History in Pictures and ‘Greta Garbo’ — Another Good Story Ruined


I don’t follow History in Pictures on Twitter, but many of my friends do and there were groans and complaints when this photo was posted Saturday, identifying the woman as Greta Garbo.

Let’s take a closer look:


Well, this is obviously “Not Greta Garbo,” even if you do a Google image search that says it is.


As we have noted before, Google is nothing but a worldwide popularity contest (are you listening, Wikipedia?) and if the world decides that this is a picture of Greta Garbo, then by gosh, Google will say that’s who it is, regardless of whether it’s true.

A little further digging reveals:


Yes, Not Greta Garbo is everywhere.


Why if it isn’t Not Greta Garbo!

Yes, Not Greta Garbo is actually Flavia de Oliveira and the photo is from a 2009 fashion feature in Elle.


Another good story ruined – and a lesson about why it’s important to be cautious about anything posted on the Internet.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Another Good Story Ruined, Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to History in Pictures and ‘Greta Garbo’ — Another Good Story Ruined

  1. Cal and Lulu says:

    This revelation is important! Too many un-truths get passed off for the real thing. We’re lucky to have L.A.Daily Mirror as our “Wiki-Police” Thanks for all that you do.


  2. I use GOOGLE pictures a lot when playing the Movie Mystery Photo (as I suspect many do), and it always amazes me what shows up. With more obscure actors, we usually get four or five pictures of the actual actor, then a hodge lodge of co-stars and other seemingly unrelated pictures. I assume the GOOGLE logarithm picks out people with the same or similar names.


  3. Earl Boebert says:

    Just keep muttering as you surf: “Must remember Sturgeon’s Law. Must remember Sturgeon’s Law.”

    “The truth is out there. Trust no one site.” is another good rule 🙂


  4. Greg Clancey says:

    Always check the ears. They never lie.


  5. J'aime Rubio says:

    Google Books decided to write a biography of one of my earlier books, a children’s book that I wrote with my two children. Well, Google books wrote that my son was the sole author, that he was a businessman and consultant for some web-based software and that he was from Cuba! All of which was completely false! I wrote them and asked where on earth did they get their info, and to remove it immediately. Of course, they passed the buck to the company they use as their “info researchers” and told them they cannot, and for me to take it up with them. They failed to give me the research companies contact information as well.— It is amazing the incorrect information that is allowed online. I am glad that there are some people out there that recognize these errors and try to fix it.


  6. Eve says:

    Not Greta Garbo is one of my favorite actresses! I loved her in “Not Grand Hotel,” and all her movies with Not John Gilbert.


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