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© THE NEW YORK TIMES, May 4, 1936:

Greta Garbo Back – A Bit Less Aloof: Film Star, Still Showing the Effects of Illness, Consents to 10-Minute interview

Greta Garbo Back from SwedenWon’t appear on stage. Too nervous to face public, she says – to resume her work in West at once.

Greta Garbo, film actress, returned yesterday on the motor ship Gripsholm of the Swedish American Line after a year’s visit in her native Sweden.

The star travelled alone and under the name “Mary Holmquist” without secretary or maid. Before the ship had docked she had planned to speed to the Coast to resume her career almost immediately.

For the first time since she achieved international eminence in the motion-picture world, Miss Garbo granted an interview to the press and received the reporters en masse in the smoking lounge while the ship was at Quarantine. The event was arranged by the purser.

Grants 10-Minute Talk

To think over what they were going to say to her during the ten-minute meeting, Miss Garbo gave the reporters a half hour. She set as conditions that the reception was to be formal and that the interviewers, on its close, were to allow her to return to her cabin. After the reporters’ thirty-minute wait was over she entered the room.

The 30-year-old Swedish film actress looked exceedingly pale and seemed nervous on meeting the press men at close range. She was dressed in black twill suit, a gray scarf, and low heeled oxford shoes. She was without powder, rouge or lipstick. Her reddish blonde hair, straight to the ends where it curled, fell to her collar. Her eyes were caverned by shadow paint and her long lashes were mascaraed. Asked her reason for evading the press for so many years she replied:

“I don’t think it’s necessary to see the press so much when one is in motion picture work. People ought to feel that which you want to express.”

Questioned as to whether she would go on the stage, she replied: “I’m so terribly nervous. I’ll never go on the stage because of that. To be seen in the movies is enough; I will not speak on the radio.”

Startled by Photographers

During the interview the news photographers flashed their bulbs continuously. At first Miss Garbo seemed startled and said, ”This is so strange – what are they doing?”

She had an attack of grip in Sweden and did not enjoy her long holiday there. “I haven’t been well,” she said. “I was sick most of the time.”

Greta Garbo by Anon 1926“Have you lost any weight?” the actress was asked.
“I don’t think so.”

“Did you spend the year in your home in Sweden?”
“I have no home. I am just a wanderer.”

“Are you glad to be back?”
“Very much. When one has been so long in a country one grows to like it.”

Although Miss Garbo was so pale from the effect of her illness, and appeared to be weary, the ship’s officers said that she exercised vigorously on the voyage and played deck tennis daily with the doctor and purser. She rose at 6 every morning and had an hour’s walk around the deck in “men’s slacks” without attracting the attention that the informal costume would have done later in the day. The actress said that she was on her way to Hollywood to play “Camille” from Alexandre Dumas’s novel for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and would leave for the Coast almost immediately. An hour after the Gripsholm had docked at the foot of West Fifty-seventh Street the film star left by the lower level baggage gangplank.

A woman held out a letter of introduction she said was written by a mutual friend, and Garbo said coldly: “I never accept letters.” She also refused to write her name for autograph hunters or to pose for newsreels.

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