Viveka Seldahl was an acclaimed Swedish film- and theatre actor.
Viveka Seldahl was born to an unmarried mother who lived in Stockholm. Her childhood was spent partly in Jämtland with her maternal grandparents and partly in Stockholm with her mother, who worked as a cleaner and seamstress. Having completed her schooling Viveka Seldahl worked both as an errand girl at an insurance company and in the PUB department store’s interior accessories section. She wanted to be an actor, however, and was also taking lessons at Willy Koblank’s theatre school. Following three attempts at gaining entry to the Stockholm theatre school she successfully entered the Gothenburg theatre school on her first attempt in 1967.
Viveka Seldahl became an employee of Göteborgs stadsteater (city theatre) in 1970. She remained there until 1978. She became well-known to the Gothenburg audiences by performing such roles as the lead part in three of Brecht’s plays: Heliga Johanna från slakthusen, Den kaukasiska kritcirkeln, and Den goda människan från Sezuan. She also acted in several films and TV-series during this time, including Raskens, in which she portrayed Nergårds-Anna and was introduced to a wide TV-audience across the country.
She also became a mother during her time in Gothenburg. Her son Karl Seldahl was born in 1975. His father was fellow actor Sven Wollter, who was Viveka Seldahl’s life companion. They appeared opposite each other on many occasions throughout their careers, for example in the first two Änglagård films from the 1990s and in theatrical productions such as Macbeth, and Cyrano.
Following the Göteborgs stadsteater period both Viveka Seldahl and Sven Wollter set up two different theatres, namely Angeredsteatern in 1978, which was the first ‘suburban’ theatre in Sweden, and Gävle Folkteater in 1983. After a few years in Gävle Viveka Seldahl gained employment at Stockholms stadsteater in 1986, where she remained until her death. She won acclaim for many of her performances at that theatre, albeit not all of them were lead roles. During this time she also frequently appeared on film, including as Sonja in Harry och Sonja, where she acted opposite Stellan Skarsgård.
Viveka Seldahl was twice awarded the Guldbagge prize. The first time was in 1989 for her portrayal of Maja-Lena in s/y Glädjen, whilst the second time was posthumously in 2001 for her contribution to En sång för Martin. Her son Karl Seldahl, himself a theatre director, received the latter prize on her behalf. Viveka Seldahl was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2000. Despite being declared cancer-free following an operation, the cancer returned and eventually led to her death on 3 November 2001. She performed in a production of Tre systrar at Stockholm stadsteater as late as February that same year. Her burial site can be seen at The Woodland Cemetery on Kungsholmen in Stockholm.