Saturday, August 25, 2012

I Vant to Be Alone: Greta Garbo Memorabilia Set for Auction

Personal items once belonging to the late film goddess Greta Garbo are set to go to auction in Los Angeles this December.

The Swedish-born Garbo was as famous for her eccentric, recluse behavior as she was for her iconic roles in such classic films as Ninotcha, Grand Hotel, Anna Karenina and Camille. Her incredible natural beauty and detached, aloof European attitude made her one of the greatest stars of Hollywood's fabled Golden Age. She was nominated four times for an Academy Award, although she never won.

She abandoned Hollywood at the height of her fame in 1941 after making the film Two-Faced Woman, never to grace the Silver Screen with her presence ever again. She retired to an apartment in New York City, where she lived out the rest of her life in relative seclusion, occasionally being photographed near her residence in Manhattan, wearing large glasses and hats to conceal her identity.

She will forever be associated with her line in the film Grand Hotel, "I vant to be alone".  Garbo was never married or had children, but had several famous lesbian romances, including a practically lifelong, volatile relationship with author and poet Mercedes de Acosta. There were also rumored dalliances with actor John Gilbert and author Erich Marie Remarque, who was also involved with another European film goddess Marlene Dietrich. Garbo died at the age of 84 of pneumonia and kidney failure in New York City in 1990.

Now, Garbo's great-nephew Derek Reisfield is set to auction off many of his great-aunt's mementos at Julien's Auction house in Los Angeles on December 14-15. Many of the items are as quirky as the star herself, including an inflatable snowman once kept in her living room to entertain her nieces and nephews. Also going under the hammer are salt and pepper shakers in the shape of geese, a vintage waffle iron, a cymbal playing chimpanzee toy, as well as a pineapple-shaped table lamp.

Other personal items expected to bring top dollar include Garbo's American passport (She became a naturalized American citizen in 1950). Also included in the auction are pieces of her glamorous wardrobe, with designer haute couture gowns by Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo along with a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk. 

For more information about the auction, you may visit Julien's website here. 


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