Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Ingrid Bergman

Go To

"I can do everything with ease on the stage, whereas in real life I feel too big and clumsy. So I didn't choose acting. It chose me."

Ingrid Bergman (August 29, 1915 — August 29, 1982) was a Swedish actress. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, and the Tony Award for Best Actress in the first Tony Award ceremony in 1947. She is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American Film Institute. She is widely remembered for her performance as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942) and is known as one of Hollywood's greatest classical beauties.

In her lifetime, Bergman had the reputation of being the World's Most Beautiful Woman, and created a legendary scandal in the 1940s when she abandoned her husband and child, started an affair with married director Roberto Rossellini, and became pregnant on the set of Stromboli. This scandal was denounced on the floor of the US Senate, with Bergman becoming more or less Persona Non Grata in America. She had written to Rossellini after seeing his film Paisan and wanted to make serious films, and their resulting love affair and brief marriage resulted in three children and five movies. After their breakup, she returned to the stage and became more sporadic, with Autumn Sonata being her last serious role.

Mother of Isabella Rossellini. Not to be confused with, and not related to, another famous Swede in the film industry, Ingmar Bergman (though he did direct her once in Autumn Sonata AND later married a woman named Ingrid, thus sharing his last name).

Notable roles:


  • Awesome, Dear Boy:invoked She lobbied for Charles Boyer to play Gregory alongside her in Gaslight, even though his contract stipulated top billing, because she wanted to work with him.
  • Contractual Purity:invoked American audiences came to remember her best for playing Joan of Arc or a nun in The Bells of St. Mary's, despite having plenty of more varied roles in her filmography; even her most famous one technically has her as an adulteress. As such, it was a huge scandal when she left her husband for Roberto Rosselini, even being denounced on the floor of the US senate. A popular narrative surrounding her was that the scandal led to her being blacklisted by Hollywood, when in actuality, she merely moved to Europe to make different films from the ones she was making there (which is how the affair happened in the first place).
  • Creator Backlash:
    "I made so many films which were more important, but the only one people ever want to talk about is that one with Bogart."
  • Dawson Casting:invoked In Anastasia, she was 41, and the real Anastasia would have been 27 at the time the story takes place.
  • Died on Their Birthday: Passed away on her 67th birthday.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:invoked She cut her hair short to play Maria in For Whom the Bell Tolls. This would have a knock-on effect for Casablanca (see below).
  • Enforced Method Acting:invoked As Gaslight was shot out of order, George Cukor would recap the entire events of the story up until the scene to be filmed that day to get her in the right mindset. She initially grew tired of this and they stopped doing it, but the studio noted that the performances afterwards weren't as good, so they resumed.
  • Fake Nationality:invoked She played Joan of Arc, who was of course famously French. And in For Whom The Bell Tolls, she plays the Spanish Maria.
  • Playing Against Type:invoked
    • In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, she was in the running for the role of The Ingenue but she requested to play the bad girl to do something different. Lana Turner then ended up in the other role, also going against type.
    • Gaslight was also this. She normally played very strong-willed and independent women, and she herself was unsure about playing a character who spends most of the movie being psychologically tortured.
  • Real Life Writes the Hairstyle:invoked An example preventing a change. The plan was to refilm the "As Time Goes By" sequence in Casablanca with a new piece of music, but Ingrid had cut her hair for For Whom The Bell Tolls, which made reshoots impossible. "As Time Goes By" is of course now considered an iconic part of the film.
  • Reality Subtext:invoked The storyline of Anastasia was about a former royal reclaiming her throne, and the press salivated over comparing it to Ingrid's own departure from Hollywood and touted it as her comeback. It would end up paralleling real life, since the film has Anastasia deciding not to reclaim the throne, and the actress continued to work in Europe with only the occasional Hollywood picture.
  • Romance on the Set:invoked
    • Infamously with Roberto Rosselini on the set of Stromboli, and she left her husband for him.
    • She and Gregory Peck had a brief affair during Spellbound.
  • Scully Box: She was unusually tall for a leading lady at the time, requiring quite a number of her male co-stars to stand on a box, wear platforms or employ other tricks so they wouldn't appear diminutive next to her. She once quipped that her favorite male co-star was Gary Cooper because she didn't have to take her shoes off to stand next to him.
  • Small Reference Pools: She's highly regarded as one of the greatest stars of the '40s and for her work with Alfred Hitchcock but few have seen her films with Rossellini or Elena and Her Men. Her film with Ingmar Bergman, Autumn Sonata, is well known, however.