“Casablanca” star Ingrid Bergman, the Swedish actress who won three Academy Awards, would have been 100 today.
“When people hear my mother’s name, they immediately think of glamour, or the awards, or the success and the fame,” her daughter, Isabella Rossellini, an actress in her own right, tells Vanity Fair. “But Mother worked in five languages . . . and made films in Italy, Sweden, and Germany; she lived in France and worked in the theater. . . . She had this incredible sense of curiosity and adventure.”
Rossellini is helping celebrate her mother’s centennial in several ways: Including a new book, “Ingrid Bergman: A Life in Pictures,” and the documentary, “Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words, which debuted at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It features Swedish “Ex Machina” actress Alicia Vikander reading Bergman’s personal diaries and letters, set to family photos and home movies, according to Vanity Fair.
She and her siblings are also taking part in the New York Museum of Modern Art’s film tribute to her mother, which beings tonight.
Bergman was born August 29, 1915 in Stockholm and died in 1982 on the same day. Bergman was a star in Sweden, thanks to the 1936 film, “Intermezzo,” before she was brought to America by “Gone With the Wind” producer David O. Selznick in 1939. According to Selznick’s son, his father at first thought Bergman needed a lot of work. “She didn’t speak English, she was too tall, her name sounded too German, and her eyebrows were too thick.” However, Bergman refused to conform to American standards of beauty. She insisted on keeping her natural brows and on keeping her own name.
She starred in an American remake of “Intermezzo” before going on to film the classic “Casablanca” in 1942. She won her first Best Actress Oscar for her role in “Gaslight” (1944) as a wife whose husband (Charles Boyer) tries to drive her insane. She went on to star in two memorable Alfred Hitchcock films “Spellbound,” with Gregory Peck and “Notorious” with Cary Grant.
She also starred as a nun in “The Bells of St. Mary’s” and as the virgin heroine in “Joan of Arc,” which made it all the more scandalous when it was revealed she was pregnant by a man who wasn’t her husband: Italian director Roberto Rossellini, with whom she was making the film “Stromboli.” She was famously denounced on the Senate floor and banned from talk shows. “People saw me in Joan of Arc and declared me a saint. I’m not. I’m just a woman, another human being,” she later said.
Bergman continued making movies with Rossellini, with whom she had children Robertino, Isabella and Isotta Ingrid Rossellini.
But Hollywood loves a comeback story and with the 1956 film “Anastasia,” Bergman was back with her second Best Actress Oscar win. When she accepted her award (from Cary Grant), she received a standing ovation. She went on to win her third Oscar for her supporting role in 1974’s all-star “Murder on the Orient Express.”
Her final role, for which she won an Emmy Award, was that of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in “A Woman Called Golda.” She died of breast cancer four months after filming finished.
Bergman’s other films include “Cactus Flower,” “Autumn Sonata,” “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” and “Indiscreet,” which reteamed her with Grant.