Anna Lindahl was a highly esteemed actor and drama instructor of the first half of the twentieth century.
Anna Lindahl was born in Stockholm in 1904. She was the youngest child of Emil Lindahl, a house painter, and his wife Carolina née Karlsson. Anna Lindahl had four older siblings. She was schooled at the girls’ school Södermalms Högre läroanstalt för flickor and subsequently attended Dramatens elevskola (royal dramatic theatre school of acting) from 1925–1928. After completing her training Anna Lindahl performed at Dramaten during the 1928–1931 period. However, she had already made her stage debut in 1926 when she appeared in August Strindberg’s play Advent. She was still attending acting school at the time.
Anna Lindahl then found work with Gösta Ekman, who employed her on his theatre stages at Konserthusteatern and Vasateatern in the years 1931–1932, followed by Lorensbergteatern in Gothenburg from 1932–1934, and then at Gothenburg city theatre during the years of 1934–1936. After this Anna Lindahl returned to Dramaten, where she appeared in nearly 80 stage productions. During the 1939–1947 period Anna Lindahl additionally worked as an instructor of stage performance at Dramatens elevskola.
Anna Lindahl’s stage roles included Eva Berg in Ernst Toller’s Hoppla vi lever in 1928, Cordelia in King Lear in 1929, and Astrid in Swedenhielms in 1931 and in 1942, all of these at Dramaten, Körsbärsblom in En japansk tragedi at Konserthusen in 1931, Blenda in Hans nåds testament at Vasateatern in 1932, Billie Moore inBroadway at Lorensbergsteatern in 1932, Jane Viding in Kanske en diktare at Vasateatern in 1933, the title role in Geoge Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara at Lorensbergsteatern in 1934, Miranda in The Tempest at the inauguration of Gothenburg city theatre in 1934, Margareta Leijonhufvud in Gustaf Vasa at Gothenburg city theatre in 1934, Ophelia in Hamlet during Gösta Ekman’s guest appearance at Gothenburg city theatre in 1935, Hedvig in Vildanden at Gothenburg city theatre in 1936 and Portia in The Merchant of Venice at Gothenburg city theatre in 1936. Anna Lindahl’s performances at Dramaten included Frida in Fridas visor in 1936, Marie Vetsera in Maxwell Andersson’s Mayerlingdramat in 1938, the title role in Anna Sophie Hedvig in 1939, Hero in Much Ado About Nothing in 1940, Mrs Higgins in Pygmalion in 1941, Clara Murdstone in David Copperfield in 1941, Alma in Rid i natt in 1942, Anna in Richard III in 1947, Louise Strandberg in Victoria Benedictsson’s Den bergtagna in 1950, and Lavinia in T.S. Eliot’s Cocktailparty in 1950. Her final stage performance was in Carl Jonas Love Almqvist’s play Amorina at Dramatens lilla scen (small stage) in the summer of 1951.
Anna Lindahl made her silver-screen debut in 1925 when she appeared in a minor role in Gustaf Moldaner’s film adaptation of Selma Lagerlöf’s novel Jerusalem (part 1), called Ingmarsarvet. She went on to appear in a total of 21 films, primarily in supporting roles. Her notable film appearances included Triumph of the Heart in 1929, Man’s Way With Women in 1934, Under False Flag in 1935, Vingar kring fyren in 1938, Rejoice While You’re Young, Fellow Cadets in 1939, Filmen om Emelie Högqvist in 1939, Vändkorset in 1944, Driver dagg faller regn in 1946, and in the short Mother’s Revolution in 1950 directed by Mimi Pollak. Anna Lindahl also supplied Swedish voices for the fairy in Disney’s animated film Pinocchio in 1940 and she provided the narrator’s voice for the animated film Cinderella in 1950.
Anna Lindahl recorded a handful of records, spoken recordings of various recitations, including Elsa Beskow’s fairytale Tomtebobarnen. Her soft, pure voice and dramatic skills gave her an edge within the new medium of radio and for almost 25 years she was frequently hired to work for the radio. She appeared with Radioteatern, making her debut in 1928 in Postkontoret, directed by Per Lindberg, and she also delivered readings of books on the radio, including books by Selma Lagerlöf, the first of which was Löwensköldska ringen in 1944.
Although Anna Lindahl’s trajectory was curtailed she still made an impact in the world of drama and belongs to the cohort of great Swedish actors. In her a strong sense of empathy was combined with sensitive, intuitive and soulful acting. Anna Lindahl’s character portrayals could convey anything from warm humanity to melancholy, fragility, anxiety, or a soulful strength. She truly was a character actor. In other words she was extremely versatile and is considered to be one of the best interpreters of Strindberg’s character roles. Anna Lindahl was awarded the Broberg stipend in 1929, the Anders De Wahl stipend in 1933 and the Gösta Ekman stipend in 1948.
Anna Lindahl was married to Sten Lundwall, a literary assistant, from 1939 onwards. They had two daughters.
Anna Lindahl died in Stockholm in 1952. She is buried at the Woodland cemetery in Stockholm.