Greta Nissen – Photos and Quotes

Greta Nissen

“I have heard so much about Hollywood and I see nothing of it except on my way to the studio and back to my home in the evening. At night I feel tired and so I always go to bed early. It is better so.”Greta Nissen in 1925.

Her quote was probably translated by an interpreter.


Greta Nissen dancer

“I spent those years of training because I believed people would wish to see and enjoy the oldest form of interpreting human emotion. So I put all of myself into the dance, and I came to New York….And then I learned that it was a mistake. Here, today, people are in too great a hurry to look long at something needing to be thought about. ‘Show us quickly!’ they cry. ‘Come on. The next!’ Now I wonder often why I have worked so hard to give something that is so little appreciated. Day after day I think of those terrible years in Copenhagen I spent in learning something I know is vital and that people care little for.”Greta Nissen

Source: Lillian Shirley (1932)
Photo: Waldemar Eide


Greta Nissen

“I love to dance more than anything else in the world. These years of training make my work on the screen easier for me. Pantomime come naturally to me, of course.”Greta Nissen in 1925.

Photographer: Waldemar Eide


Greta Nissen Beggar on Horseback

“A Norwegian, she had been on the stage in Europe since early childhood, and she came to New York for the Broadway production of “The Beggar on Horseback.” Her Broadway debut was as silent as the motion pictures of the time. She appeared in the second act pantomime. Paramount signed her for pictures, and in Hollywood, she made one film after another, week after week, for more than one year.”Salt Lake City Telegram, May 9, 1931

Photo: The Beggar on Horseback (1925)

Greta Nissen as Tisha, the siren, in Raoul Walsh’s The Wanderer, 1925.

Purchase your Fine Art America Print, Coffee Mug, T-Shirt, etc. of this image by pressing here!


Greta Nissen The Luck Lady

“The cameras amazed me – bewildered me – and I had a horror of looking at the first rushes. I expected to find my American associates in pictures distant and non-receptive to one from a foreign country. But I found the reverse to be true. This delighted me beyond measure. Even the property men and electricians on the sets went out of their way to teach me. Their principle tutelage, however, was in slang expressions, which I thought smart but did not exactly get across at times.”Greta Nissen

Photo: The Lucky Lady (1926)



Photography Prints


In 1927, Greta Nissen was signed to star in Howard Hughes’ aviation epic Hell’s Angels, also starring Ben Lyon. Her English was so poor that she was eventually replaced by a newcomer named Jean Harlow. All of Nissen’s scenes were then reshot. Hell’s Angels became such a box-office hit that it made Harlow a star.  Nissen‘s career as an A-list star was over. Here she is with her co-star Lyon before the ax fell.



Greta Nissen

“I love the picture work, but I’m not sure whether I like it better than my dancing on the stage, and I may return to that.”Greta Nissen


Greta Nissen

Photo: Hal Phyfe (1931)


Greta Nissen

Photo: Hal Phyfe (1931)


Greta Nissen

“Bad women are so much more interesting to me than good….There is about the good woman not enough of the color. You know?”Greta Nissen, struggling through one of her first interviews after coming to Hollywood from Norway (via New York City) in 1925.

Photo: Hal Phyfe (1931)



Photo: Hal Phyfe (1931)


Ambassador Bill Will Rogers

Ambassador Bill (1931). With Will Rogers and Marguerite Churchill.


Greta Nissen



Melody Cruise Charles Ruggles Greta Nissen

Melody Cruise (1933). With Charles Ruggles and Phil Harris.

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