This post is part of “The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon”, hosted by my good friend Virginie from The Wonderful World Of Cinema. Click here to read the other articles being exhibited during the event. Happy 100th Birthday Ingrid.
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ingrid Bergman, the Swedish born actress, who was known for her ethereal beauty and her inimitable talents that she displayed in a resume that consisted of sixty two credits. As coincidence has it, Ingrid Bergman also passed away on her 67th Birthday.
From the moment she was born, Ingrid Bergman exuded that rare star quality, that even her father noticed and realized that one day she was going to be someone special, but just how special was yet to be determined.
Baby Ingrid, the little girl with the sparkling blue eyes that radiated an immaculate presence made her star studded debut in this world 100 years ago today on August 29th, 1915 in Stockholm, Sweden. She was the prized package of Friedel Bergman and Justus Bergman, who at the time of Ingrid’s birth were euphoric and worried about a repeat of the sadness they endured with the passing of their other two children, but fortunately for Friedel and Justus, the baby appeared healthy and beautiful, and was automatically the namesake of the two year old, Princess Ingrid of Sweden.
For the first few years of Ingrid’s life things were running smoothly. She had loving parents, and a father who documented her every move through photographs, an assignment he had been doing since Ingrid first entered into their lives. Even the days before movie cameras were fully established, Justus went as far as to hire an early movie camera just to film their daughter in motion. One of his most notable efforts are the videos of the little infant smiling and sitting gracefully on her mothers lap, and the moving images of two year old Ingrid walking with her mother.
Sadly for Ingrid, this joyous world was not to last. As a little girl, all she had known about was joyousness and a mother and father who loved her very much. When Ingrid was two years old, her mother became ill. At first she was diagnosed to have a simple stomach ailment, but when her condition exacerbated, Justus was alarmed and consulted another doctor, where it was determined that Friedel was suffering from a serious liver problem. With Friedel’s deteriorating illness, Ingrid was sent away to stay with her aunt and uncle for a while until her mother was fully recuperated, but that was not to happen. On January 19th, 1918, Friedel passed away, and little Ingrid’s world that was once filled with happiness crumbled away.
After Friedel’s death, Ingrid went back to live with her father, who at the time was working as an artist and photographer, while maintaining sole support for his daughter, sometimes with the help from his sister who lived nearby and often stayed with them.
Even though Ingrid missed her mother terribly, she adored her father. He meant everything to her, and she meant the world to him. In the days and weeks that followed after his wife’s death, little Ingrid was the only thing that brought him happiness. If it weren’t for his daughter, he would have been torn apart completely. Instead he spent the days with Ingrid, filming and photographing her every move, while creating a happy home for the two of them.
As time progressed, Ingrid’s memory of her mother began to fade into the distance until she became an image that was always frozen in a picture frame. For Ingrid, who was only two when her mother died this was only natural. While she was growing up, she remembered her father always speaking glowingly about her mother, which would sometimes make her sad that she didn’t know her better.
From a young age, Justus witnessed a really rare quality in Ingrid. He saw potential in her, and with her talent, he knew that one day she was going to be a star, but just how famous she became was something that he would never have imagined. As she matured, Ingrid started to express an interest in acting and yearned for a career as an actress, though Justus had other plans for his daughter. He wanted her to be an opera singer, and arranged for her to take voice lessons for three years, which she did, and it was through these lessons that her strong desire to become an actress increased.
Apart from the slight disagreements between Ingrid and her father with her future career, her childhood was spectacular. Her father always had a congenial living environment in a house filled with music, and an ambiance that was always festive, but just when Ingrid needed him the most, her world was about to be shattered once again. When Ingrid was twelve, her father was diagnosed with Stomach Cancer, and on July 29th, 1929, he died, leaving thirteen year old Ingrid without the love of her life, her rock, the hero of her childhood.
Following the death of her father, Ingrid was sent to live with her aunt, but that was only temporary. Her aunt died six months later, which meant that Ingrid would have to move in with her aunt Hulda, who had five children. Ingrid enjoyed her time with her aunt Hulda, but nothing was to match the exuberant relationship she held with her father.
By now her desideratum to become an actress had escalated, and she was determined to be someone of prominence, but in Sweden that was harder to achieve. In 1932, her passion would come to a heed when she entered a competition held at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. From the moment she first entered into that theatre, Ingrid knew what she wanted, but on the other hand she was frightened. Many years later she reminisced back at that occasion by stating, ” As I walked off the stage, I was in mourning, I was at a funeral. My own. It was the death of my creative self. My heart had truly broken… they didn’t think I was even worth listening to, or watching.”
Though Ingrid didn’t have nothing to worry about, and as it turned out, her impression was wrong. As a result of her performance that day was a note that read the following, “We loved your security and your impertinence. We loved you and told each other that there was no reason to waste time as there were dozens of other entrants still to come. We didn’t need to waste any time with you. We knew you were a natural and great. Your future as an actress was settled.”
Ingrid Bergman was on her road to stardom. As an award she received a scholarship to the Royal Dramatic Theatre School, where Greta Garbo had studied many years earlier. After several months of training, Ingrid Bergman made her stage debut in a new play titled “Ett Brott (A Crime)”, which was written by Sigfrid Siwertz.
Little did she know it then how far her journey would take her. Part of this was to be discovered during her first Summer break when she attracted the attention of a Swedish film studio who hired her for work in motion pictures. With her sudden success, Bergman left the Royal Dramatic Theatre to focus on a full time career in movies.
Not long after leaving the academy, Ingrid attained a small role in the 1935 film “Munkbrogreven”. Prior to this, she had appeared in a few roles as an extra in 1932 when she first started studying, but this was her first role of importance, and it certainly wasn’t her last. In fact it was her part in this film which led to her appearing in a myriad of other Swedish films, including “A Woman’s Face”, which was later remade as an American production starring Joan Crawford.
With her growing popularity in Europe, Hollywood came knocking on her door. Before she knew it, she found herself in the United States preparing to star in the English remake of her meritorious Swedish film “Intermezzo”. Though at the time, Ingrid thought that she would be returning home straight after filming was finished. She was still unable to speak English, and she was uncertain about how the American audience would accept her, and she also had the matters of her husband, Dr. Petter Lindström and her baby daughter Pia, who remained in Sweden.
“Intermezzo” became a triumphant success, garnering Bergman a plethora of accolades and the permanent title of a movie star. Film historian David Thomson noted that this would become the start of an astonishing impact on Hollywood and America” where her lack of makeup contributed to an “air of nobility.” According to Life, the impression that she left on Hollywood, after she returned to Sweden, was of a tall (5 ft. 9 in.) girl “with light brown hair and blue eyes who was painfully shy but friendly, with a warm, straight, quick smile.”
Ingrid Bergman returned briefly to Sweden after the shooting of “Intermezzo”. During her time back home, she appeared in one movie, but with the warm reception she was receiving in America, Hollywood missed her presence and called her back to appear in “Adam Had Four Sons”, “Rage In Heaven”, and ” Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde”. All three films done considerately well at the box office, but her most famous role was to come.
In 1942, she starred alongside Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca”, which is her most renowned role, and a film that is now considered one of the best movies ever made.
Casablanca was an immediate hit, and so was Ingrid Bergman’s performance. Shortly after she was cast in the role as Maria in “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, a film that garnered Ingrid her first Academy Award nomination.
A year after Ingrid Bergman would attain the Academy Award for her memorable portrayal of Paula in “Gaslight”. The film was directed by George Cukor, and starred Ingrid alongside Charles Boyer and a nineteen year old Angela Lansbury in her film debut. “Gaslight” today is marked as a distinguished masterpiece for the fact that it was the peak of her Hollywood glory.
By now, Ingrid Bergman was definitely a well established star in the United States, and with a resume that consisted of an array of significant films, she was hired to work with one of the worlds most prolific directors and the Master Of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, who immediately took a liking to Bergman for her amiable aura and directed her in three films which include, “Spellbound”, “Notorious”, and “Under Capricorn”.
In 1948, she obtained another Academy Award nomination for “Joan Of Arc”. An independent film based on a play by Maxwell Anderson. Bergman had championed for the role since her arrival in Hollywood, which was one of the reasons she had played it on the Broadway stage in Anderson’s play. The film was not a big hit with the public, partly because of the scandal of Bergman’s affair with Roberto Rossellini, which broke while the film was still in theatres. Even worse, it received disastrous reviews, and although nominated for several Academy Awards, did not receive a Best Picture nomination.
Through her admiration, she wrote to Rossellini expressing her interest in starring in a film that was directed by him. The letter turned out to be one of the best things she had ever done. Not only did she land the starring role in “Stromboli”, she also became infatuated in Roberto, and had an affair, which would lead to the birth of her son, Roberto in 1950.
The United States did not look favorably on the affair and the whole thing resulted in a scandal, but for Bergman, the affair turned into marriage, and shortly after she found herself pregnant with twin daughters, who she named, Isabella and Isotta.
Between 1949 and 1955, Ingrid had appeared in five films that were directed by Rossellini, but unfortunately for Ingrid none of these films earned her the acclaim that she had achieved with “Stromboli”.
The last two years of Ingrid’s marriage with Rossellini was nothing but tumultuous. After having endured several altercations, the couple divorced in 1957, and Bergman returned to the United States, where she received her second Academy Award for her role in “Anastasia” starring Yul Brynner.
In 1958, Bergman married Lars Schmidt. The two remained happily married for over a decade until complications arose, which led to a divorce in 1975.
After her victorious return, Ingrid Bergman’s populace disseminated, and this would continue for the remainder of her career. In 1974, Ingrid Bergman attained her third Oscar for “Murder On The Orient Express”.
As time progressed, Ingrid Bergman appeared in a few more films, which include “Autumn Sonata. Her final role came in 1982, when she starred in “A Woman Called Golda”, in which she was honored posthumously with a second Emmy Award.
During the filming of “A Woman Named Golda”, Bergman was frequently ill, which meant that she often missed days of shooting. Though at the time nobody could have depicted just how serious her condition was. Being courageous like she was, she never complained and she never showed it.
On her 67th Birthday on August 29th, 1982, four months after filming came to a cessation, Ingrid Bergman passed away peacefully at her London home from Breast Cancer. She is survived by her four children, who continue to keep her legacy alive.
In a career spanning almost fifty years, Ingrid Bergman showcased her indelible talents in just about every aspect of the entertainment industry and succeed in every way possible. Thirty three years since her passing, she is remembered as one of the brightest stars to ever grace the silver screen.
Happy 100th Birthday Ingrid Bergman. Thank you for a lifetime of entertainment. Rest In Peace.