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Ava Gardner

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Ian McKellen
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Martin Sheen
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Ava Gardner Biography and Filmography
Ava Gardner
Birthday: December 24, 1922
Birth Place: Brogden, North Carolina, USA
Height: 5' 6"
Below is a complete filmography (list of movies he's appeared in)
for Ava Gardner.
If you have any corrections or additions, please email us.
We'd also be interested in any trivia or other information you have.
Ava Gardner began her career first as a model, then as a contract player at MGM, where her gawky, unsophisticated demeanor was totally made over by the studio into an image of inaccessible glamour. Gardner toiled in tiny bit roles, finally getting a worthwhile one on loan-out to Universal in The Killers (1946). MGM was never very comfortable with the bad-girl persona she displayed so well in this film, and, thus, most of her starring appearances at her home studio were relatively sympathetic roles in The Hucksters (1947) and Show Boat (1951). Her cinema reputation as The World's Most Beautiful Animal (in the words of a '50s publicity campaign) was once again manifested in loan-out movies like Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951) and The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952). MGM eventually came to terms with the elements that made Gardner popular, notably in the gutsy Mogambo (1953), in which she made an excellent partner to the equally earthy Clark Gable. Director George Cukor was much taken by Gardner and cast the actress in her best and most complex MGM role in Bhowani Junction (1956), in which she was torn not only by love but also clashing East Indian cultural values. Gardner was equally well served in The Barefoot Contessa (1954), which, in many ways, was a replay of her own rags-to-riches personal story. The actress was cast in some of her best parts during the '60s, notably in Seven Days in May and Night of the Iguana (both 1964), but the pace of her jet-setting lifestyle and increasing personal problems began to show. With roles and public appearances steadily decreasing, she died on January 25, 1990. She was married and divorced three times — to Mickey Rooney, Frank Sinatra, and Artie Shaw.
Harem (1986)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Nancy Travis ][ Cherie Lunghi ]
The Long Hot Summer (1985)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Cybill Shepherd ]
Regina Roma (1982)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Karina Ranni ]
Priest of Love (1981)
[ Ava Gardener ]
The Kidnapping of the President (1980)
[ Ava Gardener ]
City on Fire (1979)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Shelley Winters ][ Susan Clark ]
The Sentinel (1977)
[ Beverly D'Angelo ][ Ava Gardener ][ Nana Visitor ][ Jo Kennedy ][ Vicki Michelle ]
The Cassandra Crossing (1976)
[ Sophia Loren ][ Ava Gardener ][ Alida Valli ][ Ann Turkel ][ Ingrid Thulin ]
The Blue Bird (1976)
[ Elizabeth Taylor ][ Jane Fonda ][ Ava Gardener ][ Patsy Kensit ][ Cicely Tyson ]
Permission to Kill (1975)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Nicole Calfan ]
Earthquake (1974)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Victoria Principal ][ Genevieve Bujold ]
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)
[ Jaqueline Bisset ][ Ava Gardener ][ Victoria Principal ]
Tam Lin (1970)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Joanna Lumley ][ Stephanie Beacham ][ Madeline Smith ][ Jenny Hanley ]
Mayerling (1968)
[ Catherine Denueve ][ Ava Gardener ][ Romina Power ][ Veronique Vendell ]
The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966)
[ Ava Gardener ]
The Night of the Iguana (1964)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Deborah Kerr ][ Sue Lyon ]
Seven Days in May (1964)
[ Ava Gardener ]
55 Days at Peking (1963)
[ Ava Gardener ]
The Angel Wore Red (1960)
[ Ava Gardener ]
On the Beach (1959)
[ Ava Gardener ]
The Naked Maja (1958)
[ Ava Gardener ]
The Sun Also Rises (1957)
[ Ava Gardener ]
The Little Hut (1957)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Bhowani Junction (1956)
[ Ava Gardener ]
The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Mogambo (1953)
[ Grace Kelly ][ Ava Gardener ]
Ride, Vaquero! (1953)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Knights of the Round Table (1953)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Dana Wynter ]
The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Susan Ward ]
Lone Star (1952)
[ Ava Gardener ]
My Forbidden Past (1951)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Show Boat (1951)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Agnes Moorehead ]
East Side, West Side (1949)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Barbara Stanwyck ][ Cyd Charisse ]
The Great Sinner (1949)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Agnes Moorehead ]
The Bribe (1949)
[ Ava Gardener ]
One Touch of Venus (1948)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Eve Arden ]
The Hucksters (1947)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Deborah Kerr ]
Singapore (1947)
[ Ava Gardener ]
The Killers (1946)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Whistle Stop (1946)
[ Ava Gardener ]
She Went to the Races (1945)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Music for Millions (1944)
[ Ava Gardener ][ June Allyson ]
Blonde Fever (1944)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Jessica Tandy ][ Gloria Grahame ]
Maisie Goes to Reno (1944)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Three Men in White (1944)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Two Girls and a Sailor (1944)
[ Ava Gardener ][ June Allyson ]
Lost Angel (1943)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Swing Fever (1943)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Du Barry Was a Lady (1943)
[ Lucille Ball ][ Ava Gardener ][ Lana Turner ]
Young Ideas (1943)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Ghosts on the Loose (1943)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Hitler's Madman (1943)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Reunion in France (1942)
[ Joan Crawford ][ Ava Gardener ]
Mighty Lak a Goat (1942)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Calling Dr. Gillespie (1942)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Donna Reed ]
Sunday Punch (1942)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Kid Glove Killer (1942)
[ Ava Gardener ]
This Time for Keeps (1942)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Joe Smith, American (1942)
[ Ava Gardener ]
We Do It Because- (1942)
[ Ava Gardener ]
H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941)
[ Ava Gardener ][ Hedy Lamarr ]
Fancy Answers (1941)
[ Ava Gardener ]
  • Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#68). [1995]
  • Her singing voice in Show Boat (1951) was dubbed by Annette Warren, although her voice is left in on the soundtrack album.
  • Mother, Mary Elizabeth 'Molly' Gardner, nee Baker; father, Jonas Gardner, tobacco farmer, died of bronchitis 1935.
  • Youngest of 7 children, her older siblings were Raymond, Melvin 'Jack', Beatrice 'Bappie', Elsie Mae, Inez and Myra.
  • Her 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.
  • She sang in her own voice for The Killers (1946) but in all MGM films her singing voice was dubbed (much to her disgust).
  • Flamenco 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.
  • While in Spain, she also became a bullfight fan.
  • In a promotion for The Little Hut (1957), a small island in Fiji was renamed Ava Ava and leased to a contest winner.
  • She was continuously under contract at MGM, 1941-1958.
  • There is an Ava Gardner Museum of memorabilia in Smithfield, North Carolina.
  • She 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. Frank Sinatra paid all her medical expenses after her 1989 stroke which left her partially paralyzed and bedridden. Vargas took her body home to her native North Carolina for private burial. None of her ex-husbands attended.
  • After her death in 1990, Ava's long time housekeeper, Carmen Vargas, and her dog, a Welsh Corgi named Morgan were taken in by her former co-star Gregory Peck.
  • Once met J.R.R. Tolkien and neither knew why the other was famous.
  • All three of her marriages were childless. She became pregnant with Frank Sinatra's child during filming of Mogambo, but elected to have an abortion. (It is alleged that she had at least three abortions, though only one has been documented.)
  • Daughter-in-law of Joe Yule.
  • Was a good friend of Lena Horne, despite the fact that they both competed for the part of 'Julie' in Show Boat (1951).
  • When 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.
  • A 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.
  • When married 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.
  • Part of On the Beach (1959) was filmed in a Berwick, a suburb of Melbourne. Ava had a street which was being developed at the time named after her. It is of course called "Gardner Street."
  • Measurements: 36-23 1/2-37 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
  • Once named The World's Most Beautiful Animal (in a '50s publicity campaign)
  • Chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest American female screen legends (Number 25).
  • Is portrayed in The Aviator (2004) by Kate Beckinsale and by Marcia Gay Harden in Sinatra (1992) (TV).
  • Although she often gave the name of her North Carolina hometown as Grabtown, and at other times as Smithfield, the town's name is actually Brogden. "Grabtown" is a nickname given to it by locals. Smithfield is a larger town nearby.
  • Is portrayed by Deborah Kara Unger in The Rat Pack (1998) (TV), by Christine Andreas in Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story (1995) (TV) and by Jon Mack in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999) (TV)
  • Frank Sinatra was broke by 1951. Ava had to pay his plane ticket, so he could accompany her to Africa, where she shot Mogambo (1953).
  • Frank Sinatra nicknamed her "Angel"
  • Appeared in three films based on Ernest Hemingway stories (The Sun Also Rises, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Killers)
  • During her final years living in London, she became the dinner companion of director Michael Winner.
  • Was a good friend of writer Ernest Hemingway, whom she called "Papa." Both were aficionados of the bull-fighting, although Gardner's interest in bull-fighters went beyond their exploits in the ring.
  • An 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." Gardener 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."
  • Production designer John Hawkesworth, an Englishman who was the set-dresser on her starring vehicle Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), said of Gardner that she "could eat twice as much as anyone and drink three times as much."
  • Her three husbands were married a total of twenty times between them.

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