Ingrid Bergman was born on this day in 1915, in Stockholm, Sweden, and died on this day in 1982, in London (hanging on just long enough to die on her 67th birthday). She is best known (to me anyway) for her roles in Casablanca (1942) Gaslight (1944), and Murder on the Orient Express (1974), but with 50 movies under her belt and three Academy Awards (with four additional nominations), her impact on film is difficult to overstate.
Bergman’s natural beauty and reputation for naiveté and sweetness perhaps amplified the outrage in America when she left her husband and child in 1949 to run off with Italian filmmaker Roberto Rosselini, whom she later married. Bergman was harangued on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and some theaters cut her final scenes in Joan of Arc, in which she prays to Jesus, feeling that an adulteress could not portray such a thing. She did not return to the United States until 1956, but upon her arrival, she declared defiantly, “I have never regretted what I did. I regret things I didn’t do. All my life I’ve done things at a moment’s notice. Those are the things I remember. I was given courage, a sense of adventure and a little bit of humor. I don’t think anyone has the right to intrude in your life, but they do. I would like people to separate the actress and the woman.”
She also said, rather pithily, “Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get.” Smart lady.
Some Bergman trivia:
- Bergman had a face that cameramen loved for its “bulletproof angles,” meaning she could be shot from any angle.
- In 1972, an apology for the attack made on her 22 years earlier in the Senate was entered into the Senate record.
- She was fluent in five languages.
- She was great friends with Ernest Hemingway, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and Alfred Hitchcock.
- Rather tall, she reputedly enjoyed working with Gary Cooper, because she did not have to take off her shoes.
- She won the “Triple Crown” of acting, having earned at least one Oscar, Emmy, and Tony award.
- When David Lynch first met Isabella Rossellini, he was struck by her beauty. He told his friend that she could be Ingrid Bergman’s daughter. His friend replied with “You idiot, she is Ingrid Bergman’s daughter!” (Hat tip to Scott for this fun fact!)
Here’s a gif (also courtesy of Scott) of Bergman dancing rather awkwardly (a trait she and I have in common) in Cactus Flower:
Have a wonderful day, Avocados!