Marta Toren Profile

Marta Toren
Marta Toren
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(Märta Torén)
21 May 25 is born in Stockholm, Sweden, into an upper-middle class family. Her father is Helge Toren, a major in the Life Guards regiment and, later, advertising manager for one of the daily newspapers.
her childhood is unremarkable although marred by the loss of her sister at an early age and the divorce of her parents. She is described as a sensitive girl with dreams of becoming an actress, but her yen to act is also balanced by a shyness about performing.
30 begins ballet lessons under the renowned Vera Alexandrova. The lessons will continue until age 14 and will help her to partly overcome her shyness.
44 applies to Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre. Her first try for the Theatre fails because she lacks experience. To pay for additional dramatic and voice coaching, she takes a job as a typist at the Department of Defense, where she will remain for three years.
47 reapplies to the Royal Dramatic Theatre and is accepted, one of only 8 selected from 112 applicants. She will remain there only one year, becoming a dedicated student under Anna Norris, a teacher who also coached Ingrid Bergman.

Her only professional acting experience is a part in a savings bank commercial for an honorarium of SEK 40, about $10.00.
47 is discovered by screen writer Edwin Blum while he is in Stockholm working on a script for RKO. The story is to be set in Sweden, with Cary Grant in mind for the male lead, and Blum is also looking for a possible female lead. The local RKO rep introduces Blum to the director of the Theatre, who cannot think of anyone suitable from the current crop of students. Suddenly he remembers one girl who happens to be in a student play at that very moment, so the two men spend some time watching Marta on stage in a routine performance. In coversation afterwards, she is fairly cool to Blum's idea of a Hollywood contract. She thinks it is too far-fetched and unlikely to lead anywhere. Blum insists on a screen test, which he improvises using his own script and borrows for the male part an officer at the U.S. Military Attache's office. Her English is serviceable, and when she warms to a particular scene, Blum notices a spark in her performance, so he makes a definte offer. She agrees, and Blum rushes back to California with the test reel. It turns out RKO is no longer interested, but Universal-International is and offers her a seven-year contract.
Late 40s sometimes rebels at the artificiality of appearing at nightclubs, enjoying a meal she doesn't get to eat, or being escorted by a young man she barely knows and who would be described in the press as her latest love interest
48 her current film, Rogue's Regiment, is a challenge for her because it calls for her to sing. "I can't sing a note," she tells Louella Parsons with characteristic candor. She takes more singing lessons and finds they help her language fluency as well. Of singing "Blue Skies" she says, "there was something about the rhythm that made it easy for me to speak English." The studio decides not to dub her voice.
her lack of familiarity with American slang sometimes makes her the butt of jokes. Rogues Regiment ends with her character and that of Dick Powell's riding on the back of a hay truck across a Midwestern prairie. On a publicity tour for the film with Stephen McNally, he tells a radio interviewer that the picture ends with him getting hanged. She cuts in, "Oh no, Steve! It ends with me in the hay with Dick Powell!"
49 publicity pictures from her early years in Hollywood tend to focus on her beautiful eyes, which have a luminous quality with color shifting from blue to gray to greenish hues and having a fairly slight slant, giving them a faintly Oriental look. The emphasis on her eyes reach a peak with a stunning Life magazine cover portrait that graphically confirms what all the hype is about.
49 of her performance in Illegal Entry, director Frederick de Cordova says that she at first was extremely shy and conscious of her accent, but later overcame this difficulty by hard work and gained much confidence. "She will be a very great actress, now that she has found herself."
49 tells the Saturday Evening Post that her part in her current film, Sword in the Desert, is the one she likes the best to date. "It allowed me to play a woman of depth and purpose for the first time in my career." She gets to wear army fatigues instead of strapless gowns. She takes her preparation for the role quite seriously, reading books and watching films about life in Palestine. Hadassah, the Jewish women's group presents her with a scroll for her contribution to the understanding of the problems of the settlers.
June 49 is one of the nicest gals actor Howard Duff has ever met
she and A&P heir Huntington Hartford II are an item
July 49 returns from her vacation with relatives in Connecticut and starts filming Panther's Moon
September 49 is spotted dining tete-a-tete at the Kings Restaurant with Huntington Hartford II
is scheduled for Paradise Lost opposite Victor Mature, which is to be made in Italy and is based on the life of mobster Lucky Luciano. She is to play gangster moll Gay Orlova, who threw over a rich aristocrat for the hoodlum.
October 49 her career may not permit her marrying Lars Anderson
two stewardesses try in vain to wake her up when her plane lands in Rome for the filming of Departed. She thought her flight from Paris was much longer and she took two strong sleeping pills. She says, "Never again."
? meets wealthy Italian Count Silvio Sportzatti while in Rome
November 49 is driven home every night after finishing work on Departed by fellow actor Howard Duff
Sportzatti follows her to Hollywood
December 49 is seen at a Swedish restaurant with Dr. Peter Lindstrom, the ex of Swedish-born actress Ingrid Bergman. She was a frequent dinner guest at his home before the holidays.
January 50 is expected to marry Lars Nordensen
February 50 she and Lindstrom become a habit
Howard Duff leaves her for fellow actress Gloria DeHaven. Later there will be rumors that her romance with Duff was only studio publicity.
March 50 is heartbroken when studio executive Bill Goetz turns down director Robert Rossen’s request for her to star in his upcoming The Brave Bulls. Goetz says the part isn't big enough.
wants to bring her 4-year-old nephew to America, but she can't adopt him because she isn't married
despite all rumors concerning her romance with Lindstrom, most of her dates are with costume designer Bill Thomas
April 50 is off to Sweden to visit her relatives and arrange the schooling of her nephew. The boy is the son of her late sister.
May 50 attends a party given at Ciro’s for Dorothea Lee McEvoy, Screen Guide’s editorial director, with Howard Duff, even if he is supposed to have a new love interest
June 50 scoffs at new rumors linking her to Lindstrom. She says, "I only met him once, two or three years ago."
? tells reporters that she considers herself an actress, not a pinup girl. She complains that in Hollywood sex is considered more important than acting talent and rallies against publicity campaigns to make her known as "The Eyes," because her almond-shaped, blue-gray eyes are considered unusual.
November 50 her father, a retired Swedish army officer, will visit her by Christmas and hopes she might find him a job as an extra
December 50 she and Universal-International talk about a remake of Camille
February 51 switches to Howard Duff
51 she and Universal part amicably after only three years of her contract. She feels stuck playing parts that do little to advance her career as an actress. If she sometimes appeared uncomfortable or inhibited in these parts, her explanation was that she didn't know what to make of the roles. "They were characters without any background. I used to sit with my head in my hands trying to figure out what those characters were all about. And I was sick of spy stories!"
tells a Swedish interviewer that she is extremely grateful to Universal for all they did for her. "I have performed with prominent actors, had leading parts in every picture, got the attention of the world's press and been well paid."
contracts with Columbia for two pictures a year, resulting in Sirocco and Assignment Paris. She likes her role in Sirocco and feels confident portraying, as she puts it, "a genuinely bad girl."
March 51 expects millionaire Karl Holingren on a visit from Sweden. He wants to persuade her to marry him and to return to Sweden. Her current escort is Kjell Henning.
April 51 shows a fellow Swede, Kjell Henning, around Hollywood and to Ciro’s
dates actor Jeff Chandler
is considered for Lady of Camille, to be shot in Paris by director Max Ophuls
52 when she is first considered for the part in Assignment Paris, the studio asks her to make a test. Her reply is sensible, "Why make a test? I already made a picture here with Bogart. Why waste time and money when you know what I can do?" The executives agree. No test is necessary.
her love of theater does not diminish while in Hollywood. She tells a Los Angeles Times interviewer the ideal situation for her would be to act in one picture in Hollywood and one play in New York each year.
to keep her hand in actual stage work, she directs "The Playmates," a local amateur theater group in nearby Inglewood. It comes naturally to her since the Theatre in Stockholm taught both acting and directing. It will be a few years before she finally gets onto the live stage to act.
50s to questions about her love life she is noncommittal. "I go with several different men. Their names--well they are not easy to spell, for most of them are Swedish or European. Writers, composers, musicians." She tells interviewer Bob Thomas that she "would marry only once, not ten times," and it would likely be to a man who understood her kind of work, preferably someone in the business, "but not an actor."
May 52 becomes a U.S. citizen, exactly five years after being imported from Sweden
13 June 52 marries American director and film writer Leonardo Bercovici, in a simple ceremony, which is attended by her father, Major Helge Toren, at the registrar's office in Klosters, Switzerland. He's 44; she's 26. Their long-standing romance has been one of Hollywood's best kept secrets. After a brief honeymoon trip to Sweden, they settle in Rome.
September 52 goes to Italy for the filming of The Life of Puccini. Her role is demanding in that she has to age from 20 to 60 during the course of the story. The dialog is also trying. She is the only cast member not speaking Italian. She speaks her lines in English, and they are later dubbed.
January 53 is en route to Rome when her Hollywood apartment burns
all is not well between her and her husband. Bercovici becomes highly indignant over her continued absence in making films in Europe. They will have a showdown when she arrives back in Los Angeles.
there are printed reports of a feud with her fellow countrywoman, Viveca Lindfors, which Viveca denies
February 53 expects a baby. She decides to have her first child in Rome rather than in the United States or Sweden. She and Bercovici rent an apartment in Rome, where she's still filming The Life of Puccini.
20 April 53 her daughter, Christina, is born in Rome in the very hospital room where Ingrid Bergman had delivered twins the previous year. Bergman, her closest friend in Rome, is her first visitor at the hospital.
54 wins awards for the highly acclaimed Maddalena, filmed in France
? receives a medal at the Edingburgh Festival for her part in Maddalena
March 55 dances with her husband at Tony Prantera's chic Ostaria dell Orso in Rome. Farley Granger, Shelley Winters, and Errol Flynn are among the frequent guests.
April 55 celebrates her daughter's second birthday in Rome
56 films her last movie, Casa Ricordi, in Italy
Late 56 on a trip to Stockholm a leading stage actor approaches her with an offer of a part in a current play, a comedy by J.B. Priestly. She would replace the leading lady, who had announced her intention to leave the play. She does some considerable soul searching. The thought of performing before a hometown audience is frightening as it is appealing. Swedish audiences, critics, and reporters are notoriously severe in judging local girls who have gone abroad and returned as stars, especaially if they had been unknowns at home. Ingrid Bergman and other theater friends warn her about the kind of reception she is likely to encounter. But, she decides to chance it. She rehearses and rehearses "in her sleep," and when her debut performance gets a warm reception from audiences and critics, it's just what she needs to boost her self-confidence.
17 February 57 is stricken with a brain hemorrhage while on stage in Mr. Kettle and Mrs. Moon at Stockholm's Allee Theatre. Her husband rushes to her hospital bedside; their daughter is in London, where Marta planned to do film work after her stage appearance.
19 / 20 February 57 dies unexpectedly at age 32 in Stockholm's South Hospital. Her husband was at her bedside. Dr. Goesta Von Reis, who described her situation as "hopeless" when she entered the hospital Sunday night unconscious and in an extremely serious condition, says that there was nothing he could do. He claims that she was stricken by a subarachnoidal hemorrhage, which "usually strikes like lightning from a blue sky." It is characterized by profuse bleeding beneath cerebral membranes.
her somber, wintry funeral service is attended by family members and theater friends. Among the many floral tributes is a wreath with the simple message, "Farewell, dear little Marta. Your friend, Ingrid."
is interred at Norra Begravningsplatsen (Northern Cemetery), Stockholm, Grave 13A, 237

"Marta Toren, Swedish Cinderella" by Jan Beck in Classic Images, Jose Bernabe, The New York Times, Mansfield News-Journal, The Era, The Monessen Daily Independent, The Zanesville Signal, The Daily Register, Chronicle Telegram, Nevada State Journal, Indiana Evening Gazette, Valley Morning Star, Herald-Journal, The Newark Advocate and American Tribune, Redlands, The Holland Evening Sentinel, Gazette and Bulletin, Pottstown Mercury, The Gettysburg Times, Fallen Angels by Kirk Crivello, Modern Screen, Picture Show’s Who’s Who, Silver Screen, Screen Guide, Movie Story, Squandered Fortune by L. R. Gubernick
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