JOHANNA SÄLLSTRÖM: IN MEMORIUM


JOHANNA SÄLLSTRÖM:
30 December 1974 - 13 February 2007

Johanna Maria Ellinor Berglund-Sällström (born Johanna Maria Ellinor Berglund in Stockholm) worked as an actress for more than 15 years before committing suicide at her home in Malmö on 13 February 2007.






Her first stage appearance was in A Midsummer Night's Dream, in Hudiksvall, at the age of 15.


She became famous in Sweden in the 1990s after portraying the teenage girl Victoria Bärnsten in the soap opera Tre kronor. Thereafter she appeared in numerous productions, and received a Guldbagge Award for best female actress in 1998. Later that same year, unable to cope with her new-found celebrity, she took a break from filming and moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, where she worked in a café.


In 2000 she returned to Sweden to continue her acting career. If she had wanted to disappear and be forgotten about, she had very much achieved that.


Johanna married Albin Sällström in 2000; they were divorced in 2002, about a year after the birth of their daughter Talula.


In 2004 Johanna and Talula narrowly escaped death in the 2004 tsunami while vacationing in Thailand. Johanna clung desperately to a tree with one arm and to her daughter with her other arm.


She did not enjoy the success of previous years until she won the role of police agent Linda Wallander in the Swedish TV series Wallander, which brought her career and financial success again. She became internationally known for her role in the series, based on Henning Mankell's books about Kurt Wallander, the first season airing in 2005 and 2006.


Her last role was in an Ystad theatre production of Anton Chekhov's play The Seagull, which she left prematurely due to illness.


Sällström was found dead in her home in Malmö shortly before midnight on 13 February 2007. She had recently been released from a psychiatric unit where she had been receiving treatment for depression. The cause of her death was suicide, believed to have been triggered by the 2004 Tsunami.


However, this was only the final, devastating precipitous psychological decline she suffered in a life-long battle with depression. She had stated in an interview in 2006 with the editor of the magazine Tove, "I always thought I would be dead at the age of thirty." Already battered and weakened by years of mental illness, the tsunami shattered her fragile psyche, culminating in her overdose of sleeping pills at the age of 32. She had made it past 30, but it could be said that her death was a self-fulfilling prophecy.