Allegedly said on a movie set, after a director had filmed repeated takes of Garbo jumping into icy cold water, and wanted to film yet another take. Reported Paul F. Boller, John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions (1990), p. 30-31.
Garbo is lonely. She always has been and she always will be. She lives in the core of a vast aching aloneness. She is a great artist, but it is both her supreme glory and her supreme tragedy that art is to her the only reality. The figures of living men and women, the events of everyday existence, move about her, shadowy, unsubstantial. It is only when she breathes the breath of life into a part, clothes with her own flesh and blood the concept of a playwright, that she herself is fully awake, fully alive.
Except physically, we know little more about Garbo than we know about Shakespeare.
Kenneth Tynan, "Greta Garbo," Sight and Sound (April 1954), republished in Profiles (1990), p. 80
The mystery surrounding Garbo was as thick as a London fog.
Tallulah Bankhead, Tallulah: My Autobiography (1952), ch. 9, p. 172: Duels with the Screen
Garbo still belongs to that moment in cinema when capturing the human face still plunged audiences into the deepest ecstasy, when one literally lost oneself in a human image as one would in a philtre, when the face represented a kind of absolute state of the flesh, which could be neither reached nor renounced.
Roland Barthes, "The Face of Garbo," Mythologies (1957), trans. Annette Lavers [Farrar, Straus, 1986, ISBN 8090-1369-X/0470], p. 56
Today this young woman -The Garbo as she is known - is the most glamorous figure in the whole world; there is no one with a more magnetic, romantic or exotic personality, there never has been a film star with so wide an appeal... Greta Garbo is Queen of Hollywood, her salary is fabulous, her word law. She has pointed features in a round face, her mouth is wide and knife-like. Her teeth are large and square and like evenly matched pearls; her eyes are pale, with lashes so long that when she lowers her lids they strike her cheeks; her complexion is of an unearthly whiteness and so delicate that she looks to have one layer of skin less than other people, and the suspicion of a frown is sooner perceptible.