She got her first job at the age of six selling newspapers
Her school records show that she was a ‘fair’ but lazy student, who was always daydreaming. The only subject that interested her was History.
Greta is known as a timeless beauty, but not everything came naturally. She once said that she had been on a diet since age fifteen. She also had her own beauty routine, for instance she often brushed her teeth with salt before she went to bed.
Greta was prone to depressions and tried to feel better through Eastern philosophy and a health food regiment. However, she never gave up smoking and cocktails.
She reportedly requested Gary Cooper as her co-star for several of her films, but nothing ever materialized.
Greta received her biggest paycheck for Anna Karenina: 275.000 dollars.
She was Adolf Hitler’s favorite actress. The feeling was not mutual though: Greta helped British agents by identifying influential Nazi sympathizers in Stockholm and carrying messages.
Anne Frank had a picture of Greta on her wall in the ‘Secret Annex’ in Amsterdam where she and her family hid during WWII.
Greta refused to sign autographs, answer fan mail and rarely gave interviews. She never appeared at award ceremonies or premieres. Some thought this was done on purpose, to gain a mysterious image, but this was not the case. She was a shy introvert and shunned publicity all of her life. The studio eventually decided they could capitalize on this and subsequently created the image of ‘the woman of mystery’.
It was said that Marlene Dietrich was brought to the United States by Hollywood to compete with the popular Greta. People constantly compared the two during their respective careers. Greta did not mind, but it reportedly annoyed Marlene very much.
Greta was not a big spender and invested her money wisely. Although she had not worked for a long time, she was worth millions when she passed away.
Art collector Samuel Adams Green was a good friend of Greta and with her permission he taped many of his phone conversations with her. After his death in 2011, the tapes were finally made public when they were given to the film archives at the Wesleyan University.
The rumor that Greta was bisexual or lesbian is very persistent. A lot of biographers believe it to be true and silent film star Louise Brooks once stated that she had had an affair with Greta. Fuel is still added to the fire: in 2005 her friend Mimi Pollak released part of their correspondence and several of the letters indicate that Greta had romantic feelings towards Mimi.
Her grandniece Lian Gray Horan (granddaughter of Greta’s brother Sven) admitted that it took Greta a long time to warm up to the idea of new people. Lian had been with her husband for seven years and married for two years, before Greta wanted to meet him. Once she did, she immediately embraced him as part of the family, though.
Her nephew said in an interview that it is hard to take care of her legacy since ‘there is more myth than reality’ surrounding his aunt.