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Garbo: A Biography

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  295 ratings  ·  20 reviews
No other twentieth-century artist in or out of film so captivated the world or spent so much energy trying to hide from it. To bring her out of hiding, Barry Paris draws on a wealth of hitherto unavailable material - ranging from Garbo's drama school notebooks and her unpublished letters to an astonishing set of a hundred taped conversations, recorded during her later year ...more
Hardcover, 654 pages
Published February 21st 1995 by Knopf (first published 1994)
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Strangerealms
I read this book without watching her movies. I had heard about her introversion and eccentricities. I thought we had a few things in common, (I'm introvert and eccentric too), but I mean similar eccentricities. If I had the money I'd gladly pay 30 times the same pair of shoes when I find one that I like very much, enough for a lifetime. I've heard Garbo did it her, she had the money. I never read biographies so I'm not knowledgeable in that genre. I picked the biography by Paris, I heard he was ...more
Ashley
I haven't read a lot of them, but this was the best early Hollywood biography that I've read. It was entertaining without being gossipy, and the author had actually done extensive research and interviews before writing it. What a shocker - doing your homework actually works. The book focuses upon Garbo's life from her childhood in Sweden to her time in Hollywood to her jetsetting around the globe and to her walks around NYC. Rather than trying to create a persona, it presents the picture of a co ...more
Tara
A good read, but Garbo is a difficult subject. Barry Paris does his best to fill in the blanks but perhaps there really isn't much to tell. Greta Garbo was intensely reserved, which makes you wonder why she ever became an actress. Perhaps to escape poverty, and live out her fantasies. Garbo's early life is fascinating but, for all the Hollywood mythmaking, her years after fame were spent in retreat. Even now her name is a byword for stardom, yet few will have seen her films. Which is a pity beca ...more
Leah
I read this sometime around the first year published.... I'd like revisit and read it again. Greta Garbo was my first Old Hollywood obsession, followed by Ingrid Bergman and then Marilyn Monroe.
Sarah
Excellent, as are all of Barry Paris' works.
Francesca
An understanding though effusive paean to Greta Garbo. This book made me want to watch Garbo's films, most of which I've overlooked because I've always just thought of her as a mediocre actress with a beautiful face. (Many who worked with her thought she was actually brilliant, which was a surprise.)

Garbo's introversion, unconventionality, and humble beginnings turned some people off--particularly the media--which led them to paint her as a cold, narcissistic recluse. But she was so much more co
...more
Jason
The best work on Garbo and as well written and intelligent as the authors' biography of Louise Brooks.
Dar
What an interesting woman. Barry Paris made Garbo come alive for me: I laughed out loud at some of her antics, wondered why someone of her friends didn't throttle her for some of her rudeness, and shed a tear at her death. I own 10 of her movies and am fascinated by how she can speak volumes without uttering a word; all she has to do is move an eyebrow or the corner of her mouth. The only negative about the book is it's length - it could have been a little shorter.
Hala Pickford
There might be newer books on Garbo, but I really do like this one and it seems well researched. My only complaint is an update is sorely needed. The copy I had made note of ‘Acosta’s letters will be unsealed in 2000′…a decade ago. Unfortanitly Paris ran with the gay thing because he assumed these letters had something in them that proved it. Garbo was probably occasionally bi, but more asexual than anything.
Loni
The wealth of information certainly deserves a good rating. Garbo probably would have found such probing horrifying. Sources are reliable and interesting... the only thing that lacks is some spice. At times it reads rather tediously but that is not so surprising considering the details that have been researched.
Lauren
Not a book I could get trough in print. Interesting character sketch but the woman basically sounds insufferable and her life long attempt to schemes to public eye got tedious fast.
Ashley
Sep 19, 2010 Ashley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of classic movies, those interested in cultural history, garbo lovers
Shelves: biographical
a telling portryal of the enigmatic and anomalous character of garbo and how that is similar and different than what the media portrayal of this star usually is.
canned ice
Dec 04, 2008 canned ice rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in early hollywood
one of the best bios i've read. shes had a very interesting life and is definately one of my favorite Hollywood stars of the past.
Penelope
Amazing boigraphy on the talented, shy, beautiful, silent-strong movie actress. Greta Garbo is mesmerising.
Vicky
It as a little long. It was interesting tho. I kept putting it down and then up again.
Ria
Absolutely wonderful, what an amazing, fascinating yet complex person.
Rebekah Lazaridis
I keep falling asleep. Is that wrong or just how Garbo would do it?
Anne Marshall
Didn't finish. It was a bit dense reading.
Lesley
a very close look at the stars life, very good
Mary Narkiewicz
One of the best biographies of Greta Garbo.
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