Svante Thunberg is a Swedish actor, arts manager, producer, and author. He is the husband of Swedish operatic mezzo-soprano, Malena Ernman, and the father of world renowned t environmental activist Greta Thunberg. He is particularly known for his work in theatre as a youth artist, and for performing at Östgötateatern in Norrköping later. He also appeared in an episode of the Swedish television series 'Skärgårdsdoktorn' in 1998. In 2002, he portrayed composer Joseph Martin Kraus in Ditte Feuk's film 'Joseph–musikens förförare' at SVT. Later on, he began serving as the manager and producer for his singer wife. In 2018, he co-wrote the book 'Scener ur hjärtat' (Scenes from the Heart) along with his wife Malena and their two daughters Greta and Beata. Written in the style of an autobiography, the book includes topics such as their family, the environmental crisis and sustainability.
After completing his acting training at Göteborg University, Svante Thunberg joined Riksteatern (or the 'Riks'), and toured as part of its youth program, the 'Unga Riks' (Young Riksteatern). As part of Unga Riks, he performed as an actor in plays, such as Thomas Tidholm's 'Tralala-la' (1997), Börje Lindström's 'Sprit' (1998), Irena Kraus' 'Ciao bella' (1999), Isa Schöier's 'Min bror' (2000), and Petter S. Rosenlund's 'En hopplös grabb' (2001). Apart from his theatre work, he appeared in an episode of the television series 'Skärgårdsdoktorn' in 1998 and played the lead role of composer Joseph Martin Kraus in Ditte Feuk's 2002 film 'Joseph–musikens förförare'.
He gained media attention when his wife, opera singer Malena Ernman, decided to participate in the Eurovision song contest in 2009. Less than a decade later, the family again earned attention from world media after his teenage daughter, Greta Thunberg, decided to highlight issues about climate change to top world leaders in 2018.
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Family & Personal Life
Svante Fritz Vilhelm Thunberg was born on June 10, 1969, in Saltsjö-Boo parish in Stockholm County, Sweden. His father was actor and director, Olof Thunberg, and his mother was actress Mona Andersson. He joined the Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern (Royal Dramatic Theater) Dramaten in 1991 and subsequently began training as an actor at Göteborg University.
Svante Thunberg has been married to Swedish opera singer Sara Magdalena 'Malena' Ernman since 2004. His wife had entered the Eurovision song contest for Sweden in 2009 with her song 'La Voix'. However, she finished 21st among 25 contestants with only 33 points. They have two daughters named Greta Thunberg and Beata Ernman. His older daughter Greta is known worldwide for initiating the 'school strike for climate' movement in August 2018. Interestingly, his family is distantly related to Svante Arrhenius, the Nobel winning Swedish scientist who was the first to predict that carbon emissions would lead to warming.
Controversies & Scandals
Not long after his daughter Greta gained international fame for her climate change movement, Svante Thunberg and his wife were dragged into a common controversy targeted at parents of famous kids. Many questioned why his daughter was missing school while taking her protest to the Swedish parliament, some even going to the extent of insinuating that the parents manipulated and helped the strike happen and get noticed in the first place. This was caused in part due to the fact that businessman and green activist Ingmar Rentzhog, who first posted a picture of her holding a hand-drawn wooden sign stating “skolstrejk för klimatet” (school strike for climate) on his Facebook page after finding her while passing by, had previously shared stage with her mother Malena a few months back at a climate conference. Some claimed that the chance-meeting was actually carefully orchestrated, and helped Ingmar and his firm 'We Don’t Have Time', the market value of which skyrocketed by £1million shortly after Greta was invited on to its youth advisory board. However, both Greta and her family have vehemently denied any prior knowledge about the company using her name as part of another branch of their organization that is a start-up business. According to them, they no longer have any connection with 'We Don’t Have Time', and the company has "deeply apologized" for the incident.
During an interview with Leslie Hook from 'Financial Times' in February 2019, Svante Thunberg stressed that his daughter is the topper of her class and makes up for the work that she misses for her activism. He also added that his daughter underwent trauma and depression after learning about pollution and climate change in school back in 2011, when she was eight. She had stopped eating or going to school, and talked only to close family members. Around this time, she was also diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and selective mutism. The family was forced to change lifestyle and only taking action on climate change helped in her recovery.