• 4 September 1890
  •  Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden

Naima Wifstrand


Raised by a single mother, she grew up in a poor home at Fleminggatan in Stockholm. She was working extra in a small shop for sewing materials and the owner encouraged her acting dreams. In 1905 she was accepted to accompany the Anna Lundberg travelling theatre company around Sweden. This led to small roles at theatres both in Helsinki and Stockholm. In 1910 she became a student for the famous song teacher Raymond von zur Mühlen in London. During the years before and under WWI her fame grew and she got major roles in operettas by Emmerich Kálmán and Franz Lehár. Until the mid 1920s she was the queen of the operettas, performing in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. But finally she had had enough and was vying for more dramatic parts. Finding work was not so easy though and she spent a lot of time in England, performing for smaller audiences with singing and guitar playing. Her dramatic breakthrough did not come until 1937 when she met director Per Lindberg who gives her the chance to tour around Sweden with Bertolt Brecht's The Three-penny-opera. When Bertolt Brecht escaped from The Third Reich and moved to Sweden, he wrote Mother Courage for her. In 1948 she starred in 'Me and My Gal' with Nils Poppe at Södra Teatern in Stockholm. During the 1950s she was employed by Malmö Stadsteater together with Ingmar Bergman. Bergman also gave her some minor but good roles in his movies, most notably as the old Mrs. Armfelt in Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) and as Granny Vogler in The Magician (1958).