Gunnar Björnstrand Poster


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Overview (4)

Born in Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden
Died in Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden
Birth NameKnut Gunnar Johanson
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Being the son of an acting father, Oscar Johanson, it isn't surprising that he wanted to be an actor already as a child. However, he first worked as a baker's apprentice, in a barber shop or in the docks. After the conscription he got his first role, a bit part on the theater Lilla Teatern in Stockholm, while he took acting lessons. One of his early roles was against Gösta Ekman, one of the best Swedish actors of that day. In the autumn 1933 he became a student at the Royal Dramatic Theater's acting school, along with Ingrid Bergman, Signe Hasso and the girl who was to become his lifelong wife, Lillie Björnstrand. After graduation they found employment at the Swedish Theater in Vasa, Finland. After two years of stage acting they returned to Sweden and outmost poverty. Besides small time stage acting he was only offered bit parts in the movies. In 1943 he made his breakthrough debut with Night in the Harbor (1943). During WW2 he also made his first work with Ingmar Bergman on the theater: August Strindberg's play Spöksonaten. He mainly appeared in light comedies until the movies that made him internationally famous: Ingmar Bergman's Sawdust and Tinsel (1953), A Lesson in Love (1954) and Smiles of a Summer Night (1955). He became a close friend of Mr. Bergman. The 1960s was less successful and when his contract with Svensk Filmindustri (SF) ended, it wasn't renewed. Instead he made TV-theater, theater in Sweden and movies in Italy almost until his death. Other interesting movies with him are Kristin Commands (1946), Private Bom (1948) and Waiting Women (1952).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Mattias Thuresson

Gunnar Björnstrand made his debut on the Hippodrom-theatre in Malmö, but later worked mainly in Stockholm at various theatres. In film he began playing comedic roles as authoritarian characters with inclination for sadism, for example in Nils Poppe's Bom-series. But it was with Ingmar Bergman that the challenge and fame came: from the 1950s comedies, as Björnstrand with Eva Dahlbeck to the clear-sighted Jöns in The Seventh Seal (1957), the intellectual blocked Vergerus in The Magician (1958) and the priest with pangs of conscience in Winter Light (1963). He appeared in almost 180 films.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Fredrik Klasson <fredrik_klasson@hotmail.com>

Spouse (1)

Lillie Björnstrand (6 November 1935 - 26 May 1986) ( his death) ( 4 children)

Trivia (4)

Swedish actor.
Appeared in more Ingmar Bergman films (23) than any other actor or actress.
Although less well-known internationally than other actors in Ingmar Bergman troupe (such as Max von Sydow or Liv Ullmann), he was perhaps the most chameleonic of the actors used by Bergman. his characters ranged from his bumbling, love-hungry lead, Fredrik Egerman, in the comedy Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) to the tough, imposing squire he played in the legendary The Seventh Seal (1957) to the anguished, hopeless priest in Winter Light (1963).
Father of actress Veronica Björnstrand. He is also the father of Gabrielle, Stefan and Kristina Björnstrand.

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