Greta Garbo Net Worth

February 16, 2023
2 mins read

Greta Garbo was born in Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden on 18 September 1905, of Swedish ancestry, and was a noted actress, probably best known as “Anna Karenina”, but overall one of the greatest female stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema. She passed away in 1990.

A respected actress, how rich was Greta Garbo? Sources estimate that Greta’s net worth would be over $50 million, accumulated during her career in the entertainment industry which began in the 1920s. Her assets included a New York apartment at the Campanile, and an expensive art collection including works from artists such as Renoir and Bonnard.

Greta Garbo Net Worth $50 million

Greta Garbo was born to parents Anna Lovisa Karlsson, a worker at a jam factory, and Karl Alfred Gustafsson, a laborer. Their family was very poor, living in an apartment in the slums. Even as a child, Greta became interested in amateur theatre, participating at the Mosebacke open theatre, and dreaming of becoming an actress. She left school at age 13 and, typical of slum girls during that time, she did not attend high school but started working at that age – Greta’s first job was a soap-lather girl in a barber shop.

Later on, she worked in a department store’s hat section, and since she was pretty and showed much promise, she got a job modeling hats for the store’s catalog, which opened up more opportunities for Greta as a fashion and commercial model for women’s clothes. However, Greta’s first brush with the film industry came in 1922, when she was discovered by Director Erik Petschler, and given a part in his comedy, “Peter the Tramp”. She took two years of acting school and subsequently starred in two minor films.

Her film caught the attention of Louis Mayer from MGM Studios, who was absolutely enamored with Greta, saying “I can make a star out of her.” Greta was taken aboard a ship to New York at 20 years old, although she didn’t even know how to speak a word of English! Greta was subsequently crafted by MGM into the top-billing actress during the 20s, starring in “Torrent”, “The Temptress”, “Flesh and the Devil”, “A Woman of Affairs”, and many others. Her inability to speak English did not affect her career, because it was the silent film era at that time. Her glamorous presence, her acting skills, and her on-screen chemistry with her male lead actors (especially John Gilbert) made her into a star.

The ‘30’s transition to sound film was still met with continued success. “Anna Christie”, “Romance”, “Inspiration”, and especially “Mata Hari” and “Grand Hotel”, her two most famous roles, were all hits for Greta. Her salary was pegged at $300,000 per film at that time in the 1930s, and this was where Greta established a major part of her net worth and assets. However, what became her last role, the romantic comedy “Two-Faced Woman”, was deemed a critical failure, and she lost all passion for acting after that flop, and went into early retirement. After that film, the Second World War erupted and although she signed up for more projects, none materialized.

Although her career as a film actress was her most lucrative, Greta’s net worth can also be credited to many other sources. She began collecting art in the 1940s, by artists such as Renoir, Kandinsky, Bonnard, and Jawlensky. At that time, she paid a small sum for those paintings, but when she died her art collection was appraised to be worth millions of dollars.

In her personal life, Greta never married, had no children and lived alone even during her senior years; her most famous and publicly known romance was with her co-star John Gilbert during the 1920’s, but she had many rumoured relationships at different stages throughout her life. In general, she made no public appearances and was very secretive about her private life. Greta died at 84 years old in April 1990, in New York City, and left a sizeable investment of stocks and bonds worth around $50 million to her niece, Gray Reisfield.

Daniel Wanburg

As the Managing Editor at Net Worth Post, I lead a talented team in delivering compelling content on the lives and achievements of influential figures. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, I oversee the production of insightful biographies that resonate with our audience. My role involves not only managing the editorial process but also conducting research, crafting engaging narratives, and ensuring the accuracy and quality of our publications.

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