Greta Garbo-Retirement





In retirement, Garbo led a private life of simplicity and leisure, and trying to avoid the publicity she loathed.  Contrary to myth, she was never a recluse either during her Hollywood years or in retirement, which she didn’t spend a lot of time alone. She has been forever linked to one of her lines in “Grand Hotel”: “I want to be alone.”  Garbo later remarked, “I never said, ‘I want to be alone. I only said, I want to be left alone. There is all the difference”.


Beginning in the 1940s, Garbo became something of an art collector. Many of the paintings she purchased were of negligible value.  She did buy two impressionist paintings by Renoir and a still-life by Pierre Bonnard.


Still, Garbo often floundered about what to do with  her time.  She struggled with melancholy, or depression, and anxiety, and her many eccentricities.


On 9 February 1951, Garbo became a naturalized citizen of the United States.  In 1953, she bought a seven-room apartment Manhattan. Where she lived for the rest of her life. 


In 1969, Italian motion picture director, Luchino Visconti, attempted to bring Garbo back to the screen. He had actively been working on a film adaptation of Proust’s colossal work “Remembrance of Things Past”. Garbo went to Rome and did a color screen test for the role in 1971. Visconti exclaimed: “I am very pleased at the idea that this woman, with her severe and authoritarian presence, should figure in the decadent and rarefied climate of the world described by Proust.” Visconti’s dream of making his Proust film came closest to realization in 1971, but the budget turned out to be astronomical and the project didn’t materialize.


Throughout her life, Garbo was known for taking long, daily walks with companions or by herself. She walked the streets of New York City dressed casually and wearing large sunglasses. “Garbo-watching” became a sport for photographers, the media, admirers, and curious New Yorkers, but she maintained her elusive mystique to the end.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s