September 18 in Swedish History
1905: Swedish movie star Greta Gustafsson (Garbo) is born in Stockholm's southern districts, on Söder, to laborer Karl Alfred Gustafsson and homemaker Anna Lovisa.
Greta is the third and youngest child (she has two older siblings, brother Sven and sister Alva). The Gustafsons are impoverished and live in a small cold-water only apartment on Blekingegatan number 32.
Söder in those days was regarded as the city’s slum, and Garbo later recalled: ”It was eternally gray, those long winter nights. My father would be sitting in a corner, scribbling figures on a newspaper. On the other side of the room my mother is repairing ragged old clothes, sighing. We children would be talking in very low voices, or just sitting silently. We were filled with anxiety, as if there were danger in the air. Such evenings are unforgettable for a sensitive girl. Where we lived, all the houses and apartments looked alike, their ugliness matched by everything surrounding us.”

Thanks to her beauty, Garbo managed to get work as a model, besides working in PUB, a department store, until she was accepted at The Royal Dramatic Theater’s Acting School. From there she was hired by the prominent film director Maurtiz Stiller, and Garbo made her debut in his ”The Saga of Gösta Bergling”. Eventually Stiller and Garbo left Sweden to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood. She made it big, of course, but he returned to Sweden and soon passed away.
Garbo retired from the film business in 1941, and moved to New York City. She never acted again, although many tried to lure her back. She died in New York City in 1990.

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