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Ava Gardner

Biography

Actress who have appeared in the film version of Hemingway’s The Killers and married Frank Sinatra. She also made an appearance in THE LIFE SPAN and Instances of Judge Roy Bean, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, as well as the Barefoot Contessa. She got secretarial classes at Atlantic Christian University. She was nominated for an Academy Honor for her function in Mogambo. Frank Sinatra was her third spouse, and they continued to be wedded from 1951 to 1957. She starred in the film Mogambo with Clark Gable.

Quick Facts


Full Name Ava Gardner
Date Of Birth December 24, 1922
Died January 25, 1990, Westminster, United Kingdom
Place Of Birth Smithfield, NC
Height 1.68 m
Profession Movie Actress
Education Barton College
Nationality American
Spouse Frank Sinatra, Artie Shaw, Mickey Rooney
Parents Mary Elizabeth Gardner, Jonas Bailey Gardner
Siblings Beatrice Gardner, Melvin Gardner, Inez Gardner, Elsie Mae Gardner, Myra Gardner, Raymond Gardner
Nominations Academy Award for Best Actress, Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture – Drama, BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
Movies Mogambo, The Barefoot Contessa, The Killers, The Night of the Iguana, Show Boat, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, 55 Days at Peking, Seven Days in May, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Bhowani Junction, On the Beach, The Bribe, One Touch of Venus, The Hucksters, The Great Sinner, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Whistle Stop, The Sun Also Rises, Ride, Vaquero!, Ghosts on the Loose, Mayerling, The Cassandra Crossing, The Little Hut, The Blue Bird, My Forbidden Past, East Side, West Side, Knights of the Round Table, The Angel Wore Red, The Bible: In the Beginning..., The Naked Maja, The Sentinel, Priest of Love, 3 Men in White, Lone Star, Maisie Goes to Reno, She Went to the Races, City on Fire, The Kidnapping of the President, Earthquake, Tam-Lin, The Long Hot Summer, Permission to Kill, Regina, Mighty Lak a Goat, Singapore, Harem, Joe Smith, American, Tam Lin, Strange Testament
TV Shows Knots Landing, Harem, The Long Hot Summer, Knots Landing DFN
Star Sign Capricorn

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1Underwent two abortions during her marriage to Frank Sinatra.
2She and Gregory Walcott both came from the same hometown.
3When he was married to her, Artie Shaw paid tribute to her home town by making an instrumental record with his Gramercy Five (a small group within his big band) called "The Grabtown Grapple.".
4Louis B. Mayer once said of her, "She can't talk, she can't act, she's terrific".
5Aunt of Billy Grimes.
6Charlton Heston revealed that Gardner behaved badly during the troubled shoot of 55 Days at Peking (1963) in his autobiography "In the Arena". For example, she stopped the filming when a Chinese extra took her picture without permission. Heston also stated that her character was killed off to keep the producers and director from having to deal with her anymore.
7London neighbor and close friend of Charles Gray.
8She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
9She underwent a hysterectomy in 1968 from worries about contracting uterine cancer, the disease that had taken her mother's life.
10She and Robert Taylor had a brief love affair during the filming of The Bribe (1949).
11Frank Sinatra bought her a puppy for her birthday during their courtship, a Corgi she named Rags. For the rest of her life she always had a Corgi with her. After Rags died, she had Cara and then Morgan.
12When her first husband, Mickey Rooney, brought his hugely successful musical "Sugar Babies" to London in the late 1980s, Gardner confessed to him that she had contemplated suicide after being left partially paralyzed by two strokes in 1986.
13She suffered from a severe case of emphysema in her later life, and she could not travel far without an oxygen tank for breathing.
14In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by Rosetta Calavetta. She was occasionally dubbed by Dhia Cristiani, Lidia Simoneschi and Andreina Pagnani.
15Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives." Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 319-321. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
16Ava's paternal great-grandparents, William Gardner and Cynthia Eliza Batts, were also the paternal great-great-great-great-grandparents of actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead. This makes Ava and Mary Elizbaeth second cousins, three times removed.
17Her The Angel Wore Red (1960) co-star Dirk Bogarde nicknamed her "Snowdrop" because, he said, anything less likely was difficult to imagine.
18Her three husbands were eventually married to a total of 20 brides between them.
19The production designer John Hawkesworth, an Englishman who was the set designer of her movie Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), said about Gardner that she "could eat twice as much as anyone, and drink three times as much.".
20An Australian reporter found that Gardner was quite adept at foul language, and her swearing was "like a sailor and a truck driver were having a competition." She threw a glass of champagne at the reporter, who said that at the moment she did so "the only thing I could think was how bloody gorgeous the woman was.".
21While living in Spain, became a good friend of the writer Ernest Hemingway, whom she and his other friends called "Papa". Both of then were fans of bullfighting.
22During her final years living in London, she became the dinner companion of director Michael Winner.
23Had appeared in three films based on Ernest Hemingway stories: The Sun Also Rises (1957), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952) and The Killers (1946).
24Frank Sinatra nicknamed her "Angel".
25Is portrayed by Deborah Kara Unger in The Rat Pack (1998), by Christine Andreas in Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story (1995), Jon Mack in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999), and by Kate Beckinsale in The Aviator (2004).
26Although she often gave the name of her North Carolina hometown as Grabtown, and at other times as Smithfield, the township is a crossroads community named Brogden. "Grabtown" is a nickname given to it by locals. Smithfield is a larger town seven miles west.
27Chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest American female screen legends (Number 25).
28Once named "The World's Most Beautiful Animal" (in a 1950s publicity campaign).
29Part of On the Beach (1959) was filmed in Berwick, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. Ava had a street - on that was being developed at the time - named for her. Its name is "Gardner Street".
30During the first two years of her marriage to Frank Sinatra, he was at the lowest point of his career. She often had to lend him money so he could buy presents for his children. He went broke in 1951, and Gardner had to pay for plane tickets for him so that he could go with her to Africa, where she was shooting Mogambo (1953). This all changed after he won his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in the film From Here to Eternity (1953).
31A statue of her from The Barefoot Contessa (1954) was given to Frank Sinatra as a gift. He kept it in his backyard garden well after their divorce. When he married Barbara Marx, she forced him to get rid of it.
32When shooting Earthquake (1974), she surprised director Mark Robson by insisting that she do her own stuntwork, which included dodging blocks of concrete and heavy steel pipes.
33Was a good friend of Kathryn Grayson and Lena Horne, despite the fact that Ava and Lena both competed for the part of Julie LaVerne in Show Boat (1951).
34Ex-daughter-in-law of Joe Yule (Mickey Rooney's father).
35Once met J.R.R. Tolkien and neither knew why the other was famous.
36After her death in 1990, Ava's longtime housekeeper, Carmen Vargas, and her dog, a Welsh Corgi named Morgan, were taken in by her former co-star Gregory Peck.
37She spent her final years as a recluse in her London apartment -- her only companions were her longtime housekeeper Carmen Vargas and her beloved Welsh Corgi, Morgan. Two strokes in 1986 left her partially paralyzed and bedridden. Although Gardner could easily afford her medical expenses, Frank Sinatra wanted to pay for her to visit a specialist in the United States, and she allowed him to make the arrangements for a medically-staffed private plane. Her last words (to her housekeeper Carmen), were, "I'm so tired", before she died of pneumonia at age 67. Vargas took her body home to her native North Carolina for private burial. None of her ex-husbands attended.
38There is an Ava Gardner Museum of memorabilia in Smithfield, North Carolina.
39She was continuously under contract at MGM, 1941-1958.
40In a promotion for The Little Hut (1957), a small island in Fiji was renamed Ava Ava and leased to a contest winner.
41Flamenco became one of Ava's favorite pastimes after she learned it for The Barefoot Contessa (1954); increasingly proficient and needing little sleep, she often danced all night.
42She sang in her own voice for The Killers (1946) but in all MGM films her singing voice was dubbed (much to her disgust).
43Her early education was sketchy; by 1945, she had read two books, the Bible and "Gone with the Wind." In later life, she more than made up for this lack by continual self-education.
44The youngest of 7 children. Her older siblings were Raymond, Melvin ("Jack"), Beatrice ("Bappie"), Elsie Mae, Inez, and Myra.
45She was the daughter of Mary Elizabeth (Baker) and Jonas Bailey Gardner. Her father was a tobacco farmer who died of bronchitis in 1935. Ava had British/English ancestry. She is sometimes cited as having had Native American ancestry, but this ancestry has never been verified/documented.
46Her singing voice in Show Boat (1951) was dubbed by Annette Warren, although her voice is left in on the soundtrack album.
47Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#68). [1995]


Actress

Actress

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Maggie1986TV MovieDiane Webb
Harem1986TV MovieKadin
The Long Hot Summer1985TV MovieMinnie Littlejohn
Knots Landing1985TV SeriesRuth Galveston Ruth Sumner Galveston
A.D.1985TV Mini-SeriesAgrippina
Regina Roma1982Mama
Priest of Love1981Mabel Dodge Luhan
The Kidnapping of the President1980Beth Richards
City on Fire1979Maggie Grayson
The Sentinel1977Miss Logan
The Cassandra Crossing1976Nicole Dressler
The Blue Bird1976Luxury
The Executioner1975Katina Petersen
Earthquake1974Remy
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean1972Lily Langtry
The Devil's Widow1970Michaela Cazaret
Mayerling1968Empress Elizabeth
The Bible: In the Beginning...1966Sarah
The Night of the Iguana1964Maxine Faulk
Seven Days in May1964Eleanor Holbrook
55 Days at Peking1963Baroness Natalie Ivanoff
The Angel Wore Red1960Soledad
On the Beach1959Moira Davidson
The Naked Maja1958Maria Cayetana, Duchess of Alba
The Sun Also Rises1957Lady Brett Ashley
The Little Hut1957Lady Susan Ashlow
Bhowani Junction1956Victoria Jones
The Barefoot Contessa1954Maria Vargas
Knights of the Round Table1953Guinevere
Mogambo1953Eloise Y. Kelly
Ride, Vaquero!1953Cordelia Cameron
The Band Wagon1953Ava Gardner (uncredited)
The Snows of Kilimanjaro1952Cynthia Green
Lone Star1952Martha Ronda
Show Boat1951Julie LaVerne
My Forbidden Past1951Barbara Beaurevel
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman1951Pandora Reynolds
East Side, West Side1949Isabel Lorrison
The Great Sinner1949Pauline Ostrovsky
The Bribe1949Elizabeth Hintten
One Touch of Venus1948Venus
Singapore1947Linda Grahame / Ann Van Leyden
The Hucksters1947Jean Ogilvie
The Killers1946Kitty Collins
Whistle Stop1946Mary
She Went to the Races1945Hilda Spotts
I'm a Civilian Here Myself1945ShortDream Girl (uncredited)
Blonde Fever1944Minor Role (uncredited)
Maisie Goes to Reno1944Gloria Fullerton
3 Men in White1944Jean Brown
Two Girls and a Sailor1944Dream Girl (uncredited)
Lost Angel1943Hat Check Girl (uncredited)
Swing Fever1943Receptionist (uncredited)
Young Ideas1943Co-ed (uncredited)
Ghosts on the Loose1943Betty
Hitler's Madman1943Franciska Pritric (uncredited)
Du Barry Was a Lady1943Perfume Girl (uncredited)
Reunion in France1942Marie - Salesgirl (uncredited)
Mighty Lak a Goat1942ShortGirl at theater box office (uncredited)
Calling Dr. Gillespie1942Graduating Student at Miss Hope's (uncredited)
Sunday Punch1942Ringsider (uncredited)
Kid Glove Killer1942Car Hop (uncredited)
This Time for Keeps1942Girl in Car Lighting Cigarette (uncredited)
Joe Smith, American1942Undetermined Secondary Role (uncredited)
We Do It Because-1942ShortLucretia Borgia (uncredited)
Babes on Broadway1941Audience Member (unconfirmed, uncredited)
H.M. Pulham, Esq.1941Young Socialite (uncredited)
Shadow of the Thin Man1941Passerby at Racetrack (uncredited)
Strange Testament1941ShortWaitress (uncredited)
Fancy Answers1941ShortGirl at Recital (uncredited)

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
La noche que no acaba2010Documentary performer: "Can't Help Loving That Man"
That's Entertainment! III1994Documentary performer: "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" 1927 - uncredited
Mogambo1953performer: "COMIN' THROUGH THE RYE" - uncredited
Show Boat1951performer: "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" 1927, "Bill" 1927 - uncredited
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman1951performer: "How Am I to Know?" - uncredited
The Bribe1949performer: "Situation Wanted"
One Touch of Venus1948"Don't Look Now But My Heart is Showing", uncredited / performer: "Speak Low", "That's Him" - uncredited
The Killers1946performer: "The More I Know of Love" 1946

Stunts

Stunts

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Earthquake1974stunts - uncredited

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Edición Especial Coleccionista2011TV Series in memory of - 1 episode

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to John Huston1983TV SpecialHerself
ABC Late Night1974TV SeriesHerself
Annie, the Women in the Life of a Man1970TV SpecialHerself
Will the Real Mr Sellers.....?1969TV Movie documentaryHerself
Vienna: The Years Remembered1968Documentary shortHerself (uncredited)
Hollywood and the Stars1964TV SeriesHerself
On the Trail of the Iguana1964Short documentaryHerself
What's My Line?1953TV SeriesHerself - Mystery Guest
Screen Actors1950Documentary shortHerself (uncredited)

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Sinatra: All or Nothing at All2015TV Mini-Series documentaryHerself
Arena2001-2012TV Series documentaryHerself
Out of My Dreams: Oscar Hammerstein II2012TV Movie documentaryJulie La Verne
Stars of the Silver Screen2011TV SeriesEloise Y. Kelly
La noche que no acaba2010DocumentaryHerself
Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff2010DocumentaryPandora Reynolds / Maria Vargas
50 años de2010TV SeriesHerself
Muchachada nui2009TV SeriesAva Gardner
Il falso bugiardo2008Herself
Spisok korabley2008Documentary
La imagen de tu vida2006TV SeriesHerself
De Madrid a la Lluna2006DocumentaryHerself
50 y más2005TV Movie
History vs. Hollywood2004TV Series documentaryHerself
Bozhestvennaya Glikeriya2004Documentary
Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra2003TV Movie documentaryHerself
The Kid Stays in the Picture2002DocumentaryHerself
The Making of 'Midway'2001Video documentary shortRemy Graff (scene from "Earthquake")
Cubby Broccoli: The Man Behind Bond2000TV Short documentaryHerself
The Rat Pack1999TV Series documentaryHerself
Classified X1998TV Movie documentaryHerself
Biography1998TV Series documentaryHerself
That's Entertainment! III1994DocumentaryPerformer in Clip from 'Show Boat' (uncredited)
The Knots Landing Block Party1993TV Special documentaryRuth Sumner Galveston (uncredited)
Legends of the West1992DocumentaryActress in 'Judge Roy Bean' (uncredited)
Crazy About the Movies: Ava Gardner1992TV Movie documentaryHerself
Frank Sinatra: The Voice of Our Time1990TV Movie documentaryHerself
The 1950's: Music, Memories & Milestones1988Video documentaryHerself
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid1982Kitty Collins
Kolossal - i magnifici Macisti1977DocumentaryMaria Cayetana, Duchess of Alba (as A. Gardner)
Just One More Time1974ShortHerself (uncredited)
That's Entertainment!1974Herself - at Banquet / Clip from 1951 version of 'Show Boat'
The Dick Cavett Show1971TV SeriesHerself
The Love Goddesses1965DocumentaryHerself
La rabbia1963DocumentaryHerself
The Ed Sullivan Show1957TV SeriesHerself
The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Story1951Documentary
The Costume Designer1950Short
Some of the Best: Twenty-Five Years of Motion Picture Leadership1949Documentary shortHerself (uncredited)
Twenty Years After1944Short

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1964Prize San SebastiánSan Sebastián International Film FestivalBest ActressThe Night of the Iguana (1964)
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 1560 Vine Street.

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1965Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Actress - DramaThe Night of the Iguana (1964)
1965BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest Foreign ActressThe Night of the Iguana (1964)
1960BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest Foreign ActressOn the Beach (1959)
1958Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Female Star7th place.
1957BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest Foreign ActressBhowani Junction (1956)
1954OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actress in a Leading RoleMogambo (1953)
1951Gold MedalPicturegoer AwardsBest ActressPandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)

2nd place awards

2nd place awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1953NYFCC AwardNew York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest ActressMogambo (1953)

TitleSalary
Knots Landing (1979)$50,000 /episode
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)$50,000
The Night of the Iguana (1964)$400,000
55 Days at Peking (1963)$500,000
On the Beach (1959)$400,000
The Naked Maja (1958)$90,000
Knights of the Round Table (1953)$17,500 /week
Ride, Vaquero! (1953)$100,000
The Bribe (1949)$1,250 /week
The Killers (1946)$350 /week
Ghosts on the Loose (1943)$100 per week
Kid Glove Killer (1942)$150 /week

#Quote
1(on why she came out of retirement to appear on a soap opera) For the loot, honey, for the loot.
2[on why she had an abortion during her marriage to Frank Sinatra] We couldn't even take care of ourselves. How were we going to take care of a baby?
3[on her role in The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966)] I've never thought of myself as right for this type of part. But John [John Huston] said he had faith that I could do it. Now I am glad I listened to him. Sarah is a wonderful role. She is a selfless woman who gives her maid servant Hagar to her husband when she herself cannot give Abraham a son. Later she is blessed by God and gives birth to a son, at 90. This is one of the most beautiful love stories in the Bible.
4God knows I've got so many frailties myself, I ought to be able to understand and forgive them in others. But I don't.
5[on her first screen test] There wasn't a thing that I could do. I couldn't act--I was the first to be eliminated in high school plays. I had no training whatsoever. I was just a pretty little girl. But I loved the idea, because I loved movies.
6I really had very little to contribute, so I played a lot of hatcheck girls, and did mob scenes, extra scenes, dancing scenes, just to have the experience of being on a set. I spent years at that. If the studio wanted a photograph to advertise a film they'd say, 'Who is it that has a good pair of legs and a good pair of breasts and is pretty and not working?' And it was always Ava because she was never working.
7[on her career] Christ, what did I ever do worth talking about? Every time I tried to act, they stepped on me. That's why it's such a goddamn shame, I've been a movie star for 25 years and I've got nothing, nothing, to show for it.
8[when asked if her time at MGM had been any fun at all] Christ, after 17 years of slavery, you can ask that question? I hated it, honey. I mean, I'm not exactly stupid or without feeling, and they tried to sell me like a prize hog.
9I can't bear to face a camera. But I never brought anything to this business and I have no respect for acting. Maybe if I had learned something it would be different. But I never did anything to be proud of.
10[on Robert Taylor] I knew him as a warm, generous, intelligent human being. Our love affair lasted three, maybe four months. A magical little interlude. I've never forgotten those few hidden months. I think Bob, despite all his efforts, couldn't break the mold of the beautiful lover. The film world remembers him that way, and I have to say that I do, too.
11Although no one believes me, I have always been a country girl and still have a country girl's values.
12Maybe I just didn't have the temperament for stardom. I'll never forget seeing Bette Davis at the Hilton in Madrid. I went up to her and said, "Miss Davis, I'm Ava Gardner and I'm a great fan of yours." And do you know, she behaved exactly as I wanted her to behave. "Of course you are, my dear," she said. "Of course you are." And she swept on. Now that's a star.
13What I'd really like to say about stardom is that it gave me everything I never wanted.
14[in 1985, on why she came out of retirement to appear on a prime-time soap opera] For the loot, honey, for the loot.
15I wish to live until 150 years old but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other.
16I made it as a star dressed, and if it ain't dressed, I don't want it.
17What's the point? My face, shall we say, looks lived in.
18Everybody kisses everybody else in this crummy business all the time. It's the kissiest business in the world.
19After my screen test, the director clapped his hands gleefully and yelled, "She can't talk! She can't act! She's sensational!"
20Deep down, I'm pretty superficial.
21I couldn't imagine a better place [Melbourne, Australia] for making a film on the end of the world.
22Nobody ever called it an intellectual profession.
23I haven't taken an overdose of sleeping pills and called my agent. I haven't been in jail, and I don't go running to the psychiatrist every two minutes. That's something of an accomplishment these days.
24I must have seen more sunrises than any other actress in the history of Hollywood.
25I don't understand people who like to work and talk about it like it was some sort of goddamn duty. Doing nothing feels like floating on warm water to me. Delightful, perfect.
26When I lose my temper, honey, you can't find it any place.
27I have only one rule in acting -- trust the director and give him heart and soul.
28All I ever got out of any of my marriages was the two years Artie Shaw financed on an analyst's couch.

#Trademark
1Deep sultry voice
2Voluptuous figure
3Dimpled chin and high cheekbones
4Dark brown hair and green eyes
5Known off-screen for bawdy language and humor and free spirit

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