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A Happy Incident Regarding Garbo

April 29, 1990

I thoroughly enjoyed Mike Spencer's article concerning his "run-in" with Greta Garbo ("First Person," April 17).

I am mystified always, however, by stories that refer to Miss Garbo's reclusiveness. My memory of her seems to belie this observation, although the overwhelming evidence leads us to believe that general opinion.

I met Miss Garbo in 1948 or 1949 in the Village in New York at the ASTI Restaurant, a wonderful Italian club where the waiters and bartenders all sing opera. A waiter came to me at the bar and told me that a gentleman at a certain table wanted to talk to me.

When I went to the table, I was greeted by one of (President Franklin) Roosevelt's sons (I do not remember which son, but perhaps he was James?), and he introduced me to the lady at the table, Greta Garbo. She said she wanted to ask me some questions, questions about what I did, where I came from. When I told her I was an art student, she asked me about my work and my opinion about several artists.

She was very encouraging with regard to my desire to become an opera scenic designer. I went back to the bar, flattered to heaven, to listen to some more singing, and then, they were gone. She seemed so very outgoing. . . . It is still a mystery to me why she appeared so reclusive to others. I was extremely fortunate.


United Scenic Artist

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