Greta Thyssen, the blonde bombshell who doubled for Marilyn Monroe and served as a final foil for the Three Stooges, has died. Thyssen’s daughter, Genevieve Guenther, revealed that her mother passed away of pneumonia over the weekend at the Manhattan apartment she had lived in for the past 45 years. The Danish actress was 90-years-old, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Early in her acting career, Greta Thyssen landed a small contract with MGM. Greta appeared in guest roles on TV shows like Dragnet and Perry Mason, but she was best known for her work in several “B” movies in the 1950s and ’60s, including The Beast of Budapest (1958), Terror Is a Man (1959), and Three Blondes in His Life (1961). The former Miss Denmark (1952) also served as a body double for Marilyn Monroe during the filming of the 1956 romantic comedy Bus Stop.
In a 2010 interview posted by NJ.com, Greta Thyssen revealed that she got to know Marilyn Monroe a little bit when working with her on the film Bus Stop and that she felt bad for the movie star.
“That was a time when they were really hard on her,” Thyssen said. “I felt so upset for her because everybody was speaking behind her back.”
In what would become her most memorable roles, in the late 1950s, Thyssen also appeared opposite Three Stooges stars Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Joe Besser in the slapstick comedy shorts “Quiz Whizz,” “Pies and Guys” and the trio’s 190th—and final—short ever released, “Sappy Bull Fighters.” Decades later, Thyssen admitted that she forgot all about getting a cream pie in the face (twice!) in “Pies and Guys,” but she did recall that Larry, Moe, and Joe were very nice to her.
“But I wasn’t that interested in it,” Thyssen admitted of the cult Three Stooges fame.
“I didn’t quite understand that those kind of shorts would later be so admired and loved. I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t know anything about it, really, to tell you the truth. I just was offered the job, because they wanted to start, again, doing Stooges.“
With her gorgeous looks and hourglass curves, Greta Thyssen filled movie magazines in the 1950s, but she also made headlines in the 1960s for her red-hot romance with actor Cary Grant. The blonde beauty ended her acting career in 1967 when she decided to leave the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to start a family with her husband, Theodore Guenther.
Greta Thyssen’s last acting credit in the movie business was in the 1967 film, Cottonpickin’ Chickenpickers. In a 1975 interview posted by The Galveston Daily News, Thyssen revealed that she was contemplating a return to show business and planned to study acting with famed acting teacher Lee Strasberg.
“He once told me I had great talent as an actress but that nobody would ever believe it because of the way I looked,” she said at the time.
Greta Thyssen later went on to a successful career as a painter at the Art Students League in New York. More recently, Greta Thyssen was the subject of the 2015 documentary My Friend Greta, which was produced by her dear friend, Leslie J Frye.
You can see Greta Thyssen in the Three Stooges short “Pies and Guys” below.