Ava Gardner, 1922-1990

  • Ava-Gardner-WWP

Woman Category: Theater & CinemaWoman Tags: Actress, NYC Women, and Singer

  • HerStory

    Actress and singer, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars of all time.

    Born as Ava Lavinia Gardner in Grabtown, NC, to a poor family of tobacco farmers, the youngest of 7 children. After graduating high school, she attended secretarial classes for a year. At 18, while visiting her sister in NYC, her brother-in-law, who was a professional photographer, took her portrait and put it on display in the front window of his studio. A legal clerk who worked as an MGM talent scout spotted her photo and suggested to send her info to the studios. Despite her Carolina drawl and with zero acting experience, Gardner was offered a contract and moved to Hollywood.
    Gardner began taking diction lessons as well as acting, gymnastics, fashion, and makeup lessons, and at 19, she made her first appearance in the film “We Were Dancing”. For the next 5 years, she played mainly small decorative parts, until in 1946, she came to prominence playing the femme fatale Kitty Collins in “The Killers”, a typecast that she would play over and over in her career.
    During the following 18 years, she played in the biggest movies of the time, acting alongside A-list actors, such as Robert Taylor, Clark Gable, and Humphrey Bogart. As she aged, she struggled landing roles, and at age 42, she played her last major leading role in the film “The Night of the Iguana”. In the 70’s she appeared briefly in several movies, especially disaster films, and in the 80’s she acted mainly on television. At the age of 60, she filmed her last film, “Regina Roma”.
    When she was 29 years old, after already getting divorced twice, she married Frank Sinatra. It lasted only six years, and after the failure of her third marriage and without children, she moved to Spain and then to London, where she lived for 22 years until her death at the age of 67. In her legendary career, Gardner appeared in more than 60 films and was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award.

    “When I lose my temper, honey, you can’t find it any place”

    “When I lose my temper, honey, you can’t find it any place”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • She had a Welsh Corgi named Morgan, given her by Sinatra.
    • She was a good friend of Howard Hughes and Ernest Hemingway.
    • A small island in Fiji was renamed “Ava Ava” as a promotion for the film “The Little Hut”.
    • A statue of her is located in Tossa de Mar, Spain.
    • The Ava Gardner Museum of memorabilia is located in Smithfield, NC.
    • She was portrayed by Marcia Gay Harden in “Sinatra”, by Deborah Kara Unger in “The Rat Pack”, by Christine Andreas in “Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story”, by Jon Mack in ”Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” and by Kate Beckinsale in “The Aviator”.
  • More About Her Legacy
    Creations By and About Her:

    * Movies she played in
    * Books about her
    * Her autobiography


    * Awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
    * Was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history
    * Inducted into the American Film Institute's list of the greatest American female screen legends

  • Watch and Learn More

  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • Booking.com


  • Woman Tags: Actress, NYC Women, Singer

    Ava Gardner, 67 (1922-1990) US Actress

    Ava Lavinia Gardner, 67 (24th December 1922 - 25th January 1990) was an American actress and singer. She was signed to a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1941 and appeared mainly in small roles until she drew attention with her performance in The Killers (1946). She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Mogambo (1953), and also received BAFTA Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for other films. Gardner appeared in several high-profile films from the 1940s to 1970s, including The Hucksters (1947), Show Boat (1951), Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952), The Barefoot Contessa (1954), Bhowani Junction (1956), On the Beach (1959), 55 Days at Peking (1963), Seven Days in May (1964), The Night of the Iguana (1964), The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966), The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), Earthquake (1974), and The Cassandra Crossing (1976). Gardner continued to act regularly until 1986, four years before her death in London in 1990 at the age of 67.

  • Ava Gardner with Frank Sinatra, NY 1952. Photo credit - Library of Congress.

  • Citations and Additional References:
    IMDB page.
    Wikipedia page.
    CR Fashion Book website.