Gudrun Brost was an actor and primadonna of Swedish revue shows whose career spanned most of the twentieth century.
Gudrun Brost was the daughter of Otto Brost, a merchant, and his wife Elise known as Lisa. She was born in Malmö in 1910 but grew up in Veinge, Halland. Her parents ran a tavern there at which she often helped out. She attended public school in Veinge and then went to a girls’ school in Laholm. Gudrun Brost subsequently qualified as a physical education instructor, which nowadays goes by the term of physiotherapist. She spent a couple of years employed in that capacity at several spas in Germany, The Netherlands, and in Belgium. Upon her return to Sweden she then attended a domestic sciences school in order to learn household-management skills. It was at this point that her interest in the theatre took hold and she headed to Malmö. There she connected with Oscar Winge who hired her to work at Hippodromteatern in 1934. Over the ensuing year she was given some minor parts to perform but most importantly she was able to learn the trade from scratch. In 1935 Gudron Brost was given a few slightly larger roles, such as in the operetta Gri-Gri and in a revue show where she appeared dressed up like Marlene Dietrich, singing one of her well-known tunes called “Johnny”.
Gudrun Brost then headed off to Stockholm to delve even deeper into the theatre world. Once again she began by playing smaller parts, including at Vasateatern. The first was a walk-on part in En flicka i frack in the autumn of 1935 which Stina Bergman herself gave her. She also took private lessons with Julia Håkansson. In 1938, however, things improved and Gudrun Brost was given some of her early major roles, including that of Pirate Jenny in The Threepenny Opera, a touring production with Riksteatern. Gudrun Brost’s next breakthrough was as a revue show actor and primadonna at Södra teatern in 1942. She had been working there since Gustav Wally hired her in 1939, the same year she made her revue show debut at that theatre. The newly-emerged diva was employed by Karl Gerhard in 1944 and appeared in several of his revue shows. He described her as “a friendly vamp from Veinge”. She then spent the 1954–1976 period working at Malmö city theatre. Gudrun Brost also appeared on the stage at Oscarsteatern, Blancheteatern, and Chinateatern as well as Stockholms city theatre, where she performed her final stage role in 1982 in August Strindberg’s Fadren.
Gudrun Brost’s appearances included performing as Gina Ekdahl in Vildanden and Iduna in Oh, mein Papa, both in 1954 at Malmö stadsteater, as well as playing the part of Martha in Faust in 1958, again at the same theatre. In 1960 she played the role of Mother Courage in Mother Courage and Her Children at Folkteatern in Gothenburg and again in 1968 at Malmö stadsteater. In 1982 she performed as Amman in Fadren at Stockholms stadsteater.
Gudrun Brost made her film debut in 1936 playing a very minor part in Sigurd Wallén’s military farce Samvetsömma Adolf. She appeared in around 40 films throughout her career, including Stål in 1940, Det sägs på stan and Tänk, om jag gifter mig med prästen both in 1941, Gula kliniken and The Heavenly Play, both in 1942, The Sin of Anna Lans in 1943, Kungliga patrasket and Mans kvinna, both in 1945, Lata Lena och blåögda Per in 1947, Sawdust and Tinsel in 1953, Rasmus and the Vagabond in 1955, The Virgin Spring in 1960, Here is Your Life in 1966 and Ebon Lundin in 1973. Meanwhile Gudrun Brost’s television appearances included several series such as Bombi Bitt och jag in 1968, Kvartetten som sprängdes in 1973, and Kulla-Gulla in 1986 which was also her final acting part. Further to this Gudrun Brost also recorded a single called “Kvinnan av idag” which was part of Södra teatern’s 1939 New Year revue show. She also appeared on the radio, in radio plays of various kinds.
Gudrun Brost was one of the great actors of the supporting roll genre who was a multifaceted character role performer. She has been described as an elegant, inordinately strong and proud woman who not infrequently enlivened female characters who possessed an element of the tragic. These characters were often indomitably strong but also misled and fallen women, as well as tender, bold, confused or even just plain angry women. She possessed a unique beauty and personality with a hint of the air of a French actress. She was a star born of both realism and extravagance, who possessed clear diction, charisma and presence. During the 50 years she was a professional actor she produced many gripping, multi-layered and human character portrayals, borne not only of her experience and her craft but also from the twists and turns of life.
In 1942 Gudrun Brost was awarded a Charlie for her performance in Tänk, om jag gifter mig med prästen.
Gudrun Brost was married to the writer Sven Forssell from 1946–1951. They had a son named Johannes Brost who later also became an actor.
Gudrun Brost died in Stockholm in 1993. She is buried at Veinge cemetery near Laholm.