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Summary Article: Bergman, Ingrid
From Chambers Biographical Dictionary


Swedish film and stage actress

Ingrid Bergman was born in Stockholm. After studying at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, she was offered a contract by Svensk Filmindustri and made her film debut in Munkbrogreven (1934, "The Count of Monk's Bridge"). Unaffected and vivacious, she was signed by David O Selznick to appear in an English-language remake of Intermezzo (1939, with Leslie Howard), the story of a tragic romance between a concert pianist and a married violinist, and became an immensely popular romantic star in such films as Casablanca (1942), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Gaslight (1944), which won her a first Oscar for best actress, Spellbound (1945) and Notorious (1946, with Cary Grant). Despite attempts at unsympathetic parts, the characteristics she most compellingly conveyed were goodness and stoicism in the face of suffering.

In 1950 she gave birth to the illegitimate son of director Roberto Rossellini. The ensuing scandal led to her being ostracized from the US film industry. She continued her career in Europe, making films with Rossellini that included Stromboli (1950) and Viaggio in Italia (1954, "Journey to Italy"). After separating from Rossellini she was welcomed back by Hollywood in 1956, won an Academy Award for her part in Anastasia, and played missionary Gladys Aylward in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958). In later years she worked on stage and television, notably in Hedda Gabler (1963), A Month In The Country (1965) and Waters of the Moon (1978).

Her last film was Ingmar Bergman's Autumn Sonata (1978), a deeply felt exploration of a mother-daughter relationship. She was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, and won a third Award for Best Supporting Actress in Murder on the Orient Express (1974). In 1982 she played Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in a television production A Woman Called Golda, for which she won an Emmy award.

  • Bergman, Ingrid, My Story (1980); Spoto, Donald, Notorious: The Life of Ingrid Bergman (1997).

"How dare he make love to me and not be a married man?"

- Line spoken by Ingrid Bergman in Indiscreet, 1958.

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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