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Ingrid Bergman

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Ingrid Bergman was born in Stockholm, Sweden on August 29, 1915. Her mother, Friedel Adler Bergman, a Hamburg, Germany native, died when Ingrid was just three years old. Ingrid’s father, Justus Samuel Bergman, a Swede, raised Ingrid until his death, when she was 12. Justus, who owned a photography shop, encouraged Ingrid’s artistic pursuits and even caught some scenes of her as a small child with a motion picture camera. Many years later, the famous director Ingmar Bergman (no relation), with whom Ingrid worked, compiled and edited these home movies. After her father’s death, Ingrid was left to the care of an unmarried aunt, who died within months, and she eventually spent her teenage years with an uncle and his family.

As a teenager, Ingrid appeared as a film extra, in addition to acting in productions at the private school she attended. After graduating in 1933, she attended the Royal Dramatic Theater School in Stockholm for a year, during which time she made her professional stage debut. Her first speaking role in a film came in Swedish director Gustaf Molander’s "Munkbrogreven" in 1935, in which she played the maid of a hotel that sold illegal liquor.

The Move to Hollywood

In 1936, Ingrid made the film that would change her life. The picture "Intermezzo," written and directed by Molander, tells the story of a famous violinist who has an affair with his daughter’s piano teacher, played by Ingrid. Her performance caught the attention of Hollywood film producer David O. Selznick, who bought the rights to remake the film in Hollywood with Ingrid in the starring role. Between making the two versions of "Intermezzo, Ingrid worked on the Swedish films "En Enda Natt" ("Only One Night") and "En Kvinnas Ansikte"("A Woman’s Face), among others, and the German film Die Vier Gesellen.

In 1939, at David O. Selznick’s request, Ingrid made the transition to Hollywood. With this move she began a career that would span five decades, win her three Oscars, two Emmys and a Tony Award, and see her image go “from saint to whore and back to saint again,” as Ingrid once described it herself. The Hollywood version of "Intermezzo: A Love Story"was a success, and resulted in Selznick signing Ingrid to a seven-year contract. While she only made two movies with Selznick during the duration of their contract, Ingrid made several other movies and starred in some stage productions during these years as well.

The combined forces of Ingrid’s angelic natural beauty, which she did not embellish with the heavy makeup worn by most actresses at the time, and Selznick’s desire to cast her in “wholesome” roles, won her both the adoration of American audiences and an impeccable image that would follow her throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Ingrid had married Swedish dentist and later neurosurgeon Petter Lindstrom in 1937, and gave birth to a daughter, Friedel Pia, in 1938. Her roles as wife and mother further contributed to her seeming fulfillment of society’s expectations for females and the morality of the period. Both this stereotyping of her image on-screen and the public’s perception of her family life would change dramatically in the years to come as a result of her career choices and her relationship with Roberto Rossellini.

Ingrid’s roles in Hollywood films, including "Adam Had Four Sons" and "Rage in Heaven," both in 1941, helped to create this pure persona. However, she wanted to spread her wings as an actress by taking on more diverse roles. She was originally cast as Dr. Jekyll’s fiancÐ"©e in the 1941 version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," with Lana Turner as a barmaid named Ivy Peterson. Ingrid approached Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and the movie’s director, Victor Fleming, and asked to switch parts with Lana. The change allowed both Ingrid and Lana to portray characters very different from the ones they usually played. While some critics balked at this alteration to Ingrid’s usual on-screen persona, the role of Ivy Peterson gave her a chance to show some of her incredible range as an actress. She had also been showing her range in different media, debuting on Broadway in Liliom in 1940 and starring in a production of Eugene O’Neill’s "Anna Christie" in 1941.

Ingrid’s most famous and enduring role came in 1942, when she played Humphrey Bogart’s long-lost love, Ilsa, in the wartime romance "Casablanca." The film was a box office success at the time and has become an enduring classic, giving Ingrid a place in the hearts of fans for years to come. She then took the role of Maria in the film version of Ernest Hemingway’s novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls" in 1942, beating out Norwegian ballet dancer Vera Zorina. While she had not been nominated for "Casablanca," Ingrid was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in "For Whom the Bell Tolls." The Oscar still proved elusive, however: she lost the award to Jennifer Jones for "The Song of Bernadette."

Ingrid was to win her first Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of a Victorian housewife who was being driven to insanity by her husband in the 1944 film "Gaslight." The next year, she was nominated for Best Actress again, for the film "The Bells of St. Mary’s," but lost to Joan Crawford. Then, Ingrid worked on two films with Alfred Hitchcock: "Spellbound" (1945), and "Notorious" (1946), opposite Cary Grant. Many consider this second Hitchcock film to be Ingrid’s finest work.

Ingrid returned to Broadway in 1946, playing Joan of Arc for 25 weeks in the play "Joan of Lorraine," to much acclaim. It also won her a Tony Award for Best Actress. In 1948, she starred in the film version of this play and was nominated for the Academy

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