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Background Biography - Page 3

Scandal and Adversity

In 1949, Ingrid wrote a fan letter to Italian director Roberto Rossellini, expressing her desire to work in one of his films. He responded by writing a part for her in his 1949 film "Stromboli." During the production of this film, Ingrid and Rossellini began an affair that would change her previous wholesome image forever and cause her to lose many fans in America. Ingrid was still married to Petter Lindstrom at the time, although their marriage had not been happy for many years. Rossellini was still married to another woman as well, although they were separated. Ingrid became pregnant, and she and Rossellini sought divorces from their respective spouses so they could marry each other. Ingrid gave birth to a son, Roberto, before the couple were married in 1950. Moralists and fans in America expressed outrage at this seeming downfall of their former idol and denounced her as immoral. Although her marriage had been unhappy for quite some time, the public had only seen Ingrid's saintly image before, and balked at the revelation of her affair. United States Senator Edwin C. Johnson of Colorado even criticized Ingrid, condemning her publicly as "a powerful influence for evil."

Ingrid lived in Italy with Rossellini, away from America's outrage, and made five movies with him between 1950 and 1955. Among these films was "Europa '51" in 1952, which was released the same year she bore twin daughters, Isabella, who later became a famous model and actress, and Isotta. Ingrid did not work with any filmmakers besides her husband until 1956, when she made the film "Elena et les hommes" with French director Jean Renoir. This film began to resurrect her career in the eyes of international audiences, although she had enjoyed success in Italy with her Rossellini films.

The Triumphant Return

Ingrid returned to Hollywood in 1956 to star in "Anastasia" and her marriage to Rossellini ended months later in 1957. This return to Hollywood further rejuvenated her career, and Ingrid began to regain much of her former popularity in America, in addition to winning another Oscar for Best Actress for "Anastasia." Around this time she also married Lars Schmidt, a theatrical producer from Sweden.

Over the next decade, Ingrid worked in films, television and on the stage. She won an Emmy in 1959 for the television miniseries adaptation of Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw". She made her London theater debut in 1965 with the play "A Month in the Country." Ingrid also starred in the play "More Stately Mansions" back in the States in 1967.

In 1974, Ingrid won a Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar for "Murder on the Orient Express." In the years since her separation from Rossellini, Ingrid had regained much of her previous adoration from her American fans. Her career was coming to a close, however. In 1975, in the same year she divorced third husband Lars Schmidt, Ingrid found out that she had breast cancer. Despite her failing health she continued to work and completed her last film, Ingmar Bergman's "Autumn Sonata," in 1978.

Ingrid's last acting role was in the 1982 television miniseries "A Woman Called Golda," in which she portrayed Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, a role that won her both an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Then, on August 29, 1982, on her 67th birthday, Ingrid lost her seven-year battle with cancer, and died in her London home. Her funeral was held in the Swedish church in West London. Her remains were cremated and her ashes were scattered off the coast of Sweden except for a tiny part, which were kept to be interred in the Norra Begravningsplatsen cemetery in Stockholm.

In her absence, Ingrid Bergman has left fans worldwide with an enduring legacy of over 50 films that are evidence of her lifelong dedication to the art of acting.

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