Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Greta Garbo

Born Greta Gustafsson in Stockholm, Sweden, Greta Garbo was raised in poverty and left school early to support herself and her family. A Swedish filmmaker, Mauritz Stiller, became her patron, casting her in silent films and introducing her to Louis Mayer of the Hollywood studio of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Garbo played in over a dozen silent films in Hollywood in the 1920s. Often cast as the sultry, tempting beauty, she soon became an international star, and successfully made the transition to talkies in the 1930s. Among her best known films from that decade are Anna Christie, Camille, Ninotchka, and Queen Christina. She played the role of Queen Christina in androgynous fashion, dressed in men’s clothing and in one scene kissing another woman passionately. Garbo, who avoided the public eye even during her Hollywood days, retired from films in 1941, at the height of her career, and lived quietly for many decades in Manhattan. During her time in Hollywood, she had romantic relationships with both men and women. She died in 1990.