Garbo rumors



Introduction

What is a rumor? Wikipedia says: "It's an unverified account or explanation of events circulating from person to person and pertaining to an object, event, or issue in public concern".
 
Greta Garbo is well known all over the world, a woman who will not be forgotten. A myth, a symbol, an icon, a monument. She has already been one as long as she lived and she still got the same esteem and prestige today and in future.
That's why such an extraordinary person will always be involved in specs. Generations of movie goers, cineasts, fans, admirers or just curious people who like to read the yellow press or to listen to dirty gossip, are demanding for quaint details of Garbo's life. And they have always been served. In the past, in the presence and in future.
 
We have collected some rumors about Greta and her life. The Latin saying means: FAMA ERRAT. A rumor isn't right. But is that true? Mostly yes. But nor always. It's up to you, believe it or not. Maybe yes, maybe not. Who knows? Anyway, maybe Greta is smiling from heaven or even giving her Ninotchka laughing when she listens to the gossip what is going to be revealed. Greta, let's laugh together....

 
 

DVD rumors

From 2003 - 2009 there were several rumors that GG's films will appear on DVD.

The Painted Veil – was rumored to be released in the fall of 2006 and later planned to be released as a bonus DVD in a special package of the 2007 'remake' version starring Naomi Watts.

A Woman of Affairs – was rumored to be released in the fall of 2006.

Love – In late 2006, it was rumored that it would appear as a bonus on a DVD release for the late 1940s, Anna Karenina version with V. Leigh.

Susan Lenox – A rumor in spring 2006 was, that the film would appear in a Clark Gable and his leading ladies DVD Box set.

Die Freudlose Gasse – A rumor in early 2007 was, that it would be soon released on DVD via a German company.

Mata Hari (Uncensored version) – In early 2007, we announced that the uncensored version is still excisting. Soon Internet rumors appeared and some suggested or 'heard', that it would soon appear on the TCM DVD series, Forbidden Hollywood Volume 2 (USA 2008).

 

 

Anne Frank was a Garbo fan?

Anne Frank was a Jewish girl born in Germany. She gained international fame posthumously following the publication of her diary which documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.

For decades there is this rumor that she had a picture of Garbo on her wall in her room. This rumor is actually true. Anne had many photos on her wall.

Anne Frank
Anne Frank

Those pasted pictures on the wall of her room in the hidden attic have been restored in 2008. It took a decade to fix the 60-year-old-plus photographs of celebrities, most clipped from a Dutch women's magazine. Copies have been hanging in their place.   Apart from Garbo  other images include the Lane Sisters, Sonja Henie and Britain's Queen Elizabeth.


Anne Frank's room

The room from Peter van Pels

The restored photos are now hanging behind climate-controlled glass in the Anna Frank House, Amsterdam.

 

Garbo's daughter

In the late 1970s or early 1980s, Swedish magazines reported from a young woman who claimed she was the daughter of Garbo and George Schlee. Her name was Liv Gustaffson and she was living in Switzerland. It is unknown what happened with the woman and how this story was burn.

 

Garbo had a child which died at the age of five?

An old rumor that writer Norman Zierold (Garbo, 1969) started in 1969, came up again in 2012 when writer David Bret brought it back to ‘life’. Writer Bret quoted Zierold of course and wrote in his 2012 released book (Greta Garbo: Divine Star) that he also believed this ‘child’ story.

So what did Zierold say?
He said that an (unnamed) author friend told stated that he worked for years with Garbo on her autobiography. He claimed that GG told him that Stiller was the obsession of her life and that there was a child which died at the age of five.

At the time of Stiller’s departure for home, he reportedly begged Greta to come with him. She asked permission of MGM to break her contract but was told no. She stayed and Stiller went, leaving her only with sad memories and guilt.

In 1964, when this autobiography was finally completed, Garbo withdrew permission to have it published. There were too many frank revelations, she felt, and now was not the time to air them.

What did David Bret say?
Bret asked himself if she could have been pregnant during her infamous MGM (October 1926 to June 1927) ‘strike’ and ‘break’? Was a child the reason for her 6 month MGM absence? He then quoted Zierold and had further thoughts and analyses about it which we don’t really want to repeat here.

Source
Norman Zierold: Garbo (1969)
David Bret: Divine Star (2012)

 

Garbo's famous laugh was dubbed

For decades there is this rumor that it was not really Garbo's 'laugh' in her classic film Ninotchka.

During filming, Garbo laughed quite heartily and uproariously but emitted no sound. The star was unable to articulate so much as a titter. The sound department solved the problem in the final mix by raising the volume of the laughter of the people around her.

 

Did Garbo have a clipping service?

For sixty years, writers held an Olympiad of Superlatives to describe her impact on twentieth-century culture, but Garbo never cared what people thought or wrote about her. Or did she?

Her narcissism was a doubled-edged sword. In her heyday, after all, despite the professed loathing of publicity, "she was crazy about pictures of herself," said one MGM photo-studio hand. For Clarence Bull alone, she sat for more than four thousand frames without complaint. It was okay for people to adore her from afar. Post-retirement, she engaged a clipping service and read most everything written about her.

But unlike Marlene Dietrich, who did the same, Garbo did so out of curiosity, not litigiousness "She was like a junkie on a drug he hates but can't give up," says Green. "In her case, it helped fill up the time and was more proof of base humanity”.

Her family denies she had a clipping service, but friends say manila envelopes full of articles invariably awaited her in the stack of mail upon her return from trips. A remark she made to Sam Green in the fall of 1975 tends to support the claim: "Somebody photographed me, evidently ... I was told that a whole mess of photographs appeared. I see them as rude. I don't know why I didn't this time."

Source: Garbo book

 

Garbo and Edvard Munch's The Scream

[Greta Garbo and Munch painting]

One rumor is that this famous pose of Garbo, is reminiscent of Edvard Munch's The Scream.

 

A GARBO TV rumor - By Russ J Graham

The edit that re-wrote history:

What really did happen that day in 1939, when the BBC Television Service closed down “for the duration of the conflict”?

The popular memory of 1 September 1939 is that, in the middle of the cartoon Touchdown Mickey, just as Greta Garbo says, “Ah tank ah go home”, the transmitter cut out and television went off the air for nearly seven years.


“I tank ah kiss you” – Mickey’s Gala Premiere

The staff dispersed – into the forces, into radar development or back into radio. Alexandra Palace was mothballed and that was that. This simple rendition of the “facts” is nice: the drama of the signal being cut marking the start of a world-changing war. But there’s a problem: it can’t possibly be right.

So the conclusion is:

after the end of Mickey’s Gala Premiere and following some test signals, television went off the air for nearly seven years.

Thanks to Kata

 

Did Greta record a song?

One day I heard from Martin Shaw from Holland. I think he is an collector of old Swedish musical recordings. He told me that he found a possible recording of Garbo, she may had recorded back in Sweden 1938. I was surprised and after a long time I tried to find out more and contacted Martin.

His Mother was the actress Gerda Lundequist, the great Swedish actress and Garbo's co-star in Gösta Berling saga. She married Martin's English father in Stockholm in 1939.  He wrote me about the many small recording studios in Stockholm/Sweden in late 1920s.

They made acetates, primitive recordings on aluminum discs or for private use. One of them was a studio called PAM Aktiebolag by Pam Samson. The studio was located at Bakom Dramaten or behind the Royal Dramatic Theatre,  were Greta participated quite often on stage in the early 1920s. Many great theatrical names made recordings as "tryouts". That was for  their theatrical performances at the Dramaten.


A Garbo recording?

From the early to late 1930s, PAM Aktiebolag was the only “Shop+Recording studio” combination. Samson never had any connection with the regular commercial record industry. He made and sold many amplifiers on his own. It is said that Pam's material was taken over to Nordiska musikförlaget (Nordic Music Company).

Martin got in contact with this Music Company, in the hope to find any archive material they may have from this era. After a while he found some interesting recordings. He listened carefully and  believed that this woman's voice was the one of Greta.

Than he brought the recordings to the national centre for cinematography in the Netherlands (The Filmmuseum in Amsterdam) and let them to the CD he made of one of the acetates. Their comments were that the CD was remarkable, a very weak sound but an interestingly characteristic voice. They also thought it was Garbo. The songs were: Avé Maria & Silent Night (both in swedish) and two other Swedish folk songs. Further suggestions have been that the acetates should be professionally transcribed.

They must use the latest techniques be reworked to recreate the right accoustic effect. Martin believes that Greta may have recorded the four songs in 1938. H e belives that this was when she was in Sweden with Leopold Stokowski. The accompaniment of the songs, is only piano. "Maybe that was Stokowski?" said Martin. I heard them and doubt personally that it is Garbo.

We even never read anything that comes even close to it. We hope  that Martin will allow me that i can put the online. So we all can hear it.Of course this is not Greta but it' s still great to imagine ;-)

Special thanks to Martin from Sweden

 

Garbo refused a GI amputee's request for her autograph

One published story claimed she had even refused a GI amputee's request for her autograph. It is said that actor-director Orson Welles was a witness to that.


Orson Welles

As neighbors in Brentwood during the war in 1942/43, he and Garbo were good acquaintances and spent a few evenings together. One night, he told biographer Barbara Leaming, they emerged from a restaurant to find ‘a soldier in uniform without a leg, standing on his crutches with an autograph book and she refused it. "That is how dumb she was! She refused him, in front of my eyes!", Leaming wrote.

Some say that this mindless faux pas is actually true but can we really believe Welles?

Source: Karen Swenson - A Life Apart

 

Katherine Hepburn and Garbo had an affair?

Another silly affair rumor appeared in the book Katharine the Great. The author (Darwin Porter) claims that both legends had an affair together. On page 570, the author claims that Kate had sex with many female Hollywood stars, including Garbo, Marlene and.... Mercedes de Acosta!

You can read excerpts from Kate the Great and this rumor  HERE!

 

Various rumors

Is Garbo a Nazi? (early 1940s)

Was Garbo a spy? (1980s)

Valentine Schlee called in a Greek Orthodox priest to exorcise Garbo's presence from her New York apartment (1960s)

Garbo played Monopoly with Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (late 1980s)

A jealous Russian countess wanted to poisoning Garbo! (mid 1930s)

Is Garbo turning blind? (mid 1970s)

Garbo wants a to spend her last years in a swedish Retirement home ! (mid 1970s)

No place for Garbo in a swedish Retirement home! (mid 1970s)

Garbo's back pain problems! Now she gets help from a miracle healer (mid 1970s)

Thanks to Werner and Bea

 

Various love affairs with celebs

Garbo was rumored to have had various love affairs with many celebs.
Like Marlene Dietrich, Louise Brooks, Johnny Weismüller etc.

Some of those rumors you can find  HERE!

 

Garbo having had an affair with Josephine Baker

Another Internet rumor is that Garbo once had an affair with entertainer Baker.

Garbo does Baker on the Eiffel Tower!

Though she famously just "vanted to be let alone," cross-dressing screen star Greta Garbo had lesbian liplocks with just about every everyone -- including Marlene Dietrich and Louise Brooks. But the most interesting (and salacious) story is the one involving the beautiful, banana-wearing singer/dancer Josephine Baker. According to legend, the two sultry stars got hot and heavy -- at the foot of the Eiffel Tower itself!

The story's possible, since it's pretty certain they both liked girls (Garbo was written about by several of her lovers including novelist Mercedes da Acosta, while two of Baker's "rainbow tribe" of adopted children have written of her bisexuality). But there's never been any proof that they got hot and heavy with each other.

The juicy story is probably just a twist on Garbo's movie Ninotchka, where she fell in love with a man at the tower -- which she described in the film as "Such a vaste of electreeeecity! "

You can find the article   HERE!

Thanks to RubyRed

 

Michael Jackson's secret meeting with Garbo?

It is said that Garbo waxed lyrical about Michael Jackson in an almost girlishly adoring way. “He is a handsome and so musical, I never miss seeing him on television if I can help it. What a star he is!”

In the 1980s, the The Globe magazine wrote: Michael Jackson met Garbo secretly. He wore a beard, sunglasses and cap so nobody can recognise him. He went to her apartment for a secret meeting.

Thanks to Dave

 

Garbo in Garbo Talks?

The 1984 film Garbo Talks was d irected by Sidney Lumet and written by Larry Grusin. It was the tale of fatally ill Anne Bancroft, whose dying wish is to meet Garbo. It contained clips from Garbo's greatest films, and many believed it to be a true story.


Movie scene

In any case, it is not true – as many Garbo-philes insist – that she appeared as herself (back to the camera) at the end of Garbo Talks. The actress who did so, uncredited, was Betty Comden.


Betty Comden

The film was fiction but had some rough equivalents in real life. “She was compassionate about people who were ill to an unusual degree,” recalled her friend Jane Gunther.

More Info  HERE!

 

Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Errol Flynn and Thomas Mann playing tennis?

One rumor is that during the 1940s, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Errol Flynn and Thomas Mann were playing tennis in Hollywood.

The son of a wealthy businessman, owned the Brentwood Country Club at one point, and during the 1940's, the family lived in Hollywood.

Gregory (the son) described looking out at the family's tennis court one day and seeing, no lie, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Errol Flynn and Thomas Mann playing tennis. Three of the most beautiful people in the world and a man who wrote about beauty.

Thanks to Nici

 

Garbo, Gilbert and the lie detector

One strange rumor is that one day in 1928, lie detector inventor William Marston (see the picture) was measuring  the reaction of both Garbo and John Gilbert as they saw Flesh and the Devil.


This picture is a photomontage.

Thanks to Andre

 

Was Garbo a man?

This is the most stupid Garbo rumor. In the late 1980s, some strange news magazine quoted Garbo: "After my death, a big secret will be revealed!".

The magazine guessed that she may was a man.

 

Was Garbo at the American premiere of Camille?

A rumor was that At Louis B. Mayer's insistence, Greta reluctantly agreed to attend the Hollywood  premiere of Camille , on December 12, 1936 at the Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs.

She wore pajamas under a fur coat. She waved to her fans, walked  through the front door, and out the back without bothering to watch the film.

Thanks to Kata

 

The Greta Garbo, Clark Gable and Cary Grant TV show

One rumor is that in  1991, the TV station IBS had the idea of  a last-ditch attempt to resurrect their ratings. The show Cary and Clark, was going to be based on the premise that Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, and Megan Mullally are roommates living in modern-day Brooklyn. But the idea was an unmitigated success.

It gave birth to a surge of interest in movies from the forties through the sixties. No teenage girl's locker could be found without a picture of Grant or Gable pasted on the door. Women adored them and men wanted to be them. It was an exciting time for the entire country. It is not known if this was really planned or just an internet rumour.

Thanks to Annie

 

Was Garbo bisexuell or lesbian?

One of the most famous GG rumor is of course the question about her sexuality. Was she straight or bisexual? Some even wrote and/or think that she was a lesbian. Well, as always there is no proof that Garbo had love affairs with both sexes, woman and men.

When the rumor did first came up?
Between 1930 and 1931. But remember Bisexuality was fashionably chic in sophisticated Hollywood circles during this period. “Everyone had to be a lesbian in the thirties” told Garbo’s friend Sam Green to Karen Swenson (Garbo -  A life Apart, 1997), “even if they didn’t want to be. They certainly dressed up and went to lesbian bars – it was the thing to do. And it was the logical step in women’s liberation.”

Her friendship with Mercedes de Acosta was a main reason also supported this ‘Lesbian rumor’ in the early 1930s.

Garbo’s letters from Mercedes deAcosta
Mercedes was a Spanish-American poet, playwright, costume designer and socialite, she knew many famous celebrities of the show business. She had rumored love-stories with actresses like Marlene Dietrich, Eleonora Duse, Isadora Duncan. But it is said that the woman she loved most of all was absolutely Garbo.

In 1960 Mercedes De Acosta sold her Garbo papers to the Rosenbach Museum and library of Philadelphia that had to keep them sealed until 10 years after the death of Garbo. So in the year 2000, the so called "love letters" of Garbo to Mercedes d'Acosta to be unsealed, it came as great disappointment for many reporters and even some fans,  that no lesbian attitude could be detected.

It is fact that the letters gave no evidence of a love story! One day Mercedes told Cecil Beaton (both were friends of Garbo) that, to her knowledge, Greta wasn’t “so far a Lesbian but might easily be one.” (Source: Karen Swenson - A life Apart).

Read more about the letters  HERE!

What did Garbo’s family say?
In 2005, Scott Reisfield, Garbo's grand-nephew declared during promotion for Garbo: TCM Original Documentary (Bird and Brownlow), that to say that Garbo was bisexual or lesbian would be just conjection.

He also said that she clearly had a set of relationships with some very interesting men over time, and he thinks that is the actual focus of her interest.

 

Andy Warhol

When he was young, Andy Warhol saw Garbo at a party and drew a paper flower for her. Without saying a word, he pressed it on Garbo. What did G do?......she left it behind, all crumpled up.

So Warhol signed it and entitled it: "Flower Crumpled by Greta Garbo."

 

Garbo goes nude?

Department store, Bullocks Wilshire, was  built in the 1920s to cater to the city's car culture. It drew some of its character from its show biz clientele.

Chic and sophisticated Bullocks Wilshire was spelled with an apostrophe from the time the store opened in 1929 until the 1970s, when the punctuation was removed to distinguish the place from run-of-the-mill Bullock's stores.

Many film stars visited the shop and it said that Garbo was one of them. The rumour regarding Garbo was that she asked a clerk to help her choose a swimsuit. When they went into the fitting room, Garbo removed her coat — which was all she was wearing.

Thanks to Isaura

 

Marlene Dietrich in The Joyless Street?

For Decades there was this rumour that Marlene Dietrich played a minor role in this film.  A dark-haired woman waiting in the butcher shop line is often mistaken for Marlene.


A close-up of "Marlene"?

But it is actually the German actress Hertha von Walther. She had a much larger role in the original uncut version of the film.

 
Marlene, Asta Nielsen and Greta.

This is the scene popularly believed to feature Marlene Dietrich as one of the extras in line with Garbo and Asta Nielsen.


Marlene as she looked around Joyless Street.

When the film was filmed, Dietrich was at home nursing her threemonth - old daughter, Maria.

More about the film  HERE!

 

Garbo naked?

This German dancer was often mistakenly credited as Garbo. The naked woman was Martha Kreis from Düsseldorf in Germany and not GG.

The story appeared in the late 1980s when Swedish opera singer Richard Lindskog discovered and bought this picture for 200 Kronor at a Swedish flea market. He was sure it was Garbo on the beautyful photo and some "experts" even agreed to this andsaid "Hips and hands are Garbo's".

The photography was then sold to European magazines for very big amount of money. A German woman then saw the picture in a magazine and said trhat it was not Garbo but Martha Kreiss, a German dancer and actresss from Düsseldorf in Germany. In the beginning of the 1940s, Martha had a contract in Stockholm's China theatre and this photo was used for promotional reasons.

What happened to Martha is a mystery.

Thanks to Bea.

 

Did Garbo had a son?

One silly rumor in 1969 was that Garbo had a son. She was photographed in France accompanied by a young man who was in fact the son of a friend.

 

Garbo marries with 80?

In the early 1980s or very late 1970s, some magazines reported that Garbo wants to marry a 30 years younger man.

The man she was photographed with walking in New York was her good friend Sam Green.

 

Did Garbo had an abortion?

It is rumoured that Garbo's hiatus from October 13, 1926 to April 18, 1927 could have been because of an abortion.

It is not known if this is true and if she was really pregnant and John Gilbert was the father.

 
 
 
Garbo Facts
  
 
Greta the "Soap-Girl" 
  
 
Greta at the PUB 
  
 
Garbo - A Spy in WW II? 
  
 
Garbo References in Pop Culture 
  

 

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