Famed Ingmar Bergman actress Bibi Andersson died today at age 83, after suffering a stroke nine years ago. Seemingly unrelated to HE’s own Harriet Andersson (or am I mistaken?), Bibi had a 14-year peak period between ’57 (costarring roles in Smiles of a Summer Night, The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries coupled with an “intense” affair with Bergman) to Bergman’s The Touch (’71, costarring Elliot Gould).
Andersson’s most significant, respected and best-known Bergman role was opposite Liv Ullman in the probing, psychologically layered, somewhat lezzy-ish Persona.
Her other noteworthy performances were in The Passion of Anna (’69), The Kremlin Letter (’70), Scenes from a Marriage (’73), I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (’77), An Enemy of the People (’78), Quintet (’79), The Concorde — Airport ’79 (’79) and Babette’s Feast (’87).
Andersson always delivered a palpable undercurrent. Complex, a bit bothered. Nobody of her generation did moody and vaguely mysterious better or more provocatively.
The fanatics may or may not flinch over the following but Andersson was something of a high-toned Swedish sex object in her ’60s and early ’70s prime. A fair amount of tasteful nude scenes, a brightener of moviegoer imaginations, etc. Anyone who knows her career will tell you this. I shouldn’t mention this for obvious reasons, I realize, but honesty compels it.