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Background Biography - Page 2

From quintessential "good girl" to Hollywood heavyweight

The combined forces of Ingrid's angelic natural beauty, which she did not embellish with the heavy makeup worn by most actresses at the time, and Selznick's desire to cast her in "wholesome" roles, won her both the adoration of American audiences and an impeccable image that would follow her throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Ingrid had married Swedish dentist and later neurosurgeon Petter Lindstrom in 1937, and gave birth to a daughter, Friedel Pia, in 1938. Her roles as wife and mother further contributed to her seeming fulfillment of society's expectations for females and the morality of the period. Both this stereotyping of her image on-screen and the public's perception of her family life would change dramatically in the years to come as a result of her career choices and her relationship with Roberto Rossellini.

Ingrid's roles in Hollywood films, including "Adam Had Four Sons" and "Rage in Heaven," both in 1941, helped to create this pure persona. However, she wanted to spread her wings as an actress by taking on more diverse roles. She was originally cast as Dr. Jekyll's fiancée in the 1941 version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," with Lana Turner as a barmaid named Ivy Peterson. Ingrid approached Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and the movie's director, Victor Fleming, and asked to switch parts with Lana. The change allowed both Ingrid and Lana to portray characters very different from the ones they usually played. While some critics balked at this alteration to Ingrid's usual on-screen persona, the role of Ivy Peterson gave her a chance to show some of her incredible range as an actress. She had also been showing her range in different media, debuting on Broadway in Liliom in 1940 and starring in a production of Eugene O'Neill's "Anna Christie" in 1941.

Ingrid's most famous and enduring role came in 1942, when she played Humphrey Bogart's long-lost love, Ilsa, in the wartime romance "Casablanca." The film was a box office success at the time and has become an enduring classic, giving Ingrid a place in the hearts of fans for years to come. She then took the role of Maria in the film version of Ernest Hemingway's novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls" in 1942, beating out Norwegian ballet dancer Vera Zorina. While she had not been nominated for "Casablanca," Ingrid was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in "For Whom the Bell Tolls." The Oscar still proved elusive, however: she lost the award to Jennifer Jones for "The Song of Bernadette."

Ingrid was to win her first Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of a Victorian housewife who was being driven to insanity by her husband in the 1944 film "Gaslight." The next year, she was nominated for Best Actress again, for the film "The Bells of St. Mary's," but lost to Joan Crawford. Then, Ingrid worked on two films with Alfred Hitchcock: "Spellbound" (1945), and "Notorious" (1946), opposite Cary Grant. Many consider this second Hitchcock film to be Ingrid's finest work.

Ingrid returned to Broadway in 1946, playing Joan of Arc for 25 weeks in the play "Joan of Lorraine," to much acclaim. It also won her a Tony Award for Best Actress. In 1948, she starred in the film version of this play and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, although the film itself was not a commercial success.

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