Who was Ingrid Bergman? For much of her turbulent life, the public could not decide: Was this luminous Swedish actress the embodiment of pious devotion as portrayed in her saintly roles such as Joan of Arc? Or was she an unrepentant harlot who abandoned her husband and child to have an affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini?
In this sprawling biography, Bergman emerges as a devoted artist whose refusal to be a caricature caused her endless trouble - but also produced brilliant performances, from her early role opposite Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca to her profound and final appearance as Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. In between, there were four children (including actress Isabella Rossellini), three husbands, and passionate affairs with war photographer Robert Capa, Wizard of Oz director Victor Fleming, and Spellbound co-star Gregory Peck.
Over her forty-seven-year career, Ingrid Bergman performed in fifty-five movies - in five languages and seven countries - and eleven stage productions, picking up three Oscars along the way. In the words of one biographer, she was "arguably the most international star in the history of entertainment." And, without a doubt, one of the most misunderstood.
Ingrid Bergman (29 August 1915 – 29 August 1982) was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films. She won many accolades, including three Academy Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, four Golden Globe Awards, and a BAFTA Award. She is best remembered for her roles as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942), and Alicia Huberman in Notorious (1946). Bergman was born in Stockholm to a Swedish father and a German mother, and started her career as an actress in Swedish and German films in the 1930s. Her introduction to American audiences came with her starring role in the English-language remake of Intermezzo (1939). At her insistence, producer David O. Selznick agreed not to sign her to a contract—for four films, rather than the then-standard seven-year period, also at her insistence—until after Intermezzo had been released. Selznick's financial problems meant that Bergman was often loaned to other studios. Apart from Casablanca, her performances from this period include Victor Fleming's remake of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Gaslight (1944), and The Bells of St. Mary's (1945). Her last films for Selznick were Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945) and Notorious (1946). Her final film for Hitchcock was Under Capricorn (1949). After a decade in American films, she starred in Roberto Rossellini's Stromboli (1950), following the revelation that she was having an extramarital affair with the director. The affair and then marriage to Rossellini created a scandal in the U.S. that forced her to remain in Europe for several years, after which she made a successful return to working for a Hollywood studio in Anastasia (1956), for which she won her second Academy Award. Although she acted in several Hollywood films in subsequent years, they were all shot in Europe, and she did not film in Hollywood again until 1969. According to the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, Bergman quickly became "the ideal of American womanhood" and a contender for Hollywood's greatest leading actress. In the United States, she is considered to have brought a "Nordic freshness and vitality" to the screen, along with exceptional beauty and intelligence; David O. Selznick once called her "the most completely conscientious actress" he had ever worked with. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Bergman as the fourth-greatest female screen legend of Classic Hollywood Cinema...