Beginning her acting-singing career in provincial Swedish theaters with operetta in 1928 and a success in a touring revue by Ernst Rolf in 1929, she soon worked her way up to starring roles in Stockholm and earned well from records. In 1935 she got a leading operetta role in Vienna, offered by 'Max Hansen', despite her initially imperfect command of German.
In 1936 she signed a contract with the Berlin film studio, UFA, that soon would be nationalized by Nazi Germany. In the following years she became the highest-paid star of German cinema. After the war broke out in 1939, she sent her family back to Sweden and shared her time between work in Germany and the family at home. She returned to Sweden in 1942 after finishing her work with the last of her films made in Nazi Germany - and after having declined a proposition by Dr. Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, for German citizenship.
In November 1944, Swedish radio decided to no longer play her records, and her career was definitely in the doldrums. Her home, a manor at the Swedish coast of the Baltic, became sanctuary for many a refugee having escaped over the Baltic in fear of the Soviet rule. After the war she strove to re-establish her career in Sweden, and succeeded in 1949 to overcome producers' fear for association with an artist that had been a prominent film star in Germany during the war. Her return was greeted enthusiastically by the audience, but in Sweden she would remain considered politically controversial in the eyes of many outside of her faithful audience.
In Austria and Germany her comeback was less difficult, but although the film Gabriela in 1950 was the third biggest box office hit in Germany, later films would prove that her film career had run its course.
In addition to a few musicals and some TV show appearances, concerts would for the rest of her life be her appearance of choice.