Nilsson, Anna Q. (1889–1974)

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Nilsson, Anna Q. (1889–1974)

Swedish-born actress of the silent era. Born Anna Querentia Nilsson, in Ystad, Sweden, on March 30, 1889; died in Hemet, California, on February 11, 1974; married Guy Coombs (an actor), in 1916 (divorced); married John Gunnerson (a shoe manufacturer), in 1923 (divorced 1925).

Selected filmography:

Molly Pitcher (1911); War's Havoc (1912); Under a Flag of Truce (1912); The Siege of Petersburg (1912); The Soldier Brothers of Suzanna (1912); The Battle of Bloody Ford (1913); Prisoners of War (1913); Shenandoah (1913); The Breath of Scandal (1913); Uncle Tom's Cabin (1913); Retribution (1913); The Ex-Convict (1914); The Man in the Vault (1914); Wolfe—Or the Conquest of Quebec (1914); The Haunting Fear (1915); Regeneration (1915); Barbara Fritchie (1915); The Scarlet Road (1916); Who's Guilty? (series, 1916); The Supreme Sacrifice (1916); Infidelity (1917); The Moral Code (1917); The Inevitable (1917); Seven Keys to Baldpate (1917); Over There (1917); The Trail to Yesterday (1918); The Heart of the Sunset (1918); No Man's Land (1918); The Vanity Pool (1918); Auction of Souls (1919); Cheating Cheaters (1919); Venus in the East (1919); Soldiers of Fortune (1919); The Love Burglar (1919); Her Kingdom of Dreams (1919); The Luck of the Irish (1920); The Thirteenth Commandment (1920); The Toll Gate (1920); One Hour Before Dawn (1920); The Fighting Chance (1920); In the Heart of a Fool (1920); The Brute Master (1920); Without Limit (1921); The Oath (1921); The Lotus Eater (1921); What Women Will Do (1921); Why Girls Leave Home (1921); Three Live Ghosts (1922); The Man from Home (1922); Pink Gods (1922); The Rustle of Silk (1923); The Isle of Lost Ships (1923); Hearts Aflame (1923); Adam's Rib (1923); The Spoilers (1923); Ponjola (1923); Innocence (1923); Painted People (1924); Flowing Gold (1924); Between Friends (1924); Broadway After Dark (1924); The Side Show of Life (1924); Vanity's Price (1924); Inez from Hollywood (1924); If I Marry Again (1925); The Top of the World (1925); The Talker (1925); The Splendid Road (1925); One Way Street (1925); Winds of Chance (1925); The Greater Glory (1926); Midnight Lovers (1926); Miss Nobody (1926); Too Much Money (1926); Her Second Chance (1926); Easy Pickings (1927); Lonesome Ladies (1927); Babe Comes Home (1927); The Masked Woman (1927); Sorrell and Son (1927); The Thirteenth Juror (1927); Blockade (1928); The Whip (1928); The World Changes (1933); The Little Minister (1934); School for Girls (1935); Paradise for Three (1938); The Trial of Mary Dugan (1941); They Died with Their Boots On (1942); Crossroads (1942); The Great Man's Lady (1942); Cry Havoc (1943); The Valley of Decision (1945); The Secret Heart (1946); The Farmer's Daughter (1947); Cynthia (1947); It Had to Be You (1947); Fighting Father Dunne (1948); The Boy with Green Hair (1948); In the Good Old Summertime (1949); Adam's Rib (1949); Malaya (1950); The Big Hangover (1950); Sunset Boulevard (1950); Show Boat (1951); The Law and the Lady (1951); An American in Paris (1951); Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954).

Born in 1889 in Ystad, Sweden, Anna Q. Nilsson was still a teenager when she began earning money to finance a trip to New York. Arriving in the city in 1907, she was spotted in front of Carnegie Hall by artist Carol Bickwith who asked the blonde beauty to pose for him. Nilsson subsequently gained some prominence as the Stanlow Poster Girl, which led to work as a photographer's model. In 1911, she signed with the Kalem Company, one of the early movie crews in New York, and that year made her debut in Molly Pitcher. Nilsson's career remained in high gear until 1925, when she shattered her hip in a horseback-riding accident. She endured three surgeries and a long recuperation before she was able to walk again, and her career suffered as a result. "At first I was heartbroken that my career was ended but I get over things very quickly," she said later. Nilsson made an easy transition into a more prosaic life, taking up travel and charity work. In 1933, she began accepting bit parts in talkies, although she found the industry much changed. "Everything was so different from when I had worked before and I never had much confidence in myself." She nonetheless continued to accept occasional cameos, including one playing herself in Sunset Boulevard (1950). Her last role was a bit in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). Nilsson, who had two brief marriages, spent her later years in a senior citizen project in Sun City, California, where she enjoyed some celebrity as a film personality.


Katz, Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia. NY: Harper-Collins, 1994.

Lamparski, Richard. Whatever Became of …? 3rd Series. NY: Crown, 1970.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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Nilsson, Anna Q. (1889–1974)

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