Saturday, March 17, 2012

Nils Asther

Nils Anton Alfhild Asther (1897 –  1981) was a Danish-born Swedish actor active in Hollywood from 1926 to the mid 1950s, known for his beautiful face and often called "the male Greta Garbo". Between 1916 and 1963 he appeared in over 70 feature films, 16 of which were produced in the silent era.
In 1927 Asther left Sweden for Hollywood, where his first film was Topsy and Eva. The film also featured the Duncan Sisters, and in 1930 he married one of them, Vivian Duncan, who gave him a daughter, Evelyn.

With the arrival of sound in movies, Asther took voice lessons so as to minimize the presence of his accent, and was generally cast in roles where an accent wasn't a problem, such as the role as Chinese General Yen in The Bitter Tea of General Yen.
Between 1935 and 1940 he was forced work in England after an alleged breach of contract led to a studio-based blacklist.
Nils Asther, pictured on the S.S. Majestic as he returned to New York, January 1953 
Copyright Bettman Archive, Corbis
In 1958 he returned to Sweden, almost destitute. He managed to get an engagement with a local theatre and had four film roles in Sweden and Denmark, before finally giving up on acting in 1963 and devoting his time to painting.

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