• 30 March 1888
  •  Ystad, Skåne län, Sweden

Anna Q. Nilsson


Anna Quirentia Nilsson, popularly known as "Anna Q", who was born on March 30th, 1888, in Ystad, Sweden, emigrated to the United States in 1905. The 5'7" Nilsson used her blonde beauty to become a famous model for well-known fashion photographers and fine artists. In 1907 she was chosen the most beautiful girl in the US and in 1911 made her film debut in Molly Pitcher (1911). She was an overnight sensation, becoming a silent film superstar in the first decade of the 20th century. In 1914 she was chosen the most beautiful actress "in the world" and Photoplay magazine named her "the ideal American girl" in 1919. She appeared in films by the top studios in Hollywood, including Goldwyn, Famous Players (Paramount), Metro and First National. Her movie career continued to flourish in the 1920s, the decade of the flapper and bathtub gin, the so-called Jazz Age. In 1926 she is chosen the most popular actress. However, she suffered a major setback in 1928, when she was thrown off a horse and fractured her thigh. To her relatives in Sweden she wrote " . . . no tragedy is greater than mine. I am still a young star and suddenly everything is lost". Her fans supported her with some 30,000 letters a month and Nilsson tried to rush her convalescence. It made a bad situation worse and doctors needed to shorten her leg. In 1931 Nilsson was back before the camera, but her stardom was unfortunately in the past. She appeared in approximately 40 more films until she retired in 1954. She was one of the bridge players (a.k.a. the "wax works") in Norma Desmond's mansion in Sunset Boulevard (1950), appearing with her former co-star, silent film superstar and prominent victim of sound, H.B. Warner. Four years later, she appeared in a small part in her motion-picture swan-song, the classic musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). Anna Q. Nillson died on February 11, 1974, six weeks shy of her 85th birthday.