Family & Companions
A highly popular actress known for her fresh, radiant beauty, Ingrid Bergman was a natural for virtuous roles but equally adept at playing notorious women. Either way, she had few peers when it came to expressing the subtleties of romantic tension. In 1933, fresh out of high school, she enrolled in the Royal Dramatic Theater and made her film debut the following year, soon becoming Sweden's most promising young actress. Her breakthrough film was Gustaf Molander's "Intermezzo" (1936), in which she played a pianist who has a love affair with a celebrated--and married--violinist. The film garnered the attention of American producer David O. Selznick, who invited her to Hollywood to do a remake. In 1939 she co-starred with Leslie Howard in that film, which the public loved, leading to a seven-year contract with Selznick.
Selznick promoted Bergman's wholesomeness from the beginning. He loaned her to other studios for "Adam Had Four Sons," "Rage in Heaven" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (all 1941). In the latter film, Bergman's insistence on playing the role of the prostitute rather than the good fiancee proved a shrewd move. She then starred with Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca" (1942), perhaps her most popular film, and was also featured with Gary Cooper in "For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)." She won her first Oscar for her portrayal of a wife nearly driven mad by Charles Boyer in "Gaslight" (1944).
The following year, Bergman had starring roles as a New Orleans vixen with Cooper in "Saratoga Trunk," a psychiatrist opposite Gregory Peck in Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound" and a nun opposite Bing Crosby's priest in "The Bells of St. Mary's." Bergman's last picture under contract to Selznick, and probably her finest work, was Hitchcock's "Notorious" (1946), an emotionally complex espionage film in which she played a woman bent on self-destruction until redeemed by the love of a federal agent, played by Cary Grant.
Bergman then went freelance, first playing a prostitute in "Arch of Triumph" and then the constrasting "Joan of Arc" (both 1948), a role she had played to great acclaim on Broadway in 1946. Her final film for Hitchcock was the 1949 period piece, "Under Capricorn." These last three films, however, failed at the boxoffice and were hardly representative of her finest acting, serving as an unusual harbinger of the turn of the tide to follow.
Bergman's personal and professional life went into a tailspin in 1949 after she left her husband, Dr. Petter Lindstrom, for Italian director Roberto Rossellini, by whom she was pregnant. She married Rossellini, a union which produced three children and six films of varying artistic merit, beginning with "Stromboli" (1949) and achieving its finest moments in "Voyage in Italy" (1953). The international scandal (she was even denounced in Congress) tarnished her innocent image and, extraordinarily, led to her being barred from American films for 7 years.
Bergman's career began to recover with her appearance in Jean Renoir's "Paris Does Strange Things" (1956). She made a triumphant return to Hollywood with "Anastasia" (1956), for which she won her second Oscar, a sign that her sins had been officially forgiven. In 1957, her marriage to Rossellini was annulled and the following year she married theatrical producer Lars Schmidt.
Thereafter, Bergman began branching out into TV and stage roles. The films of this later period of her career were of varying quality, but she gave a delightful performance in the adaptation of the Broadway comedy, "Cactus Flower" (1967). She received a third Academy Award for her supporting role in "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974) and won acclaim for her co-starring role with Liv Ullmann in Ingmar Bergman's "Autumn Sonata" (1978), an intense drama about a pianist and her daughter.
Bergman's health began to fail in the late 1970s, though she fought off cancer long enough to complete a TV-movie, "A Woman Called Golda" (1982), in which she portrayed Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. The performance earned her an Emmy, her final honor.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Film acting debut in "Munkbrogreven/Count from Munkbro/The Count of the Monk's Bridge"
In Hollywood; debut in "Intermezzo" (remake of earlier Swedish film (1936) which she also starred in)
Broadway debut in "Liliom" (dir. Gregory Ratoff)
Senator Edward C. Johnson attacked RKO for exploiting Bergman's behavior in ads for the Italian import "Stromboli" (1950) and denounced her as "a powerful influence for evil" in the US Senate on March 14; he also called for the licensing of filmmakers and stars, so that permits could be revoked if they were found guilty of mortal turpitude
After Jean Renoir's "Elena et les hommes/Paris Does Strange Things" (France, 1955), returned to Hollywood for "Anastasia"
US TV debut as Miss Giddens in John Frankenheimer's adaptation of "The Turn of the Screw"