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Ava Gardner

Ava Gardner



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TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (17)

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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: Cast ... actor


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.

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