Anything Goes: Anna Sten

Anything Goes: Anna Sten

Anna Sten was born in Russia, her father was a Ukranian ballet master, who pasypt away when Anna was only 12. Anna began to work as a waitress, to help her mother pay the bills. She was 15 years old, when she auditioned and won the role, in an amateur play. Anna began studying at, Kiev’s school for the dramatic arts. After appearing in more plays, she caught the eye of Stanislavsky, the famous Russian film director. Through the 1920’s Anna was praised in Germany and Russia, for her silent films. Samuel Goldwyn saw her picture, in a European fan magazine and rushed to see one of her films. He fell in love with her face & made a deal with Sten to come to America, to work for him. Anna had made a smooth transition to Russian & German, talkies but what Goldwyn overlooked, was that Anna couldn’t speak ANY English. Sam Goldwyn had a private tutor teach Anna English, prepare her for American films and gave her the over-all starlet, treatment for, two years. He was bragging before a picture was even made, that Anna Sten would be a rival of Dietrich & Garbo. Goldwyn poured big bucks into Sten’s film debut, “Nana” (1934) and it flopped with a heavy thud. Goldwyn didn’t give up hope and put her in tow more films, one of them co-starring, Gary Cooper. Though the publicity, big names, and beauty was there, Anna failed to bring an audience. Goldwyn sadly dissolved his contract with his “new Garbo”, in 1935. Cole Porter wrote a song about Goldwyn’s high ambitions for Sten called, “Anything Goes”, for the musical of the same name. The passage goes, “If Sam Goldwyn can with great conviction / Instruct Anna Sten in diction / Then Anna shows / Anything goes.” Sten appeared in films as a favor to her husband, Russian film director, Fedor Ozep. One thing is for certain, Anna Sten may not have rivaled Garbo’s acting skills, but her beauty did! Anna lived a long life and passed away, peacefully in NYC, at age 85.


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