Ava Gardner ~ The Beauty Who Seduced Hollywood

Ava Gardner In Color

Ava Gardner was a sultry Hollywood superstar known for her many love affairs

She was born Ava Lavinia Gardner on December 24, 1922, in Grabtown, North Carolina. Ava grew up in a poor farming family and was the youngest of seven children. In 1941 an MGM talent scout saw her photo and arranged for her to have a screen test. When MGM president Louis B. Mayer saw the test he said "She can't act. She can't talk. She's terrific". She made her film debut in the 1941 short Fancy Answers. Shortly after arriving in Hollywood she began dating actor Mickey Rooney. They were married in January of 1942. The nineteen year old claimed she was a virgin on their wedding night. Unfortunately Mickey cheated on her and she left him after less than a year of marriage. Ava started getting small parts in movies like Ghosts On The Loose and We Were Dancing. When she wasn't acting she posed for countless sexy pin-up photos. She married bandleader Artie Shaw in 1945. That same year she got her first starring role in the film-noir The Killers opposite Burt Lancaster. Her performance as a sultry femme fatale made her a star. More hit films followed including The Hucksters, One Touch Of Venus, and The Great Sinner.

Ava Gardner In ColorAva Gardner

Ava Gardner

Unfortunately her marriage to Artie only lasted a year. The stunning brunette openly admitted she loved sex and was often called “the most irresistible woman in Hollywood”. Among her many lovers were Howard Duff, Turhan Bey, Robert Walker, Fernando Lamas, and billionaire Howard Hughes. Ava became good friends with her fellow MGM actress Lana Turner. The two women were so close that Confidential magazine accused them of being lovers! While filming The Bribe she had a brief affair with Robert Taylor who was married to Barbara Stanwyck. She fell in love with married superstar Frank Sinatra in 1948. When the press found out about the affair there was a major scandal and she was labeled a homewrecker. Frank divorced his wife and they were married on November 7, 1951. During the marriage she became pregnant twice. Ava chose to have abortions because their marriage was so rocky. The couple split in 1953 but they continued to see each other for years. She always said Frank the great love of her life. Her success continued with roles in Showboat and The Barefoot Contessa.

Ava Gardner In ColorAva Gardner

Ava Gardner Frank Sinatra
With Frank Sinatra

In 1954 she was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Mogambo. Tired of living in Hollywood she decided to move to Spain in the late 1950s. Ava spent much of her time flamenco dancing and going to bullfights. She had a torrid romance with bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguin and became close friends with Ernest Hemingway. Unfortunately she also developed a serious drinking problem, While filming The Bible in 1966 she fell in love with George C. Scott. Their romance ended when he became abusive. Tax issues in Spain forced her to move to England in 1968. Ava would spend the rest of her life living in London with her beloved dogs. During the 1970s she starred in the disaster films Earthquake and The Cassandra Crossing. She continued acting until she suffered a stroke in the 1980s. One of her final roles was on the television drama Knots Landing, On January 25, 1990 she died from pneumonia at her London home. She was seventy-seven years old. Ava was buried at Sunset Memorial Park in Smithfield, North Carolina. Her autobiography, Ava: My Story, was published after her death.

Ava and Burt Lancaster in The Killers

Ava Gardner Magazine

Ava GardnerAva Gardner

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