Marianne Löfgren was a very active actor within Swedish cinema and contributed to hundreds of films, often in supporting roles.
Marianne Löfgren was born in Stockholm in 1910. She was the only daughter of accountant Sigurd Löfgren and his wife Jenny. During her childhood the family moved around within the inner city; they also had a country residence in Vaxholm, in the archipelago.
It remains unknown where Marianne Löfgren’s desire to act and her talent originated and very little is known of her private life. However, given the proclivity she displayed for singing and dancing during her childhood it was already clear to her family that she would probably end up in the theatre. Marianne Löfgren attended the French school where the students would put on classic French plays in their original language. She enjoyed reading and reciting Racine and Molière on the school stage. Her mother took the decision to phone Gösta Ekman the elder, the great actor and theatre director, to ask him to watch her daughter perform. They managed to gain an audience with the man and he advised her to read a few scenes from a comedy with the actor Karin Swanström. This play became Kiki which was performed at the Oscar theatre. Following the audition Gösta Ekman apparently instantly took Marianne Löfgren on.
Marianne Löfgren made her stage debut at the Oscar theatre in 1929. She played the part of Abigail in the play Ambrosius. Later she would play the role of Karin Månsdotter in Gustaf Vasa and at the Mindre theatre she played the role of Ingrid in En Herrgårdssägen, for which Selma Lagerlöf herself gave her fine plaudits. When Gösta Ekman finished working with the Brunius couple Marianne Löfgren went with him, appearing in En japansk tragedi and Min syster och jag amongst other things. She remained with Ekman at the various theatres he worked at (the Vasa theatre, the Konserthus, and the Folk theatre) up to and including the spring of 1934. From the autumn of 1934 until the spring season of 1937 she worked at Dramaten (the royal theatre), performing in several plays including Lysistrate, Kvartetten som sprängdes, Ett resande teatersällskap, Gösta Berlings saga, and Fridas visor.
Following her time at Dramaten Marianne Löfgren worked at various Stockholm theatres and toured throughout the countryside. She also performed in variety shows with Karl Gerhard, Kar de Mumma, and Gustav Wally. After a few years’ absence from the stage during the 1940s – during which time she worked fulltime with Svensk Filmindustri – she made her stage comeback at the Boulevard theatre in 1947. She had great success in Barnet är mitt leading the critics to declare her one of the country’s best actors. Marianne Löfgren then joined Malmö Stadsteater (city theatre) from 1950–1954. She performed her last stage roles in 1955 at the Vasa theatre and the Allé theatre.
Marianne Löfgren was one of the most productive female actors in Sweden, performing nearly 100 different roles throughout her professional life from 1933 until 1956. She made 13 films in 1943 alone, all of which premiered that year, a personal record. Her first film was the 1933 Den farliga leken and her last was Lille Fridolf och jag, which premiered in November 1956.
Marianne Löfgren rarely played major parts. The sole leading role she played was in the 1936 film Fröken blir piga, which also served as her silver-screen breakthrough. Marianne Löfgren instead became the most prominent and reliable supporting actor in Sweden. She had the skill to deliver character studies of even the very smallest part. She would enliven stereotypes and was a master of the art of acting naturally. She portrayed many different types of women throughout her career, and her talent for nuance enabled her to act them genuinely, as individuals and with empathy. She specialised in playing liberal hard-nosed women, emphasising their mischievous and kind-hearted sides, as well as less-grounded women. Marianne Löfgren was a multifaceted actress who could perform in the most light-hearted comedy, the darkest tragedy, and everything in between. It was thanks to this multi-talented aspect that unlike many of her peers she never got stuck in a particular type.
In Per Lindberg’s 1940 film Juninatten Marianne Löfgren was given her first real screen character role. Sjöcharmörer and Landstormens lilla Lotta, both from 1939, and Fransson den förskräcklige, from 1941, are some examples of comedies in which she expressed both her sensuality and her humour in a light-hearted manner.
During the latter part of her career Marianne Löfgren played a series of tragic roles, including women on the verge of a nervous breakdown, such as the falsely accused and harassed cook in Per Lindberg’s Det sägs på stan, from 1941. Her most comprehensive screen role was Alice Segervind, an alcoholic upper-class wife, in Åke Ohberg’s 1942 film Man glömmer ingenting, adapted from the eponymous novel by Marika Stiernstedt. She portrays an unhappy, broken, jealous woman who experiences mood-swings and various whims. Marianne Löfgren was given lot of praise for her portrayal and won a Charlie for that role. She acted in another six films by Ohberg, one of which involved the part of the swanky and intriguing Mrs von Scharfen in the 1943 love story called Elvira Madigan, as well as the part of the browbeaten and unhappy mother of a wild young criminal in the 1947 small-town drama called Dynamit.
Marianne Löfgren also played prostitutes in a number of films, including Kungsgatan, from 1943, Kejsarn av Portugallien, from 1944, and Medan porten var stängd, from 1946. She played warm, tidy, and ambitious women who see their occupation as merely a means to achieve their dream goals. The women were thus not portrayed as doomed individuals but as resourceful survivors – an unusual element within Swedish cinema at that time.
Marianne Löfgren played a desperate mother who sought to regain her previously abandoned daughter at any price in Ingmar Bergman’s 1946 debut film Kris, which then develops into a love-triangle. In Hasse Ekman’s Flicka och hyacinter, from 1950, Marianne Löfgren once again played a memorable minor role as the sensitive variety-show artist Gullan Wiklund, who takes pity on the poor desolate Miss Ensam, played by Eva Henning.
In 1936 Marianne Löfgren married the actor and director Tycho Bergvall, who was working as deputy director at Dramaten. Their marriage lasted until her death. Although the couple never had children of their own, Bergvall had three grown-up children from a previous marriage.
Marianne Löfgren died in 1957. She is buried at the Norra cemetery in Solna.