A sultry and mysterious beauty, she is still remembered today through her famous line from Grand Hotel in 1932, “I want (vant) to be alone.” The line was actually “I want to be left alone.”, but the public said it their way and it immediately became a part of her perceived persona. Not able to speak a word of English and having started out in silent films with The Joyless Street in 1925, by 1930 she had learned enough English to star in her first talkie, Anna Christie, which received critical praise. From there she made a number of well received films including Mata Hari, Grand Hotel, and the most important film of her career, Anna Karenina.
World War II interrupted Garbo’s film career and though she wanted to continue, the right project didn’t come along until deep in her retirement, which at that point she turned down. Never married, she had left an early fiance, frequent co-star, John Gilbert, at the alter realizing that she could never lead a life of compromise. However, frugal to the extreme, she invested well, primarily in stocks and bonds, acquired a valuable art collection and was able to provide for a comfortable, if secluded, retirement. At the time of her death, her estimated estate was worth near $57 million.
In 1950, Garbo purchased an apartment in New York City overlooking the East River, where she was able to watch the shipping channel activity all the way to New York Harbor that reminded her a lot of her home in Sweden. She lived there in deep seclusion until her death in 1990. The property stayed in the family until now when they recently put it on the market.
The Campanile is a 14-story co-op built in 1927 that has 16 apartments and a swimming pool with water views on a quiet cul-de-sac in the Beekman Place-Sutton Place with numerous restaurants and neighborhood shopping. The 2,855-square-foot apartment encompasses the entire fifth floor and still has much of Garbo’s original decor such as the Fortuny silk on the walls and headboard in the master bedroom.
Rooms consist of a large living room with working fireplace, formal dining room, library, large kitchen that includes locking silver and wine cabinets and breakfast area overlooking river views, three bedrooms, three baths, a home office with custom desk and built-ins and a laundry/utility room. Other features include plenty of storage and cedar-lined closets. Rooms receive sunlight from all sides due to the setbacks of the buildings on either side.
The apartment is listed with William A. Kerr II, William A. Kerr III, and Brian Lewis of Halstead Property and is asking $5.95 million.
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