Today's Memory

Today’s Memory – Ingrid Bergman

29 - Ingrid-Bergman-1915-1982

Ingrid Bergman

29 August 1915, Stockholm – 29 August 1982, London


Ingrid Bergman was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films, television movies and plays and whose natural charm, freshness, intelligence, and vitality made her the image of sincerity and idealized womanhood.

Bergman was only two years old when her mother died, and about a decade later her father also passed away. Although she was shy, she long dreamed of becoming an actress, and she worked assiduously for admission to the Royal Dramatic Theatre School in Stockholm, where she studied for a year. Her first credited film appearance was in Munkbrogreven (The Count of the Old Monk’s Bridge; 1935), and it was followed by challenging roles in such Swedish films as the original Intermezzo (1936) and En kvinnas ansikte (A Woman’s Face; 1938). In 1939 she starred in the Hollywood version of Intermezzo with Leslie Howard, which was a box-office hit.

Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939)

Several films later Bergman became a star with the romantic drama Casablanca (1942) with Humphrey Bogart and Paul Henreid, one of cinema’s most iconic films.

Casablanca (1942) „Play it Sam, Play As Time Goes By” Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Sinatra sings

Casablanca I Still Love You

Now highly sought after, Bergman appeared in a series of critical and commercial successes that included For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), which was based on Ernest Hemingway’s novel, and the film noir Gaslight (1944). In the latter movie she starred as a woman whose husband (Charles Boyer) attempts to drive her mad, and her performance earned her an Academy Award for best actress.

Gaslight (1944) You Think I’m Insane

Bergman received another Oscar nod for her portrayal of a nun in The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945). During this time she also earned acclaim for two thrillers directed by Alfred Hitchcock: Spellbound (1945), in which she played a psychiatrist attempting to help an amnesiac patient (Gregory Peck), and Notorious (1946), an espionage drama that costarred Cary Grant. Bergman continued to show her impressive range by playing the titular character in Joan of Arc (1948), for which she received her fourth Academy Award nomination.

Spellbound (1945)

During the filming of Stromboli (1950), Bergman began a love affair with the Italian director Roberto Rossellini, and they had a son before she obtained a divorce from her first husband. A scandal ensued – a U.S. senator notably called her “a horrible example of womanhood and a powerful influence for evil” – and she was banned in Hollywood, returned to Europe, where she appeared in Italian and French films such as Europa ’51 (The Greatest Love; 1952) and Viaggio in Italia (Journey to Italy; 1954). During this time she married Rossellini, and the couple had two more children.

Europa 51

Ingrid Bergman made a triumphant Hollywood comeback in Anastasia (1956), for which she won her second Academy Award. She continued to appear in Hollywood productions, including The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958), as well as in European films. She won her third Oscar, for best supporting actress, for her role in the highly successful film Murder on the Orient Express (1974). However, most agree that her greatest performance in her later years was as a concert pianist in the Swedish film Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata; 1978), directed by Ingmar Bergman; she received her seventh and final Academy Award nomination for the drama. Her last role was that of Golda Meir, the Israeli prime minister, in the television play A Woman Called Golda (1981). For this role she was posthumously awarded an Emmy Award in 1982.


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