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Asta Nielsen
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    (September 11, 1881-May 24, 1972)
    Born in Copenhagen, Denmark
    Acted in ‘The Abyss’ (1910), ‘The Militant Suffragette’ (1913), ‘Zapata’s Band’ (1916), ‘Mata Hari’ (1920), ‘Hamlet’ (1921) and ‘Joyless Street’ (1925)
    She had a daughter out of wedlock at age 18.
    At her most famous, she was known by her first name only.
    She starred in a bizarre version of ‘Hamlet’ in which Hamlet was actually a woman.
    Her name was used to sell cigarettes and perfume.
    Like Mary Pickford, she sometimes played children in her 30s.
    Her erotic dancing in some of her films shocked the censors.
    She was married five times.
    The poet Guilllaume Apollinaire called her ‘the drunkards’s vision and the lonely man’s dream.’
    Her parents died when she was in her early teens.
    She braved public scorn by refusing to marry the father of her child.
    She was one of the first international movie stars.
    Her androgynous looks stood at a time when most actresses were full figured.
    Greta Garbo said, ‘In terms of expression and versatility, I am nothing to her.’
    She refused Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels’ offer of a studio and fled Germany.
    Her daughter committed suicide in 1964.

Credit: Georgina

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