Rambo's mother"???


Beauty and the Beast (French Film)

"Give me back my beast" ...
Pauline Kael, (the famous NY times film critic) wrote in a book that when shown the 1946 film, Greta Garbo is reported to have said at the end of the famous Jean Cocteau film, "give me back my beast".......


David Niven (American Actor)

Niven decided to ask her one rainy afternoon: "Why did you give up the movies?"

She considered her answer so carefully that he wondered if she had decided to ignore my personal question.

At last, almost to herself, she said, "I had made enough faces."


Robert De Niro (American Actor)

Interview, from 1995

Reporter: "Did you have movie idols when you were child?"

De Niro: "I always think about Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift,James Dean. Greta Garbo was a marvellous actress.The most interesting actress I have ever seen."

Reporter: "Many actors say: I want to be De Niro. And you? Would you like to be someone else?"

De Niro: "No, I can say nobody. I think Greta Garbo was fantastic."


Katharine Hepburn (American Actress)

When Hepburn first met Garbo!
George Cukor brought Greta over for a tour of Hepburn's new house. They went upstairs  and Katharine showed her the bedroom. Garbo walked over to her bed and saw that there was a lump on the bed (obviously a hot-water bottle).

Garbo looked at Kathy,  patted it and sighed. "Yes, I have one too. Vat is wrong vid us?”


Tina Lattanzi (Italian Actress)

Italian actress Tina Lattanzi dubbed Garbo's voice for her films.

She was chosen directly by MGM studios for the italian version of Garbo's movies and her voice was rather deep and strange, just like Garbo's.

She never met Garbo but one day Greta sent her a letter and told her that she liked her voice very much.


Lucian Freud - A motor trip with Garbo

Lucian Michael Freud, OM, CH (born 8 December 1922) is a British painter. Freud was born in Berlin, Germany in 1922, son of Jewish parents Ernst Ludwig Freud, an architect, and Lucie née Brasch. He is the grandson of Sigmund Freud and brother of writer and politician Clement Raphael Freud and of Stephan Gabriel Freud.

As an artist famous for his revealing portraits, Freud's perception of Garbo is succinct, he said she "looked wonderful, but was extremely silly - you know, in the way that Scandinavians are silly."

On a motoring trip he took with her, Garbo suddenly asked to stop the car so she could walk barefoot in the rain. Freud felt he ought to join her, "and my best suit got wet. It wasn't the end of the world, but it was tiresome."

Thanks to SnowWhite


Michel Roux - His meeting with Garbo

Michel Roux is the Michelin stared chef. Talking on how close he came to being seduced by Greta Garbo while working as a young chef chez Cecile de Rothschild.  "Greta Garbo came to stay in August 1966, for two weeks, and was on a diet that rather cramped my style," he writes in his autobiography Life is a Menu.

"After dinner one night, my boss called me in to discuss what menus we could dream up for the actress. As we talked, Greta Garbo removed her dark glasses and stared straight at me. 'What beautiful eyes you have, Chef', she said.

"Cecile de Rothschild sent me the most withering glance, and I took this as a signal to get out of the room and fast."

Thanks to SnowWhite


Garbo's Swedish Maids

In her secluded house Garbo ran a bare-bones establishment that drove her Swedish retainers to distraction.

“She told me I was to do all the buying for the house, but that she expected us to keep the bills down,” said her principal servant, Gustaf.

“I couldn't believe it when she handed me a hundred dollars and told me that was the monthly allowance. We had kept house long enough to know that it would take a lot of scheming to do that.”

So twice a week Gustaf drove to the Central Market in Los Angeles , a distance of about eight miles, a giant warehouse store where most items are sold at lower prices. “Be careful buying I kept the food bills as low as eighty-five dollars a month,” she said.

But when he turned the accounts over to Greta, she grabbed her forehead and yelled. “This is too much, we eat too much. Cut back, and I don't care how you do it.”

The fifteenth of each month Greta handed Gustaf and Sigrid a fifty-dollar bill to meet all her personal expenses.

“That had to cover everything from magazines and drugs to pajamas,” said Sigrid. “Don't ever let anyone tell you that Greta Garbo couldn't keep track of money. She watched pennies fall as if they were bars of gold bullion.”

It's no wonder that Garbo, the most gilded lily of all the early screen stars, looked like hell at home. Even starch and laundry soap were rationed.

This led Thalberg to quip one afternoon, “Maybe we should take her from in front of the camera and put her in our accounting department.” MGM treated her like a rare orchid on the lot.

Thanks to Greg


Gore Vidal (American author)

Garbo's friendly "termite"
Vidal saw Hollywood as a new social arena that must be conquered, a place to be seen and to gaze at the stars, and he didn't worry that his reputation as a serious novelist could be damaged by working in films. Garbo became a friend, though as Vidal concedes:

“I was aware that the relationship really only worked one way. As far as Garbo was concerned, I was always a kind of termite wandering through the woodwork. But that was all right; I didn't mind being a termite for a while.”

“Garbo was very peasanty, very literal, very earthy and very funny. I would bump into her in Klosters every morning while out shopping.”

Swiss pullovers
Vidal once inquired what she bought and she said she bought pullovers. “What, every day?”, he asked . “Yes, yes”, she said , “only pullovers.”

“But how many do you have?”
Vidal asked. And with a note of pride in her voice she told him , ''I have every pullover the Swiss make."

Excerpt from The Daily Telegraph (UK Newspaper interview, Dec 2006)

Thanks to Kata

Garbo Stories - Introduction


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