During the golden age of Hollywood, Austrian actress Salka Viertel (1889-1978) rose to become a major cultural impresario and the highest-paid writer on the MGM lot. Viertel was Greta Garbo's most intimate friend, and at her Santa Monica home she often welcomed Charlie Chaplin and Shelley Winters, as well as European émigrés like Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, and Arnold Schoenberg. Reintroducing Viertel, Donna Rifkind reveals an ambitious bohemian with a complicated erotic life, and a mother figure who spoke eight languages.
"A study of a complex, openhearted woman who had a key role in saving the displaced while shaping mid-20th-century Hollywood. Rifkind has penned a perceptive, exhaustively researched contribution to social and film history." —Library Journal