Margaretha Krook was one of the pre-eminent Swedish actors of the 1900s. She was exceedingly versatile and was a performer of great depth and character.
Margaretha Krook was born in 1925. She was the daughter of Major Knut Krook and his wife Greta. Although she was born in Stockholm she grew up in Norrtälje. According to her own accounts, she loved to dress up and perform as a child. After she had witnessed Karin Ekelund and Sture Lagerwall being filmed she decided that she wanted to enter the world of acting. She began to act as part of the high school society at the Nya Elementar school in Stockholm, and once she had graduated she initially trained to become an air-stewardess, as well as studying at Beckmans Skola för Reklam Illustration Mode (school of advertising, illustration, fashion). She was active within both professions for a time, including supplying illustrations for weekly journals.
In 1948 Margaretha Krook was accepted into the Dramaten (royal dramatic theatre) school and made her theatrical debut that same year as Betsey in David Copperfield. Following her graduation from acting school in 1951 she was employed by city theatres in Norrköping from 1952–1954, Helsingborg from 1955–1957, and Gothenburg from 1958–1959. She returned to the Dramaten theatre in 1962 and remained there until her final performance in Lyckans dar in 1999. She performed nearly 60 roles at that theatre alone. Margaretha Krook produced powerful portrayals of many dramatic female figures in classic plays. Thus she represented a tradition at the Dramaten theatre which dated back to actresses such as Pauline Brunius and Tora Teje. Her dramatic roles in films and TV include Amélie in Bokhandlaren som slutade bada, in 1969, ‘Majorskan’ in Gösta Berlings saga in 1986, Farmor in Kära farmor in 1990, and Ingrid in Gossip in 2000.
Margaretha Krook was a multi-faceted actress who not only played serious characters but also had the skill to perform in and portray several comedic roles, both on the stage and in films. These include the likes of Flora in Släpp fångarne loss, det är vår!, from 1975, Doña Maria in Picassos äventyr, in 1978, and the domineering mother in Morrhår och ärtor, in 1986. She also frequently appeared on the radio and TV as presenter of programmes such as Estrad from 1967, and Partaj, from 1969. Her exclamation of: “Ta ‘rej i brasan!” (a crude expression of contempt) from the ‘Skattkammarön’ sketch in the former programme is perhaps her most legendary line. Margaretha Krook also displayed her talent for improvisation in hundreds of episodes of the radio entertainment programme På minuten.
From 1956 to 1981 Margaretha Krook was married to Stig Hammar, a flight navigator. They had a daughter named Lotta together.
Margaretha Krook received several awards including the Gösta Ekman stipend in 1966, the O’Neill stipend in 1974, the Litteris et Artibus medal in 1975, the Guldbagge in 1976 (for her role in Släpp fångerne loss, det är vår!, the Illis quorum medal in 1985, and the Teaterförbundet gold medal in 1998. She had the honour of reciting Tennyson’s poem ‘New Year’s Eve’ at the new year’s eve festivities at Skansen during the period of 1997–2000. These festivities were traditionally aired live on SVT. Margaretha Krook has been immortalised in a statue outside Dramaten on the very street corner where she used to take a cigarette-break before a performance.
Margaretha Krook died in Stockholm in 2001. She is buried at the Galärvarv cemetery in Djurgården in Stockholm.