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In Garbo’s footsteps

Here’s a photo from the August 31 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a Swedish actress who was apparently about to become a star in Hollywood.

Zarah Leander (1907-1981) did not wind up going to Hollywood, as she had school-aged children. Instead, she went to Germany, signing with the state-owned UFA film agency and appearing in a number of popular movies during the Second World War. While she never became a Nazi or socialized with Nazis, she became controversial because some of her films were often considered pro-German propaganda.

In 1943, she returned to Sweden, dodging offers for roles in future UFA films despite being contractually obligated to appear in one more. After the war, she appeared on the stage in Sweden, and eventually toured Austria and Germany to appear in front of nostalgic audiences. A senior Soviet intelligence officer claimed that she had been a Soviet spy, but she denied this.

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