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Ingrid Berman began her film career in Sweden, where she eventually caught the eye of producer David O. Selznick, who convinced her to come to Hollywood.
Her hard work ethic and natural screen presence quickly allowed her to reach new heights with acclaimed performances in Casablanca, Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious, and Gaslight (for which she won an Oscar).
Her fans often associated her with the wholesome characters she portrayed, so when word got out that she not only had an affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini but was pregnant and intending on marrying him, the scandal rocked her career.
Her infidelity was such a hot topic that it was even denounced on the floor of the Senate by Senator Edwin C. Johnson who stated she had “perpetrated an assault upon the institution of marriage.”
As a result, Bergman moved to Italy where she continued to make films, though not for American audiences.
When 20th Century-Fox purchased the rights to the French play Anastasia, director Anatole Litvak envisioned Bergman in the title role and offered her the part without the studio’s permission.
But a negative cloud still surrounded Bergman’s image. In fact, when Ed Sullivan asked his viewers their opinion on her, it was overwhelmingly negative, and the behind-the-scenes footage that they shot from Anastasia never aired on his popular television series.
Regardless of the controversy, Bergman’s performance earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress. Since she didn’t attend the ceremony, Cary Grant accepted the award in her place.
He stated, “Dear Ingrid, if you can hear me now or if you see this televised film, I want you to know that each of the other nominees and all the people with whom you worked on Anastasia and dear Hitch and Leo McCarey and everyone of us here tonight in New York send you our congratulations, our love, our admiration, and every affectionate thought.”
When Bergman heard the news in Paris, she couldn’t help but cry.