Monday, August 30, 2010

The Notorious and Wonderful Ingrid Bergman

by Julia Buckley
The beautiful Ingrid Bergman was born on August 29th in 1915; she died on the same date in 1982, on her 67th birthday. Bergman is not the only notable figure to die on the date of her birth--William Shakespeare is another famous example. But it fascinates me, that ironic repetition of a certain day of the year as it relates to one individual.

One of my favorite mystery movies is Gaslight, for which Bergman won an Oscar. The 1944 George Cukor film starred Bergman as the haunted Paula Alquist, unknowingly persecuted by her husband, the sinister Gregory Anton (played by Charles Boyer). I fell in love with Joseph Cotton for being the cop who didn't think Paula was crazy.

When I was a youngster, I remember my mother's admiration for Bergman, and her condemnation of the America that turned its back on her when she left her husband for Roberto Rossellini, the Italian director with whom Bergman fell in love while they were both married to other people. Bergman's affair (so tame by today's standards) caused such a scandal that she was renounced on the floor of the Senate, and Ed Sullivan refused to let her appear on his show.

Bergman eventually married Rossellini, but their union lasted only seven years. Still, from that marriage came a son and twin daughters, one of whom, Isabella Rossellini, is an actress of some renown.

Bergman was reluctant to return to the America which had cast her out, and when she won an Oscar in 1957, she was not present at the ceremony. The statue was accepted by her friend, Cary Grant. When she finally did reappear at the Oscars the next year, she was given a standing ovation; her exile had ended. One site opines that the coverage of Bergman's affair was the beginning of tabloid journalism.

Bergman earned her second Oscar for Anastasia, and a third in 1975 for her unforgettable role in the film version of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express; but of course she may be best remembered for her role in the classic Casablanca, in which she starred with Humphrey Bogart.

You can learn more about Bergman and the highlights of her career at the official Ingrid Bergman website.


Sheila Connolly said...

The summer after I graduated from college I spent in London, working at Simpsons Piccadilly (a veddy traditional department store at Piccadilly Circus). Mainly I worked in mens' sportswear.

One day Ingrid Bergman walked in, with a male companion. Since this was England, everybody was very respectful, but nobody failed to notice her, and she definitely had an aura. Which was only slightly tarnished when she bought the single ugliest shirt in the shop, a blue silk number with stylized people on the front.

Julia Buckley said...

Wow! How old was she then? That would indeed be a memorable brush with fame.

Julia Buckley said...

Come to think of it, Sheila, you always have really cool anecdotes!

David Cranmer said...

A great woman and actress. GASLIGHT, CASABLANCA, ORIENT EXPRESS, NOTORIOUS etc. What a career.

And the idea that politicians have the right to condemn anybody is ludicrous.

Julia Buckley said...

Isn't it?

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