Greta Garbo : Quotes

There is no one who would have me - I can't cook.

Being a movie star, and this applies to all of them, means being looked at from every possible direction. You are never left at peace, you're just fair game.

You don't have to be married to have a good friend as your partner for life.

I wish I were supernaturally strong so I could put right everything that is wrong.

Life would be so wonderful if we only knew what to do with it.

Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.

[on her famous "Grand Hotel" quote] I never said, "I want to be alone". I only said, "I want to be left alone". There is a whole world of difference.

I don't want to be a silly temptress. I cannot see any sense in getting dressed up and doing nothing but tempting men in pictures.

The story of my life is about back entrances, side doors, secrets elevators and other ways of getting in and out of places so that people won't bother me.

If only those who dream about Hollywood knew how difficult it all is.

Your joys and sorrows. You can never tell them. You cheapen the inside of yourself if you do. There are some who want to get married and others who don't. I have never had an impulse to go to the altar. I am a difficult person to lead.

[asked in her later years by a fan if she is Greta Garbo] I WAS Greta Garbo.

If you're going to die on screen, you've got to be strong and in good health.

There are many things in your heart you can never tell another person. They are you, your private joys and sorrows, and you can never tell them. You cheapen yourself, the inside of yourself, when you tell them.

I live like a monk: with one toothbrush, one cake of soap, and a pot of cream.

[on secrets] Every one of us lives his life just once; if we are honest, to live once is enough.

[1926, on Hollywood] Here, it is boring, incredibly boring, so boring I can't believe it's true.

[1932, on her recreational preferences] If I needed recreation, I liked to be out of doors: to trudge about in a boy's coat and boy's shoes; to ride horseback, or shoot craps with the stable boys, or watch the sun set in a blaze of glory over the Pacific Ocean. You see, I am still a bit of a tomboy. Most hostesses disapprove of this trousered attitude to life, so I do not inflict upon them.

[1932, on another factor contributing to her decision to shun publicity] I am still a little nervous, a little self-conscious about my English. I cannot express myself well at parties. I speak haltingly. I feel awkward, shy, afraid. In Hollywood, where every teat table bristles with gossip writers, what I say might be misunderstood. So I am silent as the grave about my private affairs. Rumors fly about. I am mum. My private affairs are strictly private.

[1932, on director Mauritz Stiller, the nature of her relationship with him and the part it played in cultivating her well-publicized preference for privacy over publicity] Stiller's death was a great blow to me. For so long I had been his satellite. All Europe at that time regarded Stiller as the most significant figure in the film world. Directors hurried to the projecting rooms where his prints were shown. They took with them their secretaries and, in the dim silence, they dictated breathless comments on the wide sweep of his magnificent technique. Stiller had found me, an obscure artist in Sweden, and brought me to America. I worshiped him. There are some, of course, who say it was a love story. It was more. It was utter devotion which only the very young can know - the adoration of a student for her teacher, of a timid girl for a mastermind. In his studio, Stiller taught me how to do everything: how to eat; how to turn my head; how to express love - and hate. Off the screen I studied his every whim, wish and demand. I lived my life according to the plans he laid down. He told what to say and what to do. When Stiller died I found myself like a ship without a rudder. I was bewildered - lost - and very lonely. I resolutely refused to talk to reporters because I didn't know what to say. By degrees I dropped out of the social whirl of Hollywood. I retired into my shell. I built a wall of repression around my real self, and I lived - and still live - behind it.

My talents fall within definite limitations. I am not as versatile an actress as some think.

Is there anything better than to be longing for something, when you know it is within reach?

If you are blessed, you are blessed, whether you are married or single.

There are some who want to get married and others who don't. I have never had an impulse to go to the altar. I am a difficult person to lead.

I smoke all the time, one after the other.

I have been reading other life stories. Some people were born in red brick houses, others in plain white board ones. What is the difference? We were all born in houses. I will not have it printed that I was born in this house or that; that my mother was this or my father that. They were my mother and my father, just as yours were your mother and your father. To me that is what counts. Why should the world talk about them? I don't want the world to talk about my mother and my father.

[on her childhood] I was up and down. Happy one moment. The next moment, there was nothing left for me.

There seems to be a law that governs all our actions, so I never make plans.

I'm tired and nervous and I'm in America. Here, you don't know that you live.

[on America] It is bitter to think of one's best years disappearing in this unpolished country.

[1927 interview] Let's not talk of me! It is New Year's Eve. In Sweden, that means so much, so very much. There, we go to church and eat and drink and see everybody we know. I have been blue all day. At home, in Stockholm, they are skiing and skating and throwing snowballs at one another. The cheeks are red - oh, please, let's not talk of me.

[1927] I was born; I grew up; I have lived like every other person. Why must people talk about me? We all do the same things in ways that are just a little different. We go to school, we learn; we are bad at times; we are good at other. We find our life work and we do it. That's all there is to anyone's life story, isn't it?

The creative artist should be a rare and solitary spirit. My work absorbs me. I have time for nothing else.