Bergman was born in Stockholm to a Swedish father and a German mother and started her career as an actress in Swedish and German films in the 1930s. Her introduction to American audiences came with her starring role in the English-language remake of Intermezzo (1939). At her insistence, producer David O. Selznick agreed not to sign her to a contract—for four films rather than the then-standard seven-year period, also at her insistence—until after Intermezzo had been released. Selznick's financial problems meant that Bergman was often loaned to other studios. Apart from Casablanca, her performances from this period include Victor Fleming's remake of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Gaslight (1944), and The Bells of St. Mary's (1945). Her last films for Selznick were Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945) and Notorious (1946). Her final film for Hitchcock was Under Capricorn (1949).
After a decade in American films, she starred in Roberto Rossellini's Stromboli (1950), following the revelation that she was having an extramarital affair with the director. The affair and then marriage with Rossellini created a scandal in the U.S. that forced her to remain in Europe for several years, after which she made a successful return to working for a Hollywood studio in Anastasia (1956), for which she won her second Academy Award. Although she made many films for Hollywood studios in subsequent years, they were all made in Europe and she did not film in Hollywood again until 1969.
According to the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, Bergman quickly became "the ideal of American womanhood" and a contender for Hollywood's greatest leading actress. In the United States, she is considered to have brought a "Nordic freshness and vitality" to the screen, along with exceptional beauty and intelligence; David O. Selznick once called her "the most completely conscientious actress" he had ever worked with. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Bergman as the fourth-greatest female screen legend of classic American cinema.
Bergman was born on 29 August 1915 in Stockholm, to a Swedish father, Justus Samuel Bergman (2 May 1871 – 29 July 1929), and his German wife, Friedel Henrietta Augusta Louise (née Adler) Bergman (12 September 1884 – 19 January 1918), who was born in Kiel. Her parents married in Hamburg in 1907. She was named after Princess Ingrid of Sweden. She mainly grew up in Sweden, but spent the summers in Germany, and spoke fluent German.
When she was two years old, her mother died. Her father, who was an artist and photographer, died when she was 13. In the years before he died, he wanted her to become an opera star, and had her take voice lessons for three years. But she always "knew from the beginning that she wanted to be an actress," sometimes wearing her mother's clothes and staging plays in her father's empty studio. Her father documented all her birthdays with a borrowed camera.