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 Ava Gardner

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Ava Gardner

Actress. Born in a small town in North Carolina, after traveling to Virginia with her family for part of her childhood, she returned to the area to enjoy her teen years. After seeing a photo taken by her brother-in-law, who was a professional photographer, her looks caught the attention of MGM scouts and she was signed in 1940 to a contract with the studio. Initially her roles were very small and her salary equally paltry, but soon her talent proved her to be one of the most formidable leading ladies of her day. She made over 30 films in her career and garnered a "Best Actress" Oscar nomination for "Mogambo" in 1953. While she lost the award to Audrey Hepburn for her performance in "Roman Holiday," a Gardner was still a favorite with the fans and the tabloids. She married three times: to actor Mickey Rooney on January 10, 1942, also to bandleader Artie Shaw on October 17, 1945 but it was her much publicized marriage to Frank Sinatra on November 17, 1951, that kept her name in the gossip columns and tabloids. Even after their media scrutinized marriage and even more public divorce it was said that Ava Gardner truly was the love of Sinatra's life and he always treated her as such. While her romance with Sinatra kept her personal life in the limelight, her prowess as an actress and dancer kept her popular at the box office. She learned Flamenco dancing while living in Spain and demonstrated her skills in "The Barefoot Contessa." Her passionate performances and voracious style prompted one publicity campaign in the 1950s to bill her as "The World's Most Beautiful Animal." Memorable performances in such films as "Showboat," "The Snows of Killimanjaro" and many others have rendered the actress a classic film star of the era. After moving to London she went into semi-retirement in the 1960s but made film appearances until the late 1980s. Her career was halted due to a stroke after which she shortly succumbed to complications due to pneumonia.

Bio by: R. Digati


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2134
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ava Gardner (24 Dec 1922–25 Jan 1990), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2134, citing Sunset Memorial Park, Smithfield, Johnston County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .