Remembering Greta Garbo

 
 

She’s a gorgeous Hollywood superstar without a husband or even an official boyfriend. She shuns questions about her relationships, and her best-loved films are those in which her affairs with men ended tragically or are merely incidental to the larger story of her personal quest.

Her talent as an actress is legendary, but, unlike her celebrity peers, the topic of her personal life is largely ignored by an otherwise relentlessly tell-all press.

Yes, it sounds like Jodie Foster, give or take eighty years. But it's actually a description of the legendary actress Greta Garbo, who perfected the art of being world-famous without really being known at all in the 1920s.

And to this day, her queer fans are the only portion of the population likely to know about her queer life.

Garbo as Anna Karenina in Love (1927)

Younger women of this generation may never have seen even one of Greta Garbo’s movies, but they recognize her name. This is due in part to Garbo’s self-imposed exile from Hollywood at the age of 36 and her infamous New York hermitage until her death at 86 in 1990.

But Garbo’s enigma can also be linked to the secrecy surrounding her sexual orientation.

Even today the mainstream media hesitates to delve deeply into her romantic life and has difficulty reconciling her movie goddess stature with the evidence of her love for other women.

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