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Ava Gardner

Ava Gardner

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Also Known As: Ava Lavinia Gardner Died: January 25, 1990
Born: December 24, 1922 Cause of Death: pneumonia after long illness
Birth Place: Brogden, North Carolina, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Amidst a sea of blonde-haired bombshells, Ava Gardner stood out as one of Hollywood's true screen sirens, with her legendary beauty and rollercoaster love affairs. The stunning green-eyed brunette was often described as having the face of an angel and the body of a goddess, best known for playing Mara Vargas in "The Barefoot Contessa" (1954). The role that launched Gardner's career, however, was that of ultimate femme fatale Kitty Collins in Ernest Hemingway's "The Killers" (1946). What was infinitely more interesting to fans, however, was her much chronicled off-screen life in which the wild child did what she wanted when she wanted; others be damned - whether it was dating married men, openly courting bullfighters or throwing back whiskey shots like a man. Her complicated, passionate relationships opposite a wide spectrum of Hollywood's leading men fascinated the public the most - from her odd hook-up with the diminutive king of the box office, Mickey Rooney, to living under the thumb of Svengali husband, bandleader Artie Shaw. But it was her tumultuous union to crooner Frank Sinatra which brought the actress the most chronicled pain and pleasure of her life, leading to obsession, abortion and...

Amidst a sea of blonde-haired bombshells, Ava Gardner stood out as one of Hollywood's true screen sirens, with her legendary beauty and rollercoaster love affairs. The stunning green-eyed brunette was often described as having the face of an angel and the body of a goddess, best known for playing Mara Vargas in "The Barefoot Contessa" (1954). The role that launched Gardner's career, however, was that of ultimate femme fatale Kitty Collins in Ernest Hemingway's "The Killers" (1946). What was infinitely more interesting to fans, however, was her much chronicled off-screen life in which the wild child did what she wanted when she wanted; others be damned - whether it was dating married men, openly courting bullfighters or throwing back whiskey shots like a man. Her complicated, passionate relationships opposite a wide spectrum of Hollywood's leading men fascinated the public the most - from her odd hook-up with the diminutive king of the box office, Mickey Rooney, to living under the thumb of Svengali husband, bandleader Artie Shaw. But it was her tumultuous union to crooner Frank Sinatra which brought the actress the most chronicled pain and pleasure of her life, leading to obsession, abortion and suicide attempts. The fact that Sinatra could never control his real-life barefoot contessa would haunt him until the day he died, making the Sinatra-Gardner union one for the ages.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 That's Entertainment! III (1994) Song Performer
2.
 Priest of Love (1981) Mabel Dodge Luhan
3.
 Kidnapping Of The President, The (1980) Beth Richards
4.
 City on Fire (1979) Maggie Grayson
5.
 Sentinel, The (1977) Miss Logan
6.
 The Cassandra Crossing (1977) Nicole Dressler
7.
 Blue Bird, The (1976) Luxury
8.
 Permission to Kill (1975) Katin Petersen
9.
 The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) Lily Langtry as
10.
 Tam Lin (1971) Mrs. [Michaela "Micky"] Cazaret
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1935:
Family moved from Grabtown, North Carolina to Newport News, Virginia (date approximate)
:
Family returned to North Carolina
1940:
Gardner's photo in brother-in-law Larry Tarr's photographic studio window spotted by messenger in Loews legal department; Tarr sent photos to MGM; Gardner given audition with Marvin Schneck in MGM's New York headquarters (date approximate)
1941:
Went to Hollywood with sister Bappie; signed 7-year contract with MGM
1941:
Short film acting debut in "Fancy Answers"
1942:
Feature film debut (unbilled walk-on), "We Were Dancing"
1942:
Had first speaking role in film in "Calling Dr. Gillespie"
1943:
Recieved initial screen credit for "Ghosts on the Loose"
1946:
First leading role, "Whistle Stop"
1948:
Starred in the musical "One Touch of Venus"
1951:
Played Julie in the remake of "Show Boat"
1953:
Received sole Academy Award nomination as Best Actress in "Mogambo"
1955:
Moved to Spain
1957:
Cast as Lady Brett Ashley in the film version of Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises"
1958:
Left MGM
1963:
Settled in London
1964:
Delivered a fine turn as the blowsy hotel owner in "The Night of the Iguana"
1968:
Moved to London when Spanish tax authorities claimed Gardner owed $1 million in back taxes
1972:
Portrayed Lillie Langtry in "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean", opposite Paul Newman
1974:
Appeared in "Earthquake" opposite Charlton Heston
1976:
Traveled to the USSR to co-star in George Cukor's "The Blue Bird"
1981:
Played Mabel Dodge Luhan in "Priest of Love"
1983:
Final film "Regina/Regina Roma", a direct-to-video release
1985:
Appeared on the CBS primetime serial "Knots Landing"
1985:
Portrayed Agrippina in the NBC miniseries "A.D."
1985:
Acted in the NBC TV remake of "The Long Hot Summer"
1986:
Final TV role in the ABC miniseries "Harem"
1986:
Suffered a stroke which precluded any further acting roles
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Smithfield High School: -
Atlantic Christian College: Wilson , North Carolina -
Rock Ridge Teacherage: Rock Ridge , North Carolina - 1939

Notes

According to Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion, Ava Gardner was once voted the world's most beautiful woman.

There is an Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, North Carolina. The website address is www.avagardner.org

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Mickey Rooney. Actor. Married on January 10, 1942; divorced on May 21, 1943; met during Gardner's first week in Hollywood; couple had to ask Louis B Mayer for permission to marry.
husband:
Artie Shaw. Musician. Married on October 17, 1945; divorced in October 1946; born in 1910 in New York; his third of eight marriages; marriage lasted one year and one week.
companion:
Howard Duff. Actor. Together c. 1947.
companion:
Robert Taylor. Actor. Met while making "The Bribe"; relationship lasted four months during 1949.
husband:
Frank Sinatra. Singer, actor. Married on November 7, 1951; separated in 1954; divorced in 1957.
companion:
Dominguin. Bullfighter. Together c. 1953-56; four years younger than Gardner; met in Madrid; died in 1996 at age 69.
companion:
Walter Chiari. Actor. Italian; together 1956-59; co-starred in "The Little Hut" (1957).
companion:
Anthony Franciosca. Actor.
companion:
George C Scott. Actor. Had relationship while filming "The Bible" (1968).
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Jonas Bailey Gardner. Ran country store, sharecropper, farmer. Died c. 1949.
mother:
Mary Elizabeth Gardner. Boardinghouse landlady. Was 39 when Gardner was born; died on May 21, 1943.
brother:
Raymond Gardner. Died at age two as result of accidental dynamite explosion in fireplace.
sister:
Beatrice Gardner. Eldest sister; companion throughout Gardner's Hollywood career and in Spain; married second husband, Larry Tarr, who ran Tarr's photographic studio in NY and put Gardner's photo in window which was seen by MGM employee; third husband was Charlie Guest (a Howard Hughes employee).
brother:
Melvin Gardner.
sister:
Inez Gardner.
sister:
Myra Pearce. Born c. 1915.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Ava's Men"
"Ava Gardner: My Story"
"Ava Gardner: A Bio-Bibliography" Greenwood Press
"Grabtown Girl: Ava Gardner's North Carolina Childhood and Her Enduring Ties to Home" Down Home Press
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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