MAURITZ STILLER, Finnish film director, born (d: 1928); Many of the men in Greta Garbo’s life were gay, including some, still living, whose “affairs” with the film goddess easily threw a naïve public off the scent.

Stiller, however, really meant something to Garbo. He was her discoverer, her mentor, her friend. The director – tall, lean, gay, with a shock of hair and long expressive hands – was in demand in Hollywood, and his price to MGM to come to Southern California was a contract for the then pudgy Greta Gustafsson. That his failure as an MGM director was as spectacular as her success is at the very heart of Garbo’s eventual separation from Hollywood.