a monthly look at the faces that have made history

Greta Garbo

"The story of my life," said Greta Garbo, "is about back entrances, side doors, secret elevators, and other ways of getting in and out of places so people won't bother me." But with her unforgettable face—broad cheekbones, luminous lash-fringed eyes, expressive brows, and determined mouth, all set upon a slim pedestal of a neck—there was no escaping fame. Her first non-silent film, Anna Christie, was promoted with the ad tag "Garbo talks." Later, the poster for Ninotchka proclaimed: "Garbo laughs!" And in 1954, 13 years after her last movie, Guinness World Records named the elusive Swedish star "the most beautiful woman who ever lived." Though she shied away from celebrity, Garbo was romantically linked to many well-known names, including actor John Gilbert, poet Mercedes de Acosta, and photographer Cecil Beaton. To mark the 100th anniversary of her birth, an exhibition of photographs from her private collection by the likes of Edward Steichen and George Hurrell, entitled Garbo's Garbos, opens at New York's Scandinavia House on September 17. Plus, the U.S. Postal Service, in conjunction with Sweden's national mail carrier, is issuing a 37-cent portrait stamp of the enigmatic actress. So much for being left alone.

—Laird Borrelli

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