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Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ingrid! (and RIP)

 Today's post marks the fiftieth post on this blog, and a great way to celebrate would be to write about one of my favorite actresses ever, Ingrid Bergman. Though I always liked her movies, I really started paying attention to her more and liking her better around the beginning of this year. And, now, of course, she is one of my Top Five.

Also, any good Ingrid fan will know that today is also her death date (dying on her birthday, out of all 365 days of the year, makes Ingrid even awesomer). But I always like to think of August 29th as a celebration of her life, and especially since this year it will mark my last day of summer vacation, I think I'll end it on a high note -- by celebrating her life, which, frankly, my dear, was quite interesting!

Ingrid Bergman was born on August 29th, 1915 in Stockholm, Sweden. From a young age she expressed a love of acting. Her parents died when she was still young and she found her on her own in the world. When a teenager, she won a scholarship to the prestigious Royal Dramatic Theater, where Greta Garbo had also studied. She practiced there for a short period of time. After appearing in a small role as an extra in a Swedish film, she turned her love to the movies. About this time she married a family friend and dentist, Petter Lindstrom. Her career in the Swedish cinema began to flourish and she also made several films for a German studio. She gave birth to her first daughter, Pia. By then plans had already been made for Ingrid to go to Hollywood, under the guidance of the famed producer David O. Selznick (who was already deeply engrossed in the filming of "Gone With the Wind"), and make a English version of "Intermezzo". Shortly after giving birth to her daughter, she traveled to the States and thus began her American career. Movies like "Gaslight" (which would win her her first Oscar), "Notorious" (among two other pictures for Hitchcock), and "The Bells of St. Mary's" would follow, but the single movie that would embolden her into film history was her role as the luminous Isla Lund opposite Humphrey Bogart's Rick in "Casablanca", the enduring classic. One of the big stars of the Golden Era, off screen Ingrid felt trapped in her marriage and sometimes indulged in affairs... among others, with the wartime photographer Robert Capa or the director, Victor Fleming. This was in striking contrast to her movie star persona, who, no matter how controversial the role may be, was marketed as "St. Ingrid of Stockholm" - pure, natural, and virginal. In 1949, she wrote to the Italian director Roberto Rossellini and said she had watched one of his films and would love to work with him. The plans were made for Ingrid to star in Rossellini's "Stromboli" - by the time she headed to Italy to make the picture in 1950, she had begun an affair with him. This time, she became pregnant with his baby, shocking the American public off their feet. Suddenly, she was condemned and driven out the country by angry moral guardians. (One senator even took to the floor of the U.S senate to condemn her, calling her a "powerful influence for evil").  She divorced Lindstrom quickly and married Rossellini. She would live in Italy for about five years, making Rossellini pictures that did not do so well and having two more children (twins, one of which became the actress Isabella Rossellini). America forgave her with the film "Anastasia", which would win her her second Oscar. After that, she divorced Rossellini and returned to her work in American pictures. Marrying one more time and winning a third Oscar (a Best Supporting Actress for her work in "Murder on the Orient Express"), Ingrid became an enduring face.  Her last role was as Golda Meir in a TV documentary, and it would win her a posthumous Emmy. She died from a cancer she had been long suffering from on her sixty-seventh birthday in 1982 (London, England).

Some Trivia
  • Ingrid was a movie star who embraced her job and loved it with all her heart; she once dramatically declared, "If you took acting away from me, I'd stop breathing!" (I like that.... if you took writing away from me, I'd stop breathing!)
  • She became orphaned at a young age. When she was two years old, her mother died. When she was thirteen, her father died. She was sent to live with an aunt, who, in succession, died shortly after as well.
  • As a young girl (and throughout her life), she idolized St. Joan of Arc. Not exactly for religious reasons, but for the fact that she admired Joan's enduring bravery. She would play her in a movie in the late 40's, but despite the fact she was nominated for an Oscar, it was not a success at the box office.
  • After watching the Richard Burton / Liz Taylor episode of "Here's Lucy", she, too became intruiged with the idea of appearing on Lucy's show. An episode was put into works but because of tax problems Ingrid was forced to back out. The episode eventually became Ginger Rogers' vehicle and was called "Tea for Two." (I read this in "The Lucille Ball FAQ" and, as much as I love Ginger, went "ARE YOU SERIOUS?? INGRID AND LUCY COULD'VE WORKED TOGETHER???". If only!!!)
And some of my favorite Ingrid pictures...

Looking all awesome and chic, probably on the set of "Indiscreet", her 1958 movie with Cary Grant

Ingrid cuddling with a kitten - how ADORABLE is that?? hmm??

Come on. This is just an awesome picture. You know it is. (I think it's for "The Arc of Triumph", her second pairing with Charles Boyer, who was yesterday's birthday boy).

Of course, I've made Ingrid a birthday video on Frankly My Dear TV. So... the song I used is "She's Like the Wind" by Patrick Swayze. Yeah, yeah, I know - it's a corny, cheesy, way too 1980s song. It really has some of the most awful lyrics ever: "She's like the wind -- through my tree" among many. But I had to pick a song, and I was running out of time, so I went with this. I think the music (forget about the lyrics) kind of fits Ingrid, doesn't it? Anyways, I also did kind of a look back at Ingrid's life, though most of the clips are from her 1940's movies, there's more variety and variation in this video then I have done before. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think ;)

Well, that's my birthday blog for Ingrid! Tomorrow is my first day of school.... s i g h. I guess I'll write about that tomorrow.


PS: I thought I should tell you all I saw "Now, Voyager" yesterday and I LOVED it!!! So romantic and sweet and great script. ;) More on that on Sunday. 


Irene Palfy said...

Hi, Rianna!

Great - really GREAT - post for Ingrid Bergman - liked it very much! Thank you for writing it.

Hope you'll have an easy (re-)start in school tomorrow.. ;")

Meredith said...

Wonderful post. Ingrid's my favorite actress :)

Rianna said...

@Irene - I'm happy you liked it! Thanks, I hope so too ;) It's never easy for me to go back to school after so many days of doing nothing but relaxing!

@Meredith - Thank you!! I love her so I wanted to do her justice ;) Glad you liked it.

Irene Palfy said...

yes, always a cruel change.. "from heaven to earth" ... ;")

Rianna said...

I know! My sentiments exactly! ;)

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