THE ONLY TRUE STORY OF GRETA GARBO’S PRIVATE LIFE by Sven-Hugo Borg
DID GARBO LOVE STILLER?
AFTER this interview the gear-shift that combined Miss Garbo with the Metro Goldwyn-Mayer studio seemed more than ever in need of repair, as gradually the Star
rose to her zenith.
As we drove down to the beach that afternoon, Miss Garbo stepped on the accelerator to the tune of sixty-five miles per hour.
Not a word was exchanged between us. Who knows ? Perhaps at that time she fully realized that she was “ licked and therefore had to take it out on something. After a while she turned, to me with an alluring side glance and said: “Borg, sometimes I could kill you, but you are just a big boy with no sense. Let us get Something to eat.” We stopped ‘at a little Italian café, and enjoyed a very wonderful meal together. Garbo was in a talkative mood. She said to me:
”Borg, people say that I am in love with Mauritz, don’t they? That is not true. Borg, I have never been anything to any man, not even Mauritz. I do not love him that way, nor he me. I am afraid of him and I think we are finished as it has been before, although I shall always think he is the greatest man in the world.
“You have seen me, Borg, sit on his lap and smoke with bins the same cigarette. You have seen him hold me like a child. It is so good when his arms are around me, for sometimes I am afraid. But it is not love, Borg.”
And, in spite of all that has been said of Garbo’s love for Stiller, I believe her, for I have seen them often together. ,later, when Garbo and John Gilbert were “going places “ together, Stiller would cail me.
“Borg,” his low, deep voice would rumble, have you seen Greta?”
”I have not, Mr. Stiller,” I would reply. Is there any message?” ”No,” he would rumble, “ except to tell her to remember what I have taught her never to let life hurt her.” He knew that she was going about with Gilbert, and his attitude was not that of a jealous man, but of a father who would shield his daughter from hurt Stiller was a strange man. His artistic soul loved the finer, more subtle forms of passion, and it is doubtful if he ever loved a woman—any woman.
GARBO’S LOVE OF CHILDREN
GARBO’S talkative mood passed and she became sad, morose. She drew a deep breath.
”I am so homesick and lonely, Borg. I wish I were home with my poor mother. I wonder if this is all worth it?”
My next is a most astounding revelation about Garbo, one that the world will find hard to believe. A little Italian baby crawled toward us, and Garbo’s face became transfigured. With arms outstretched she talked baby talk to him, and when his mother had come and taken him away Garbo said to me:
”Borg, some day I want a little one like that—all my own.”
I have often noticed this inclination of hers towards children. I have seen the mother-hunger on her face too often not to believe what she said, People have, perhaps, placed Garbo on too high a pedestal. They have made it difficult for her to live a normal life, and it is difficult for them to visualize their goddess with normal womanly instincts; nevertheless they are there.
Finding Garbo in a receptive mood, I wanted to get a few things off my chest.
“Now that you have come to your senses,” I told her, “ I want to tell you something. You have felt that Louis B. Mayer is a hard man. One day in his office we talked about you, and this is what he said to me:
’Borg, that girl thinks I am a hard, unreasonable man and that I am paying her a salary far below what she is worth. She forgets that it was I who took all the risk. She has acted like a fool and ought to be spanked, but unless she behaves herself she will regret it. I could show you many letters and wires, Borg, from boys and girls who acted silly, as she has, even though it was I who gave them their first opportunity, and every one of them express sorrow and regret for their actions.”
“Mr. Mayer wants to be fair with you,” I told Garbo, “and if you have any sense you will listen to him, and some day he will make you a great star.”
”Borg, you are only a big boy, anyhow,” was her usual answer—which she also autographed on to the picture she gave me.
During the first week of The Temptress Garbo received a letter from a prominent New York lawyer who, like many others, had been watching the progress of her affairs and was willing to help her straighten out her difficulties direct with the New York office of the Studio. She handed me the letter.
“Tell him nothing can be done,” she instructed me, “ and say what you like yourself.”
In one paragraph of my letter to the attorney I said: ”The difficulties between Miss Garbo and the Studio are, in my opinion, the fault of Miss Garbo; but as Mr. Louis B. Mayer, President of the Studio, holds Miss Garbo in high regard, I am certain that everything will be brought to a satisfactory termination.”
When the lawyer’s reply came to Garbo she was furious with me, for he had advised her to discharge such a disloyal secretary. Had I been employed by her, instead of by the Studio, she would have done it.