Lena Dahlman was a singer, dancer, actor, author, director, and producer. She was active from the 1950s until the 2010s.
Lena Dahlman was born in 1938. She grew up in Hagfors, Värmland. She was the eldest child of Kjell Dahlman, who worked at a rolling mill, and his wife Emma, who was a school cleaner. She had two brothers named Stefan and Olle. After completing eight years of schooling Lena Dahlman took jobs at Konsum (a local supermarket) and at a ladies’ hair salon. However, she had greater ambitions and went to Stockholm with some friends, where they would hang out at the Nalen dance hall. In April 1957 she won a beauty competition there called “Årets tusensköna” (Daisy of the year).
Lena Dahlman’s career took off after that victory. That same year she appeared in the Scala revue show and also worked as a singer at various dance restaurants. She gained parts in Povel Ramel’s Funny Boy in 1958–1959 and in Karl Gerhard’s Ursäkta handsken in 1961. Karl Gerhard became somewhat of a mentor to her and ensured that she received some singing and dancing lessons. In 1958 Lena Dahlman got a part in the film Fridolf sticker opp! after which she increasingly focused on acting rather than singing and dancing. She appeared in a number of films and TV-series throughout the years, from Åsa-Nisse och tjocka släkten in 1963 to Smala Sussie in 2003. She toured with Svenska Teatern AB and Riksteatern and during the 1969–1970 period she appeared in open-air park theatres in productions of Mina drömmars stad.
In 1967 Lena Dahlman married the musician Lars-Erik Olofsson and they remained married until his death. Their son, named Carl, was born in 1977.
Lena Dahlman’s ‘home’ stage for a quarter century was the Stockholms stadsteater (now called Kulturhuset Stadsteatern), which included the Unga Klara stage. She performed there in 1978 as part of the youth production called Svettiga tigern, amongst other productions. In 1970 Lena Dahlman was also involved in setting up the independent group called Teatern utan reaktionärer (also known as Turteater) (theatre without reactionaries) in Kärrtorp. Gradually she increasingly took on the role of directing and producing herself in poetry productions, such as “Det svänger om Fröding” and “Gamla godingar”, which she took on tour throughout Sweden.
In contrast to her one-woman shows, she also wrote and directed major productions involving a lot of amateurs in Värmland, such as Jernringen in Munkfors, which premiered in 1992. Further, she wrote, directed, and produced the musical Lång-Kristoffers förbannelse, to music by Lars-Erik Olofsson. It ran for several years as an open-air stage production at Motjärnshyttan and at Munkberg from 2006 onwards. Lena Dahlman also wrote and directed Plass’n for Vilhelmina church town, which premiered in 2014.
After developing cancer Lena Dahlman announced her farewell to her active and joyful life in a Facebook post which was published on 23 May 2016. She died that same day in Tyresö, Stockholm.