Greta Garbo surrounded by reporters as she arrives in New York (1938, photo via Popperfoto/Getty Images)
Rules for meeting Greta Garbo #2 - Wear nice shoes; try not to be stupid:
“In Rome, Audrey Hepburn, informed that Marcello Mastroianni was unexpectedly coming to dinner, exclaimed, ‘Oh no! I’ve dreamed of this for years!’
In New York, a similar dream stirred another star - Greta Garbo.
‘They said she was nervous and I had to pretend it was an accidental encounter,’recalls the actor. ‘So we go to the East Side, above some antique store, and there are two women sitting with Garbo. I say, ‘Oh, Signora Garbo, what a surprise!’ She smiles and I smile.
‘Then she says, ‘What beautiful Italian shoes you have.’ They were English, but I only want to make her happy. So I say, ‘Yes, Signora, Italian.’ Then one of the ladies mentions an old Garbo film, and says: ‘How beautiful you were.’ With that, Garbo gets up and leaves. We go next to a party at the Actors Studio and someone’s shouting: ‘Mastroianni! Greta Garbo wants you on the phone! The whole place stops like a stuck film track. Garbo says: ‘I’m sorry, Mr. Mastroianni. I admire you very much, but I cannot stand stupid women’ - and hangs up.”
-Still Mastroianni, New York Times, September 20th, 1987