Signe Eleonora Cecilia Larsson
15 August 1915
|Died||7 June 2002 (aged 86)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
(m. 1933; div. 1941)
(m. 19??; died 1955)
Hasso was born in the Kungsholmen parish of Stockholm, Sweden in 1915. Her father and grandfather died when she was four, and her mother, grandmother, two siblings, and she shared a single room. Her mother, a former aspiring actress herself, worked as a waffle cook.
Her acting career began by accident. When a young actress fell ill, her mother was asked if she knew of any little girl who could act. Signe Hasso later recalled, "I was 12 then and didn't want to go and neither did my sister, so my mother flipped a coin. I lost." Her audition for a Molière play was successful, and she started earning money as an actress. She performed in Royal Dramatic Theatre productions, beginning in 1927 at the age of 12, and enrolled as the youngest acting student in its history at the age of 16.
She performed on stage and in film in Sweden. In 1933, she made her first film, Tystnadens hus, with German film director/cameraman Harry Hasso, whom she married the same year. They had a son by the time she was 19. They divorced in 1941.
In 1940, she moved to the United States, where she signed a contract with RKO Pictures, who promoted her as "the next Garbo". With few RKO roles forthcoming, she turned to the stage to make a living. According to the Internet Broadway Database, she appeared in five Broadway productions, beginning with Golden Wings (1941). In the mid-1940s, she signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Her first role of note was in Heaven Can Wait (1943). During the 1940s, she appeared in The Seventh Cross (1944), Johnny Angel (1945), The House on 92nd Street (1945), A Scandal in Paris (1946), and A Double Life (1947). Her favorite role was as the ex-wife of an actor driven mad, played by Ronald Colman, in A Double Life. By the 1950s, her Hollywood career had stalled.
In 1957, her son and only child was killed in a car accident. From then on, she divided her time between making films in Sweden and acting on stage in New York City until she returned to Hollywood in the 1960s. She also acted on television, making guest appearances in several popular TV series, including Route 66, Bonanza, The Outer Limits, The Green Hornet, Cannon, Starsky and Hutch, The Streets of San Francisco, Quincy, M.E., Magnum, P.I., Trapper John, M.D., and Hart to Hart.
In her later years, Hasso worked as a songwriter and writer and translated Swedish folk songs into English. Her debut novel, Momo (1977), depicts her childhood in interwar Stockholm. Hasso's second album, Where the Sun Meets the Moon (1979), consists of her own versions of Swedish folk tunes. In a 1995 interview, she stated she wanted to be remembered for her writing, not her acting. She continued to act until late in her life, her last film being One Hell of a Guy (1998).
She died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California in 2002, aged 86, of pneumonia and cancer. Hasso adhered to Lutheranism.
In 1935, she received the Theatre League's De Wahl-stipendium and in 1939 the first Nordic nordiska Gösta Ekmanpriset. In 1972, King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden named her Member 1st Class of the Royal Order of Vasa. In 1989, the Vasa Order of America named her Swedish-American of the Year. Hasso has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to motion pictures, at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard.
- Momo (1977)
- Kom slott (1978)
- Inte än (1988)
- Om igen (1989)
- Tidens vän (1990)
- Tystnadens hus (House of Silence, 1933) - Susanna Braun
- Häxnatten Witches' Night, (1937) - Majken Celsing
- Karriär (Career, 1938) - Monika Hall
- Geld fällt vom Himmel (1938) - Hannelore
- Pengar från skyn (1938) - Hanne
- Vi två (We Two, 1939) - Kristina - hans hustru
- Emilie Högquist (1939) - Emelie Högqvist
- Bastard (1940) - Aitanga, nomadepike
- Stål (1940) - Margit
- Än en gång Gösta Ekman (1940 short) - Birgit Steen
- Stora famnen (1940) - Eva Richert
- Vi tre (1940) - Kristina, hans hustru
- Den ljusnande framtid (Bright Prospects, 1941) - Birgit Norén
- Assignment in Brittany (1943) - Elise
- Heaven Can Wait (1943) - Mademoiselle
- The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944) - Bettina
- The Seventh Cross (1944) - Toni
- Dangerous Partners (1945) - Carola Ballister
- The House on 92nd Street (1945) - Elsa Gebhardt
- Johnny Angel (1945) - Paulette Girard
- Strange Triangle (1946) - Francine Huber
- A Scandal in Paris (1946) - Therese De Pierremont
- Where There's Life (1947) - Gen. Katrina Grimovitch
- A Double Life (1947) - Brita Kaurin
- To the Ends of the Earth (1948) - Ann Grant
- Outside the Wall (1950) - Celia Bentner
- Crisis (1950) - Senora Isabel Farrago
- This Can't Happen Here (1950) - Vera Irmelin
- Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales (1952 short)
- The Sun of St. Moritz (1954) - Gerti Selle
- Taxi 13 (1954) - Agneta
- Den underbara lögnen (1955) - Joséphine de Merret
- Picture Mommy Dead (1966) - Sister René
- Code Name: Heraclitus (1967 TV movie) - Lydia Constantine
- A Reflection of Fear (1972) - Julia
- Shell Game (1975 TV movie) - Countess
- The Black Bird (1975) - Dr. Crippen
- Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976 TV movie) - Fraulein Reichenbach
- I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977) - Helene
- Winner Take All (1977 TV movie)
- Evita Peron (1981 TV movie) - Fedora
- Pappa är död (1982 TV movie) - Sonja Bengtsson
- Mirrors (1985 TV movie) - Madame Eugenia
- One Hell of a Guy (1998) - Aunt Vivian
- 1915 Birth Record for Kungsholms Parish and its Record of baptisms, p. 91 [1915-års Födelsebok för Kungsholms församling och dess Dopbok, sid. 91]
- Adam Bernstein (10 June 2002). "'40s Actress Signe Hasso Dies". The Washington Post.
- "Signe Hasso". Los Angeles Times.
- Ronald Bergan (11 June 2002). "Signe Hasso". The Guardian.
- "Signe Hasso, 91, Screen Actress In Both Hollywood and Sweden". The New York Times. Reuters. 12 June 2002.
- Signe Hasso at the Internet Broadway Database
- "Signe Hasso". Variety. June 11, 2002.
- "Signe Hasso, 91; Swede Acted for Leading Movie Directors". Los Angeles Times. June 9, 2002.
- Morning News, January 10, 1948, Who Was Who in America (Vol. 2)
- "At the 48th Street Theatre". The New York Times. 2 December 1939. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
From the moment she appears as the gay and youthful wife of a rising young architect (Sture Lagerwall) in Vi två (We Two), a Terrafilm production directed by S. Bauman, until the final touchingly sentimental scene in the maternity hospital, Fröken Hasso is the cynosure of the spectators' sympathetic attention.
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