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Thursday, June 17, 1999 Published at 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK


Greta Garbo goes home at last

Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor in the film Camille

Swedish film star Greta Garbo has been remembered at a special memorial service in her home city, the day after her ashes were finally buried there.

The reclusive star died aged 84 in 1990, and her niece Gray Reisfield had her ashes kept in a mortuary in New York while she decided where they should go.

On Wednesday, Garbo's ashes were interred in Skogskyrkogaarden, the cemetery in southern Stockholm where Garbo's parents are buried, after a private ceremony.

The following day, a memorial service was held to remember the screen legend, who withdrew from public life at the age of 36 in 1939.

A friend of Garbo's, Lena Bioerck Kaplan, said: "She had a deep love of nature - typical of any Swede - and now she has come home to the beautiful Skogskyrkogaarden cemetry."

Only 35 people were invited to the service, but it was broadcast on Swedish television in an attempt to reconcile Garbo's desire for privacy with the public's demand for news of her.

Bagpipes ended ceremony

[ image: Greta Garbo died in 1990 in New York]
Greta Garbo died in 1990 in New York
US ambassador Lyndon J Olson Jr said: "Greta Garbo was the first Swedish actress to become a Hollywood superstar. In every film, her performance was magic. On behalf of America, we wish for Greta Garbo eternal peace."

Her ashes lay buried beneath a stone inscribed with her signature in gold, next to a place where people often rest and meditate.

The hour-long ceremony ended with participants following bagpipe players in kilts to the grave, where they laid flowers in flowers in the front of the grave stone, decorated with a blue and yellow ribbon.

Other European countries and the United States had all offered burial places for Garbo's ashes.

Garbo rose to fame after starting her working life in a barber's shop at 14.

She appeared in 10 silent and 14 sound films, and moved to the US in 1923, becoming an American citizen.

She stunned Hollywood by quitting public life at the age of 36.

Garbo lived for nearly 50 years as a near-recluse in a luxury apartment in Manhattan's East Side. She never went back to Sweden again after 1975, saying she feared being pestered by the press.

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