Born in Stockholm, Sweden, on August 29, 1915 - Ingrid Bergman was one of the greatest actresses from Hollywood's lamented Golden Era. Her natural and unpretentious beauty and her immense acting talent made her one of the most celebrated figures in the history of American cinema. Bergman is also one of the most Oscar-awarded actresses, second only to Katharine Hepburn.
Before she came to Hollywood in 1939, she was already an established actress in Sweden. She had completed 11 Swedish films when producer David O. Selznick invited her to come to Hollywood to reprise her role in the American version of her biggest hit, Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939) opposite Leslie Howard. Her performance in her American debut captured America's heart. She later appeared in Adam Had Four Sons (1941), Rage in Heaven (1941) and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941). However, it was Casablanca (1942) that launched her to superstardom, establishing her as a romantic leading lady. The pairing with Humphrey Bogart made them one of the best romantic cinema couples of all time and the film still vows audiences, more than 60 years after its release. In 2002 the American Film Institute named Casablanca (1942) as the top American love story of all time, beating such favorites as Gone with the Wind (1939) and West Side Story (1961). Ironically enough, both Bogart and Bergman tried to quit the film during shooting, feeling that the story was ridiculous and unbelievable. Bergman herself said at the time that she hoped it would never be shown again after she died.
After Casablanca (1942), she became Hollywood's top box-office draw. All of her films became smash hits; she starred opposite Gary Cooper in Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), which she cited as her personal favorite film. She also gave an Oscar-winning performance as the persecuted wife of Charles Boyer in George Cukor's Gaslight (1944) and Leo McCarey's very popular The Bells of St. Mary's (1945). Later, she worked with the master himself, Alfred Hitchcockin Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946) with Cary Grant and the less successful Under Capricorn (1949).
Bergman suffered a sudden and disastrous fall from grace after her affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini, which began when she filmed Stromboli (1950) with him, and caused a scandal in the US because she was married at the time. After being exiled from Hollywood for seven years, she came back with Anastasia (1956), which garnered her a second Academy Award. After all the years she spent away from Hollywood, she still managed to maintain her status as a major star, as the success of films like Indiscreet (1958) and The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) showed. In the 1960s she concentrated in stage work and television appearances, collaborated with her third husband Lars Schmidt, who was also a theatrical producer, in such plays as The Turn of The Screw (1960) and Twenty-Four Hours in a Woman's Life (1961). She didn't appear in as many films after the 1960s as she had before, but she continued to win awards and accolades from the film industry. One of her last performances was in Murder on the Orient Express (1974), for which she won her final Academy Award. Later she worked in Ingmar Bergman's Höstsonaten (1978) and a TV mini-series, A Woman Called Golda (1982) (TV). In these two pieces Bergman gave the performances of her lifetime, a fitting end to an extraordinary career and life. She died in her sleep at the end of her 67th birthday, 29th of August 1982.
Ingrid Bergman will always be remembered as Bogart's lost love Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942). It's sad because she also gave spectacular performances as Maria in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Paula Alquist in Gaslight (1944), Dr. Constance Peterson in Spellbound (1945), Alicia Huberman in Notorious (1946), the title role in Anastasia (1956), Gladys Aylward in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) and Charlotte in Höstsonaten (1978). She worked in films, television and on the stage in New York, London, Paris, Rome and Stockholm. She worked right up to her death. In 1999 she was ranked #4 in the American Film Institute's list of greatest female screen legends. As Humphrey Bogart said, "Here's looking at you kid", and until this day, we are still looking at you, Ingrid!