|Ava Gardner Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 6 in|
|Date of Birth||December 24, 1922|
Ava Gardner remained one of the most popular actresses from the 40s to the 70s. Not only was she acclaimed for her supreme acting skills, but her status as a sex symbol also added to her legend. Her volatile and eventful love life also kept her on the front pages of the tabloids during her reign in Hollywood. Her relationships with popular and powerful men such as Frank Sinatra and Howard Hughes are discussed till date. On the whole, she was the perfect reflection of the “larger than life” Hollywood in its golden days.
Ava Lavinia Gardner
Snowdrop, Angel, The Christmas Eve Girl
Ava Gardner was born on December 24, 1922.
Ava Gardner passed away from pneumonia at the age of 67 on January 25, 1990, at her home in Westminster, London, England, United Kingdom.
Grabtown, North Carolina, United States
Ava Gardner graduated from Rock Ridge High School in 1939. She later took secretarial classes at Atlantic Christian College which she attended only for a year.
- Father – Jonas Bailey Gardner (Tobacco and Cotton Farmer, Sawmill Worker)
- Mother – Mary Elizabeth Gardner (Dormitory Housekeeper, Boarding House Manager)
- Siblings – Raymond Gardner (Older Brother), Melvin Gardner (Older Brother), Beatrice Gardner (Older Sister), Elsie Mae Gardner (Older Sister), Inez Gardner (Older Sister), Myra Gardner (Older Sister)
She was previously represented by MGM.
5 ft 6 in or 167.5 cm (via her official passport)
54 kg or 119 lbs
Boyfriend / Spouse
Ava Gardner had dated –
- Joseph M. Schenck
- Jorge Guinle
- Bugsy Siegel
- Charles Feldman
- John Huston
- Dick Cowell
- Helmut Dantine
- Ralph Kiner
- Frank Ryan
- Mel Tormé
- Robert Stack
- Jess Conrad
- Earl Muntz
- John Carroll
- Vinicius de Moraes
- Farley Granger
- Mickey Rooney (1941-1943) – Ava Gardner started going out with actor Mickey Rooney in the summer of 1941. She met him just after having moved to Los Angeles. Like Ava, Rooney was also signed up with MGM. In January 1942, they took their relationship to the next level by getting married. She was just 19 years old at the time of their marriage while Mickey was only 21. It had been widely reported that she lost her virginity on their wedding night. But, she was less than happy about his skills which she revealed in her later interviews and memoirs. They officially divorced in the summer of 1943.
- Howard Hughes – Gardner started going out with maverick billionaire and movie producer Howard Hughes in the early 40s. It has been claimed by some sources that they first met in 1943 and were instantly attracted to each other. She would later claim in her memoirs that she was never in love with him. But still, they dated each other on and off for about 20 years. She used to see him in between her marriages and relationships. Their affair was fairly tempestuous and often turned violent.
- David Remar (1943)
- Alexander D’Arcy (1944)
- Mervyn LeRoy (1944)
- Chris Peterson (1944)
- Fred MacMurray (1944) – She had a brief affair with her co-star Fred MacMurray during the shooting of their film, Singapore (1947). However, Ava called it quits soon after learning about Fred’s sick wife Lillian Lamont’s condition.
- Artie Shaw (1944-1946) – Gardner started dating Jazz musician and bandleader Artie Shaw in August 1944. They got married in a small ceremony in October 1945. But, their relationship barely lasted a year as they got divorced in 1946.
- Porfirio Rubirosa (1946)
- Paul Bryan (1947)
- Irving Reis (1947)
- Turhan Bey (1947)
- Greg Bautzer (1947)
- Howard Duff (1947-1950) – Ava Gardner started dating actor Howard Duff in 1947. As per some accounts, she was madly in love with him. During the course of their relationship, she had even gotten pregnant. But, then she suffered a miscarriage which sparked the decline of their relationship.
- Mickey Cohen (1948)
- Huntington Hartford (1948)
- Robert Taylor (1948-1953)
- Robert Walker (1948-1949)
- Van Heflin (1949)
- Peter Lawford (1949)
- Frank Sinatra (1949-1957) – Ava Gardner’s ill-fated and tempestuous relationship with singer and actor Frank Sinatra has been widely discussed in the tabloids over the years. She first met Sinatra in 1945 but their affair didn’t start until 1949. It has been often alleged that their affair was the final blow to Nancy and Frank Sintra’s marriage as Ava and Frank got married in November 1951, which was only about 10 days after he had finalized his divorce with Nancy. Gardner was vilified by the press and Hollywood for being a marriage wrecker. Even the Catholic church got involved in criticism. However, she helped Sinatra get his career back on track. She got him his role in From Here to Eternity, which helped him win an Academy Award. But as his career took off once again, their marriage crumbled. They decided to separate in October 1953 and their divorce was finalized in 1957. She later claimed that Sinatra was the love of her life. He also wasn’t able to get over her.
- Robert Mitchum (1949)
- Mario Cabre (1949)
- Paul Brooks (1951)
- John F. Kennedy (1952)
- Fernando Lamas (1952)
- Barbara Payton (1952) – RUMOR
- Lana Turner (1952) – RUMOR
- Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1954)
- David Hanna (1954)
- Luis Miguel Dominguin (1954)
- Billy Daniels (1954)
- Vic Damone (1955)
- Steve McQueen (1955)
- Walter Chiari (1955-1957)
- Sammy Davis Jr. (1956)
- Ernest Hemingway (1957)
- Marlon Brandon (1957)
- Robert Evans (1957-1958)
- Marlon Brando (1957)
- Peter Viertel (1958)
- Anthony Franciosa (1958)
- Johnny Stompanato (1958)
- Jimmy Kind (1958-1959)
- Sydney Guilaroff (1959)
- Tony Trabert (1959-1960)
- Peter O’Toole (1960)
- Claude Terrail (1960)
- Peter Duchin (1962)
- Kirk Douglas (1963)
- Richard Burton (1963)
- George C. Scott (1964-1969)
- Omar Sharif (1968) – RUMOR
- Prinz Von Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1970-1972)
- Ben Tatar (1973-1986)
Race / Ethnicity
She had English ancestry.
- Curly Hairstyles
- Prominent Nose
- Voluptuous figure
- Deep sultry voice
Ava Gardner had neither appeared in any TV commercial nor had she done endorsement work for any brand.
She was raised in a Baptist household but with advancing age, she became disillusioned with religion and eventually became an atheist.
Best Known For
Having appeared in several popular and successful movies such as Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 55 Days at Peking, Seven Days in May, and The Night of the Iguana
As a Singer
Ava Gardner sang a number of songs for her movies. Her singing voice was widely appreciated in the soundtrack of The Killers. However, her singing voice was dubbed for all the MGM movies.
In 1941, she made her theatrical film debut in the comedy and crime movie, Shadow of the Thin Man. However, her small role in the movie wasn’t credited.
In 1943, she made her first credited appearance in a theatrical movie as she was cast in a minor role in the movie, Ghosts on the Loose.
First TV Show
In September 1953, Ava Gardner made her first TV show appearance in the family game show, What’s My Line?
Ava Gardner Favorite Things
- Pastime – Flamenco
Source – IMDb
Ava Gardner Facts
- In 1995, the Empire magazine placed her on the 68th spot in a list featuring 100 Sexiest Stars in film history.
- She especially learned flamenco for her role in the movie, The Barefoot Contessa. Even after the shooting was done for the movie, she continued performing it and that eventually became such a big pastime for her that Ava used to stay occupied dancing through the nights.
- She initially got the exposure due to her sister Beatrice’s husband Larry Tarr, who decided to photograph her when she was visiting them in New York City. Tarr, who was a professional photographer, placed her photograph in the front window of his studio, where it was seen by the scout of MGM.
- She was subsequently called by MGM for an audition. She was 18 years old at that time. In 1941, she signed a standard contract with MGM and moved to Hollywood with her sister Beatrice joining her.
- As soon as she signed a contract with MGM, they provided her with a speech coach as her Carolina accent was impossible to comprehend for them.
- After having mostly appeared in small roles, she finally got her big breakthrough in 1946 with the noir movie, The Killers. She won an Academy Award nomination as well as a Golden Globe Award nomination for her work in the movie.
- In 1966, she lobbied Mike Nichols to win the lead role in his movie, The Graduate, which is considered one of the most commercially successful movies. Although Mike visited her hotel, he never seriously considered her as he wanted to cast a younger actress in the movie.
- In 1968, she moved to London and underwent an elective hysterectomy as she was worried about contracting uterine cancer, which had previously claimed her mother’s life.
- In her later years, she suffered from emphysema, which was brought on by her lifelong smoking habit. She was also diagnosed with an unidentified auto-immune disorder.
- In 1986, she suffered from 2 strokes, which left her bedridden and partially paralyzed.
- A week before her death, she suffered a bad fall after which she was unable to move and was forced to stay lying on the floor alone for a long time before her housekeeper discovered her.
- In February 1960, she was honored with her Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street in Hollywood.
- While she was living in Spain, she became a good friend of the legendary writer, Ernest Hemingway. In her career, she had also worked in 3 movies based on Hemingway’s works – The Sun Also Rises, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and The Killers.
- The American Film Institute included her in their list featuring the Greatest Female Stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema.
- She doesn’t have any social media account.
Featured Image by Insomnia Cured Here / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0