Greta Garbo and Conrad Nagel in The Mysterious Lady (1928, dir. Fred Niblo) (via)
Greta Garbo on the set of Flesh and the Devil (1926, dir. Clarence Brown)
“I am always nervous and restless when I am making a picture. I cannot help it. That is why I never want people to see me while I am acting. I do not let people on the set. And I stay by myself all I can while I am making a picture. I sit in one corner alone, or go to my dressing room, or I walk outside by myself while the others are working.
I cannot stand it for someone to come up and say, ‘What did you think of the football game?’ as they do here in America. I cannot get back on the track. I cannot do my best work then. It is the same with every picture – I tremble always, all over.”
-Greta Garbo, quoted in 1928 Photoplay interview (reprinted in Photoplay: the aristocrat of motion picture magazines, Vol. 34) (photo via)
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
The elusive, post-retirement Greta Garbo walking in New York (1955, photo by Lisa Larsen for LIFE)
“I have no plans, not for the movies, not for the stage, not for anything. I’m sort of drifting…Sometimes I put on my coat at 10 in the morning and go out and follow people. I just go where they’re going. I mill around.”
-Garbo, on her life after leaving Hollywood (LIFE magazine, Jan. 24th, 1955)
Greta Garbo (1925, photo by Arnold Genthe) (via)
“I asked Garbo if she and [Gloria] Swanson had been friends.
‘Yes. When we both lived in Hollywood, I used to know Miss Swanson. But it has been years since I talked to her. Three years ago, though, she wrote me a letter. It said, ‘Dear G., we both live in New York, near each other, we are both alone, we have similar lives. Why don’t we have dinner sometime? Please come over and have dinner with me.’
‘Did you?’ I asked.
‘No. I didn’t even answer her letter.’
She paused and thought deeply. A hint of sadness crossed her face. Her answer to my simple question spoke volumes about Greta Garbo. ‘There was no one to make me.’”
-excerpted from William Frye’s Vanity Fair profile The Garbo Next Door
“There are many things in your heart you can never tell to another person. They are you, your private joys and sorrows, and you can never tell them. You cheapen yourself, the inside of yourself, when you tell them.”
-Greta Garbo (1931, via)