Swedes in Hollywood

by PrudenceHill | created - 29 Jan 2012 | updated - 12 Feb 2013 | Public

A list of Swedish born people who went to Hollywood and made it big.

1. Greta Garbo

Actress | Ninotchka

Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905, in Stockholm, Sweden, to Anna Lovisa (Johansdotter), who worked at a jam factory, and Karl Alfred Gustafsson, a laborer. She was fourteen when her father died, which left the family destitute. Greta was forced to leave school and ...

Legendary actress. Counted as one of the greatest actresses of allt time.

2. Ingrid Bergman

Actress | Casablanca

Ingrid Bergman was one of the greatest actresses from Hollywood's lamented Golden Era. Her natural and unpretentious beauty and her immense acting talent made her one of the most celebrated figures in the history of American cinema. Bergman is also one of the most Oscar-awarded actresses, tied with ...

Legendary actress. Also counted as one of the greatest actresses of all time. 3 time Oscar winner.

3. Ingmar Bergman

Writer | Persona

Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born July 14, 1918, the son of a priest. The film and T.V. series, The Best Intentions (1992) is biographical and shows the early marriage of his parents. The film 'Söndagsbarn' depicts a bicycle journey with his father. In the miniseries Private Confessions (1996) is the ...

Legendary director. Counted as one of the greatest directors of all time.

Note: Ingmar Bergman never made a movie inside of Hollywood. All of his movies were produced and filmed in Scandinavia. Though his movies got much international attention and became big hits in Hollywood, winning several respected awards including Oscars for Best foreign language film (he never won an Oscar for best director or writer though he was nominated 9 times).

4. Anita Ekberg

Actress | La dolce vita

Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg was born on September 29, 1931 in Malmo, Sweden. Growing up with seven brothers and sisters was not an adventure, but Anita's adventure began when she was elected Miss Sweden in 1950. She did not win the Miss Universe contest but she got a modeling contract in the ...

Famous sex-symbol, best known for the lead in La Dolce Vita (1960).

5. Nils Asther

Actor | The Man in Half Moon Street

Nils Asther was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1897 and raised in Malmö, Sweden, by his wealthy Swedish parents. After attending the Royal Dramatic Theater School in Stockholm, he began his stage career in Copenhagen. His film debut came in 1916 when the director Mauritz Stiller cast him in the ...

Actor who begun his career as a silent film actor. Is best for the male lead in The Bitter the of General Yen (1933) opposite Barbara Stanwyck.

Note: Was born in Denmark to Swedish parents and grew up in Sweden.

6. Ann-Margret

Actress | Made in Paris

Actress and singer Ann-Margret is one of the most famous sex symbols and actresses of the 1960s and beyond. She continued her career through the following decades and into the 21st century.

Ann-Margret was born Ann-Margret Olsson in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland County, Sweden, to Anna Regina (Aronsson) and ...

Two times Oscar nominated legendary actress. She was good friends with Elvis Presley and was discovered by George Burns.

7. Maud Adams

Actress | Octopussy

Stunning Swedish born ex-model who broke into film in 1970, and quickly appeared in several high profile films including playing the ex-wife of James Caan in the futuristic Rollerball (1975) and the ill-fated lover of super-assassin Francisco Scaramanga played by Christopher Lee in The Man with the...

Actress best known for being a bond girl twice, first in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) as Andrea Anders and then again in Octopussy (1983) as Octopussy.

8. Inger Stevens

Actress | Hang 'Em High

This enigmatic Stockholm-born beauty had everything going for her, including a rapidly rising film and TV career. Yet on April 30, 1970, at only 35, Inger Stevens would become another tragic Hollywood statistic -- added proof that fame and fortune do not always lead to happiness. Over time, a ...

Golden Globe-winning actress who in 1970 became another Hollywood tragedies when she committed suicide at the age of 35.

9. May Britt

Actress | The Hunters

She was only 18 years old and working as a photographer's assistant in Stockholm when two Italians showed up. Producer Carlo Ponti and director Mario Soldati were there to see pictures of beautiful models, searching for a blonde girl for a movie. They picked her instead and soon she found herself ...

Actress who starred for example in War and Peace (1956) opposite Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda. Was married for 8 years with Sammy Davies Jr.

10. Britt Ekland

Actress | The Man with the Golden Gun

Britt Ekland was born in Sweden and grew up to be the poster girl for beautiful, big-eyed Scandinavian blondes. She attended a drama school and then joined a traveling theater group. With her looks as her passport, Britt entered films and became a star in Italy. When Peter Sellers met her in a ...

Actress best known for playing the Bond girl Mary Goodnight in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).

11. Lars Hanson

Actor | Gösta Berlings saga

Lars Hanson was born on July 26, 1886 in Gothenburg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden. He was an actor, known for The Saga of Gösta Berling (1924), Captain Salvation (1927) and The Scarlet Letter (1926). He was married to Karin Molander. He died on April 8, 1965 in Stockholm, Stockholms län, ...

Silent Film actor who starred with Greta Garbo in The Gösta Bergling Saga (1924) and Flesh of the Devil (1926) and with Lillian Gish in The Scarlett Letter (1926) and The Wind (1928).

12. Warner Oland

Actor | Charlie Chan's Secret

Warner Oland was born Johan Verner Olund in the small village of Nyby in Bjurholm parish in the county of Vasterbotten, Sweden, on October 3, 1879. Bjurholm is situated about 60 kilometers outside the town of Umea. His family emigrated to the US on October 15, 1892. His father Jonas was a ...

Silent film actor best known for playing the character Charlie Chan in around 16 films. He also starred opposite Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express (1932).

13. Mauritz Stiller

Director | Erotikon

Moshe "Mauritz" Stiller, born July 17, 1883, in Helsinki, Finland, was a director, writer and actor. He began his artistic activity in the theatre, as an actor at 16. Mauritz Stiller portrayed 87 roles from 1899-1916 and directed 16 productions 1911-28. Together with Viktor Sjöström ( director, ...

Silent film director who discovered and brought Greta Garbo to Hollywood and who came up with her stage name Garbo. He also directed her in The Gösta Bergling Saga (1924) and The Temptress (1926) among others.

14. Victor Sjöström

Actor | Smultronstället

Victor Sjöström was born on September 20, 1879, and is the undisputed father of Swedish film, ranking as one of the masters of world cinema. His influence lives on in the work of Ingmar Bergman and all those directors, both Swedish and international, influenced by his work and the works of ...

Silent film director known amongst others for The Phantom Chariot (1921), The Scarlett Letter (1926) and The Wind (1928). He also acted as the lead in Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries (1957).

15. Stellan Skarsgård

Actor | Good Will Hunting

Stellan Skarsgård was born in Gothenburg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden, to Gudrun (Larsson) and Jan Skarsgård. He became a star in his teens through the title role in the TV-series Bombi Bitt och jag (1968). Between the years 1972-88 he was employed at The Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, where...

One of the greatest now living and working swedish actors who has appeared in several Hollywood blockbusters the latest 15 years. Father of another three of the living swedish acting elite; Alexander Skarsgård, Gustaf Skarsgård and Bill Skarsgård.

16. Pernilla August

Actress | Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Pernilla August started acting as a child, performing in plays at Vår teater and at school. In 1979 she was accepted at the Statens scenskola to study acting professionally. Director Ingmar Bergman took note of her early and cast her as a nanny in his Fanny and Alexander (1982).

In 1982 she got ...

Actor and director, best known for playing Anakin Skywalker's mother in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace (1999) and Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones (2002). Also known for starring in Ingmar Bergman's Oscar winning movie Fanny and Alexander (1982) as Maj the maid.

17. Lasse Hallström

Director | What's Eating Gilbert Grape

Lasse Hallström was born on June 2, 1946 in Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden as Lars Hallström. He is a director and writer, known for What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Dear John (2010) and Chocolat (2000). He has been married to Lena Olin since March 18, 1994. They have one child. He was ...

Noted director who's works amongst others include Chocolat (2000) (starring Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche and Judi Dench), Gilbert Grape (starring Johnny Depp, Leonardo Di Caprio and Juliette Lewis) (1993) and The Cider House Rules (starring Michael Caine, Tobey Maguire and Charlize Theron) (1999). He is married to swedish actress Lena Olin.

18. Lena Olin

Actress | The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Swedish-born Lena Olin already had a successful career as an actress before she came to Hollywood. She acted at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm and was directed by Ingmar Bergman. She was born in Stockholm, to actors Britta Holmberg and Stig Olin, who appeared in six of Bergman's films. Lena also ...

Actress known amongst others for Chocolat (2000) (starring opposite Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche), The Ninth Gate (1999) (starring opposite Johnny Depp), The Reader (2008) (starring opposite Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes) and Casanova (2005) (starring opposite Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller) . Married to Swedish director Lasse Hallström.

19. Peter Stormare

Actor | Fargo

Peter Stormare was born in Arbrå, Gävleborgs län, Sweden, to Gunhild (Holm) and Karl Ingvar Storm. He began his acting career at the Royal National Theatre of Sweden, performing for eleven years. In 1990 he became the Associate Artistic Director at the Tokyo Globe Theatre and directed productions ...

Actor known amongst others for Chocolat (2000) (starring opposite Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoch), Fargo (1996) (starring opposite Frances McDormand), Armageddon (1998) and The Big Lebowski (1998) (starring opposite Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore).

20. Bibi Andersson

Actress | Persona

Her artistic dreams came early in life and were further supported by her older sister Gerd Andersson who became a ballet dancer at the Royal Opera and made her acting debut in 1951. Bibi, on the other side, had to make do with bit parts and commercials. She debuted in Dum-Bom (1953), playing ...

Actress best known for playing opposite Liv Ullman in Ingmar Bergman's Persona (1966). She played in several other Bergman movies, for example Wild Strawberries (1957) and The Seventh Seal (1957).

21. Max von Sydow

Actor | Flash Gordon

Max von Sydow was born Carl Adolf von Sydow on April 10, 1929 in Lund, Skåne, Sweden, to a middle-class family. He was the son of Baroness Maria Margareta (Rappe), a teacher, and Carl Wilhelm von Sydow, an ethnologist and folklore professor. His surname traces back to his partial German ancestry.


Oscar nominated legendary actor with a career spanning over 60 years, still working today. Has starred in several Ingmar Bergman movies (most significantly The Seventh Seal (1957) and Hollywood blockbusters (for example Ridley Scott's Robin Hood from 2010 and Minority Point from 2002 starring opposite Tom Cruise).

22. Dolph Lundgren

Actor | Rocky IV

Dolph Lundgren was born as Hans Lundgren in Stockholm, Sweden, to Sigrid Birgitta (Tjerneld), a language teacher, and Karl Johan Hugo Lundgren, an engineer and economist for the Swedish government. He lived in Stockholm until the age of 13, when he moved in with his grandparents in Nyland, ...

Actor best known for playing the ruthless boxer Ivan Drago in Rocky IV (1985) opposite Sylvester Stallone.

23. Izabella Scorupco

Actress | GoldenEye

Born in the northern Polish town of Bialystok, Izabella Scorupco moved to Sweden with her mother as a young child. She studied drama and music and, at 17, was discovered by a Swedish film director who cast her in the movie Only We Can Love Like This (1988), which made her a local teen idol. She ...

Actress best known for playing the Bond girl Natalya Simonova in Golden Eye (1995).

24. Alexander Skarsgård

Actor | The Legend of Tarzan

Alexander Johan Hjalmar Skarsgård was born in Stockholm, Sweden and is the eldest son of famed actor Stellan Skarsgård. Among his siblings are actors Gustaf Skarsgård, Bill Skarsgård, and Valter Skarsgård. For most of his formative years, his father was an acclaimed actor in Europe but had not yet ...

Quickly rising actor who became known when he appeared in the awarded TV-series True Blood as the vampire Eric Northman. Son of Stellan Skarsgård.

25. Noomi Rapace

Actress | Män som hatar kvinnor

Swedish actress Noomi Rapace was born in Hudiksvall, Gävleborgs län, Sweden to Swedish actress Nina Norén and Spanish Flamenco singer Rogelio Durán. Her parents did not stay together, and when she was five she moved to Iceland with her mother and stepfather, where she lived for three years. When ...

Caught the heart of the entire world with her performance as Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009). Is now working her way up to become one of Hollywood's living and working elites.

26. Malin Akerman

Actress | Watchmen

Malin was born in Stockholm, Sweden and raised in Toronto, Canada. Her mother, Pia (Sundström), is a model and aerobics instructor, and her father, Magnus Åkerman, is an insurance broker. They moved to Toronto when she was age 2. At age 5, she began appearing in TV commercials. Her parents divorced...

Half Swedish, half Canadian actress who has appeared in several popular movies the latest years, most significantly Watchmen (2009) and The Heartbreak Kid (2007).

27. Helena Mattsson

Actress | Surrogates

Helena Mattsson was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, with her two sisters. In her early teens she was discovered by one of the biggest modeling agencies in Sweden. After graduating from her Performing Arts High School in Stockholm, Helena traveled to London and New York to continue to study ...

Actress best known for playing Rebecca in Iron Man 2 (2010) opposite Hugh Jackman amongst others.

28. Joel Kinnaman

Actor | The Killing

Charles Joel Nordström Kinnaman, known professionally as Joel Kinnaman, is a Swedish American actor. He is best known for playing the lead role in the Swedish film Easy Money a role that earned him a Guldbagge Award in the "Best Actor" category - and for his role as Frank Wagner in the Johan Falk ...

Half Swedish, Half American actor who reached fame for his performance as JW in Snabba Cash (2010). Now he's making it big in Hollywood with roles in the TV-series The Killing and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).

29. Alicia Vikander

Actress | Ex Machina

Alicia Vikander is a Swedish actress, dancer and producer. She was born and raised in Gothenburg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden, to Maria Fahl-Vikander, an actress of stage and screen, and Svante Vikander, a psychiatrist. Through her mother, she is one quarter Finnish, and had a maternal great aunt ...

One of Sweden's latest shooting stars and attributes for Hollywood. Recieved international attention for her performances as Queen Caroline Mathilde of Denmark in the Danish film A Royal Affair (2012) starring opposite Mads Mikkelsen. Then she landed on the role as Kitty in Anna Karenina (2012) starring opposite Keira Knightley and Jude Law, and she is quickly rising. Soon to me seen in the upcoming movie The Seventh Son opposite Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges.

30. Mikael Persbrandt

Actor | Hævnen

Mikael Persbrandt is internationally known for his starring role in the Academy Award winning foreign feature, "In A Better World," directed by Susanne Bier. His performance earned him a 2011 European Film Award nomination for Best Actor.

His interest in acting started when working as an extra in ...

Has for many years been on top amongst the elite of actors in Swedish film, though it wasn't until recently that he recieved Hollywood attention through his leading part in the Oscar winning Danish movie In A Better World (2010). He is now to be seen as Beorn in The Hobbit-triology by Peter Jackson.

31. Michael Nyqvist

Actor | Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Born Rolf Åke Mikael Nyqvist in Stockholm, Sweden, it wasn't until he was over a year old when he was finally adopted from the orphanage he had been given to. His father was a lawyer and his mother a writer. It wasn't until he had his first child that he decided to seek out his biological parents. ...

Same story as Persbrandt, has been amongst the elite of actors in Swedish film but just recently recieved Hollywood attention for his performance as Mikael Blomkvist in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) alongside Noomi Rapace. Recently starred in the latest Mission Impossible movie - Ghost Protocol (2011) opposite Tom Cruise and is casted in several upcoming Hollywood movies.

32. Ola Rapace

Actor | Skyfall

Born Pär Ola Norell on 3 December, 1971 in Tyresö, Sweden, he is a Swedish actor, best known for his roles in European movies. He grew up in the suburbs of Stockholm, raised by his father, who divorced his mother when Rapace was one year old. He studied philosophy at University of Montpellier in ...

Has also been working activially in Sweden for many years but has now got Hollywood attention. Could be seen as the villain Patrice in the latest Bond movie, Skyfall (2012).

Note: Ex-husband of Noomi Rapace.

33. Bill Skarsgård

Actor | It

Bill Skarsgård was born on August 9, 1990 in Vällingby, Sweden as Bill Istvan Günther Skarsgård. He is an actor and producer, known for It (2017), It Chapter Two (2019) and Deadpool 2 (2018).

Son of Stellan Skarsgård and the most recent Skarsgård kid to arrive in Hollywood. Starred in Anna Karenina (2012) opposite Keira Knightley, Jude Law and fellow Swede Alicia Vikander. Casted as one of the leading parts in upcoming TV series Hemlock Grove.

34. Gustaf Skarsgård

Actor | Vikings

Gustaf Skarsgård was born on November 12, 1980 in Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden as Gustaf Caspar Orm Skarsgård. He is an actor and director, known for Vikings (2013), Westworld (2016) and The Way Back (2010).

Though he is the most active and noted actor of the Skarsgård kids inside of Scandinavia he has not done many English speaking films, he starred in The Way Back (2010) as Voss. He is probably going to recieve much more Hollywood attention soon as he is cast in the upcoming TV series The Vikings.

35. Bo Svenson

Actor | Inglourious Basterds

Svenson has worked with over 100 Academy Award winners/nominees. Since filming Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) and Inglourious Basterds (2009) (the latter being Tarantino's version of one of his favorite films of all time, Enzo G. Castellari's The Inglorious Bastards (1978), in which ...

Swedish born actor who has almost only done English speaking films. Notable films includes Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004) (starring opposite Uma Thurman), Inglourious Basterds (2009) (starring opposite Brad Pitt) and Heartbreak Ridge (1986) (starring opposite Clint Eastwood).

36. Mikael Håfström

Writer | Ondskan

Mikael Håfström was born on July 1, 1960 in Lund, Skåne län, Sweden as Jan Mikael Håfström. He is a writer and director, known for Evil (2003), 1408 (2007) and The Rite (2011).

International director from the south of Sweden. His works include 1409 (2007) with Samuel L Jackson and John Cusack, Derailed (2005) starring Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston and Evil (2003) with Andreas Wilson.

37. Tomas Alfredson

Director | Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tomas Alfredson was born on April 1, 1965 in Lidingö, Stockholms län, Sweden. He is known for his work on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Let the Right One In (2008) and Four Shades of Brown (2004). He was previously married to Cissi Elwin.

Director who recieved Hollywood attention from his movie Let the Right One In (2008). His movie Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and John Hurt was nominated for 3 Oscars in 2012 and won two BAFTA's.

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