Greta Garbo and Leo The Lion
When Greta Garbo was first brought to Hollywood from her native Sweden in 1925
by MGM’s Louis B. Mayer she was a 19 year old with only a few Swedish films to her credit. MGM started a publicity blitz to promote their new budding star. Probably the most popular publicity photos that were taken of Garbo were by sports photographer Don Gillum. Gillum was under contract to MGM to photograph several of their contract players including Garbo. In the spring of 1926. Gillum took her to the Lion Farm where Greta posed with Jackie the Lion, known as Leo the Lion, MGM’s mascot. She was coaxed into one picture seated in a chair beside the lion. Greta nervously moved to the farthest edge of the chair and her uneasiness is evident. Later Gillum took pictures of Garbo playing with lion cubs. The photos of Garbo with the lions were some of the most famous he ever took of Greta.