Ingrid Bergman (29 August 1915 – 29 August 1982) was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films, television movies, and plays.With a career spanning five decades, she is often regarded as one of the most influential screen figures in cinematic history. She won numerous accolades, including three Academy Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, four Golden Globe Awards, and a BAFTA Award.
Born in Stockholm to a Swedish father and a German mother, Bergman began her acting career in Swedish and German films. Her introduction to the American audience came in the English-language remake of Intermezzo (1939). Known for her naturally luminous beauty, she starred in Casablanca (1942) as Ilsa Lund, her most famous role, opposite Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blaine.
Bergman's notable performances from the 1940s include the dramas For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) with Gary Cooper, Gaslight (1944), The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), and Joan of Arc (1948), all of which earned her nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress; she won the award for Gaslight. She made three films with Alfred Hitchcock; Spellbound (1945), with Gregory Peck, Notorious (1946), opposite Cary Grant and Under Capricorn (1949), alongside Joseph Cotten.
In 1950, she starred in Roberto Rossellini's Stromboli, following the revelation that she was having an extramarital affair with the director. The affair and subsequent marriage to Rossellini created a scandal in the United States that forced her to remain in Europe for several years, during which she starred in Rossellini's Europa '51 and Journey to Italy (1954), now critically acclaimed. She made a successful return to working for a Hollywood studio in the drama Anastasia (1956), winning her second Academy Award for Best Actress.
In her later years, Bergman won her third Academy Award, this one for Best Supporting Actress, for her small role in Murder on the Orient Express (1974). In 1978, she worked with director Ingmar Bergman in the Swedish-language Autumn Sonata, for which she received her sixth Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. In her final acting role, she portrayed the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the television miniseries A Woman Called Golda (1982) for which she posthumously won her second Emmy Award for Best Actress. Bergman died of breast cancer on her sixty-seventh birthday (29 August 1982).
According to the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, Bergman quickly became "the ideal of American womanhood" and a contender for Hollywood's greatest leading actress. In the United States, she is considered to have brought a "Nordic freshness and vitality" to the screen, along with exceptional beauty and intelligence; David O. Selznick once called her "the most completely conscientious actress" he had ever worked with. In 1999, the American Film Institute recognised Bergman as the fourth greatest female screen legend of Classic Hollywood Cinema.
Ingrid Bergman was born on 29 August 1915 in Stockholm, to a Swedish father Justus Bergman, and his German wife Frieda Henriette Auguste Louise Bergman. She was named after Princess Ingrid of Sweden. Although she was raised in Sweden, she spent her summers in Germany and spoke fluent German.
Bergman suffered a succession of crucial losses in her infancy and childhood. When she was around two and a half years old, her mother died.
Her father had wanted her to become an opera star and had her take voice lessons for three years. He sent her to the Palmgrenska Samskolan, a prestigious girls' school in Stockholm. Bergman was neither a good student nor popular one. Since Justus was a photographer, he loved to document all her birthdays with his camera. He made his daughter one of his favorite photographic subjects. She enjoyed dancing, dressing up and acting in front of her father's lenses. In 1929, when Bergman was around 14, her father died of stomach cancer.
After his death, she was sent to live with his sister, Ellen Bergman, who also died of heart disease only six months later. Bergman then lived with her maternal aunt Hulda and her husband Otto, who had five children of their own. She also visited her other maternal aunt, Elsa Adler, whom the young girl called Mutti (Mom) according to family lore.
Bergman received a scholarship to the state-sponsored Royal Dramatic Theatre School, where Greta Garbo had some years earlier earned a similar scholarship. After several months, she was given a part in a new play, Ett Brott (A Crime), written by Sigfrid Siwertz. This was "totally against procedure" at the school, where girls were expected to complete three years of study before getting such acting roles. During her first summer break, Bergman was hired by a Swedish film studio, which led to her leaving the Royal Dramatic Theatre after just one year to work in films full time.
Ingrid Bergman's first film experience was as an extra in the 1932 film Landskamp, an experience she described as "walking on holy ground".
Her first speaking role was a small part in Munkbrogreven (1934). Bergman played Elsa, a maid in a seedy hotel, being pursued by the leading man, Edvin Adolphson. Critics called her "hefty and sure of herself" and "somewhat overweight . . . with an unusual way of speaking her lines." The unflatteringly striped costume that she wore, may have contributed to the unfavorable comments regarding her appearance. Soon after Munkbrogreven, Bergman was offered a studio contract and placed under director Gustaf Molander.
Bergman left the Royal Dramatic Theater to pursue acting full time. After playing in a few films, she appeared in Intermezzo in 1936, her first lead performance, where she was reunited with Gösta Ekman, her idol. This was a pivotal film for the young actress, and allowed her to demonstrate her talent.
In 1937, Bergman was voted Sweden's most admired movie star and received top-billing. That same year, On 10 July 1937, at the age of 21, in Stöde,Bergman married a dentist, Petter Aron Lindström (1 March 1907 – 24 May 2000).
Bergman signed a three-picture contract with UFA, the German major film company, although she only made one picture. At the time, she was pregnant but she arrived in Berlin in 1938 to begin filming The Four Companions (Die vier Gesellen)(1938), directed by Carl Froelich.
The film was intended as a star vehicle to launch Bergman's career in Germany. In the film she played one of four ambitious young women, attempting to set up a graphic design agency. By September, she was back in Sweden, and gave birth to her daughter, Pia. She was never to work in Germany again.
Bergman appeared in eleven films in her native Sweden before the age of twenty-five. Her characters were always plagued with uncertainty, fear and anxiety. The early Swedish films were not masterpieces, but she worked with some of the biggest talents in the Swedish film industry such as Gösta Ekman, Karin Swanström, Victor Sjöström, and Lars Hanson. It showcased her immense acting talent, as a young woman with a bright future ahead of her.
Ingrid Bergman accepted the invitation of Hollywood producer David O. Selznick, who wished her to star in the English-language remake of her earlier Swedish film Intermezzo (1936) directed by Gregory Ratoff. Unable to speak English, and uncertain about her acceptance by the American audience, she expected to complete this one film and return home to Sweden. Her husband, Dr. Petter Aron Lindström, remained in Sweden with their daughter Pia who was born in 1938.
In Intermezzo, she played the role of a young piano accompanist, opposite Leslie Howard, who played a famous violin virtuoso. Bergman arrived in Los Angeles on 6 May 1939, and stayed at the Selznick home until she could find another residence.
Miss Bergman is the most completely conscientious actress with whom I have ever worked, in that she thinks of absolutely nothing but her work before and during the time she is doing a picture ... She practically never leaves the studio, and even suggested that her dressing room be equipped so that she could live here during the picture. She never for a minute suggests quitting at six o'clock or anything of the kind ... All of this is completely unaffected and completely unique and I should think would make a grand angle of approach to her publicity ... so that her natural sweetness and consideration and conscientiousness become something of a legend ... and is completely in keeping with the fresh and pure personality and appearance which caused me to sign her.
The film Intermezzo premiered on 22 September 1939. It became an enormous success and as a result Bergman became a star.
Bergman made her stage debut in 1940 with Lilliom opposite Burgess Meredith, at a time when she was still learning English. Selznick was worried that his new starlet's value would diminish if she received bad reviews. Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times reviewed that Bergman seemed at ease, and commanded the stage that evening.
On 30 July 1941 at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, Bergman made her second stage appearance in Anna Christie. She was praised for her performance as a whore in the play based on Eugene O'Neill's work. A San Francisco paper said she was as unspoiled as a fresh Swedish snowball. Selznick called her "The Palmolive Garbo", a reference to a popular soap, and a well-known Swedish actress of the time.
On 26 November 1942, the film Casablanca by Michael Curtiz premiered at New York's Hollywood Theater. It went into more general release, in January 1943.
The film starred Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart; this remains her best-known film. In the film she played the role of Ilsa, the former love of Rick Blaine and wife of Victor Laszlo, fleeing with Laszlo to the United States
Next year, on 14 July 1943, another film starring Ingrid Bergman For Whom the Bell Tolls had its New York premiere. It was her first color film.
The film was adapted from Ernest Hemingway's novel of the same title and co-starred Gary Cooper. When the book was sold to Paramount Pictures, Hemingway stated that "Miss Bergman, and no one else, should play the part". His opinion came from seeing her in her first American role, Intermezzo. They met a few weeks later, and after studying her, he declared, "You are Maria!".
Bergman received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her role of Maria in the film. But she won her first Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in another film Gaslight which premiered on 4 May 1944.
Under the direction of George Cukor, she portrayed a "wife driven close to madness" by her husband, played by Charles Boyer.
Next year, Ingrid Bergman received her third consecutive nomination for Best Actress for her role in The Bells of St. Mary's where she played a nun.
The film premiered on 6 December 1945 and was the biggest box office hit of that year.
That same month, on 28 December, another film of Bergman Spellbound also premiered, and it would be the first of three collaborations she had with Alfred Hitchcock.
The second film of Bergman by Hitchcock was Notorious, which on premiered on 6 September 1946. In the film, Bergman played a US spy, Alicia Huberman, who had been given an assignment to infiltrate the Nazi sympathizers in South America. Along the way, she fell in love with her fellow spy, played by Cary Grant.
According to Roger Ebert, Notorious is the most elegant expression of Hitchcock's visual style. Notorious was selected by the National Film Registry in 2006 as culturally and significantly important.
On 5 October 1946, Bergman appeared in the play Joan of Lorraine by Maxwell Anderson at the Alvin Theatre in New York. Tickets were fully booked for a twelve-week run. It was the greatest hit in New York. After each performance, crowds were in line to see Bergman in person. Newsweek called her 'Queen of the Broadway Season.' She reportedly received roughly $129,000 plus 15 percent of the grosses. The Associated Press named her 'Woman of the Year'. Gallup certified her as the most popular actress in America.
Two years later, Bergman starred in the film Joan of Arc which was based on the play. The film had its world premiere on 11 November 1948. The film was not a big hit with the public and received disastrous reviews, and although nominated for several Academy Awards, including Bergman's Best Actress nomination, it did not receive a Best Picture nomination.
Ingrid Bergman had greatly admired two films by Italian director Roberto Rossellini. She wrote to him in 1949, expressing her admiration and suggesting that she make a film with him. As a consequence, she was cast in Stromboli. During the production in Italy, they began an affair, and Bergman became pregnant with their first child.
On 9 September 1949, Under Capricorn premiered. It was the third and last film Ingrid Bergman made with Hitchcock. And shortly after the film's release, the scandalous relationship between Bergman and Rossellini became apparent.
Bergman and Rossellini's affair caused a huge scandal in the United States, where it led to Bergman being denounced on the floor of the United States Senate. As a result, Bergman returned to Italy, leaving her first husband and went through a publicized divorce and custody battle for their daughter.
In the same month the Stromboli was released, Bergman gave birth to a boy, Renato Roberto Ranaldo Giusto Giuseppe Rossellini (born 2 February 1950).
Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini were married on 24 May 1950.
On 18 June 1952, Bergman gave birth to the twin daughters Isotta Ingrid Rossellini and Isabella Rossellini. Isabella became an actress and model, and Isotta Ingrid became a professor of Italian literature.
Apart from Stromboli, the couple made a few more films together: Europa '51 which was released in 1952; Viaggio in Italia (Journey to Italy) in 1954; and La Paura (Fear) in 1955 based on a play by Austro-Jewish writer Stefan Zweig's 1920 novella Angst about adultery and blackmail.all commercial failures.
The films were all commercial failures but they have garnered a great appreciation and attention in the recent times.
The Venice Film Festival ranked Stromboli among the 100 most important Italian films ("100 film italiani da salvare") from 1942–1978. In 2012, the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound critics' poll also listed it as one of the 250 greatest films of all time.
According to John Patterson of The Guardian, the film Viaggio in Italia (Journey to Italy) started The French New Wave. Martin Scorsese picked this film to be among his favorites in his documentary short in 2001.
After separating from Rossellini, Ingrid Bergman returned to the United States, and made a triumphant return to Hollywood with the film Anastasia directed by Anatole Litvak.
Anastasia (1956) tells the story of a woman who may be the sole surviving member of the Romanov family. Yul Brynner is the scheming general, who tries to pass her off as the single surviving daughter of the late Tsar Nicholas II. He hopes to use her to collect a hefty inheritance.Anastasia was an immediate success.
For her performance as a fake Russian princess, Bergman won the Academy Award for Best Actress for a second time. Cary Grant, her co-star in film Notorious(1946) and her friend, accepted her award for her.
The two friends Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant reunited next year i a light comedy directed by Stanley Donen Indiscreet(1958).
In 1957, Rossellini had an affair with Sonali Das Gupta while filming in India. Bergman and Rossellini divorced that same year.
0n 21 December 1958, Bergman married Lars Schmidt, a theatrical entrepreneur from a wealthy Swedish shipping family. After almost two decades of marriage, the couple divorced in 1975.
In 1975, Ingrid Bergman became one of the few actresses ever to receive three Oscars when she won her third (and first in the category of Best Supporting Actress) for her performance in Murder on the Orient Express (1974). Director Sidney Lumet had offered Bergman the Bergman the important part of Princess Dragomiroff, with which he felt she could win an Oscar.
In 1976, Bergman was the first person to receive France's newly created Honorary César, a national film award.
In 1978, Ingrid Bergman appeared in Autumn Sonata (Höstsonaten), by Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman with whom she had wanted to work for decades.
Bergman was battling cancer at the time of the filming.
On 15 June 1974, she entered a London clinic and had her first operation. While working on Autumn Sonata, Bergman discovered another lump, and flew back to London for another surgery.
The final two weeks of the shooting schedule required adjustment, because she required additional surgery.
Bergman received her seventh—and final—Academy Award nomination. She did not attend the awards, due to her illness. This was her final cinema performance.
In 1980, Bergman's autobiography, Ingrid Bergman: My Story, was written with the help of Alan Burgess. In it, she discusses her childhood, her early career, her life during her time in Hollywood, the Rossellini scandal, and subsequent events.
Bergman could speak Swedish and German as first languages, English and Italian (acquired while living in the US and Italy), and French (learned in school). She acted in each of these languages at various times.
Bergman’s her final acting role is the starring role in a television mini-series, A Woman Called Golda (1982), about the late Israeli prime minister Golda Meir. She agreed to take the challenge despite her illness.
Four months after the filming was completed, she died in London from breast cancer, on 29 August 1982 at 12:00 am, her 67th birthday.
Ingrid Bergman was honored posthumously with a second Emmy Award for Best Actress for her performance in A Woman Called Golda and her daughter Pia accepted her Emmy on her behalf.