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Ava Gardener

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Ava Gardener Biography and Filmography
Ava Gardener
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 Gardener.
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We'd also be interested in any trivia or other information you have.
Born on a tobacco farm, where she got her lifelong love of earthy language and going barefoot, Ava grew up in the rural South. At age 18, her picture in the window of her brother-in- law's New York photo studio brought her to the attention of MGM, leading quickly to Hollywood and a film contract based strictly on her beauty. With zero acting experience, her first 17 film roles, 1942-5, were one-line bits or little better. After her first starring role in B-grade Whistle Stop (1946), MGM loaned her to Universal for her first outstanding film, The Killers (1946). Few of her best films were made at MGM which, keeping her under contract for 17 years, used her popularity to sell many mediocre films. Perhaps as a result, she never believed in her own acting ability, but her latent talent shone brightly when brought out by a superior director, as with John Ford in Mogambo (1953) and George Cukor in Bhowani Junction (1956). After 3 failed marriages, dissatisfaction with Hollywood life prompted Ava to move to Spain in 1955; most of her subsequent films were made abroad. By this time, stardom had made the country girl a cosmopolitan, but she never overcame a deep insecurity about acting and life in the spotlight. Her last quality starring film role was in The Night of the Iguana (1964), her later work being (as she said) strictly "for the loot". In 1968, tax trouble in Spain prompted a move to London, where she spent her last 22 years in reasonable comfort. Her film career did not bring her great fulfillment, but her looks may have made it inevitable; many fans still consider her the most beautiful actress in Hollywood history.
Harem (1986)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Nancy Travis ][ Cherie Lunghi ]
The Long Hot Summer (1985)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Cybill Shepherd ]
Regina Roma (1982)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Karina Ranni ]
Priest of Love (1981)
[ Ava Gardner ]
The Kidnapping of the President (1980)
[ Ava Gardner ]
City on Fire (1979)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Shelley Winters ][ Susan Clark ]
The Sentinel (1977)
[ Beverly D'Angelo ][ Ava Gardner ][ Nana Visitor ][ Jo Kennedy ][ Vicki Michelle ]
The Cassandra Crossing (1976)
[ Sophia Loren ][ Ava Gardner ][ Alida Valli ][ Ann Turkel ][ Ingrid Thulin ]
The Blue Bird (1976)
[ Elizabeth Taylor ][ Jane Fonda ][ Ava Gardner ][ Patsy Kensit ][ Cicely Tyson ]
Permission to Kill (1975)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Nicole Calfan ]
Earthquake (1974)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Victoria Principal ][ Genevieve Bujold ]
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)
[ Jaqueline Bisset ][ Ava Gardner ][ Victoria Principal ]
Tam Lin (1970)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Joanna Lumley ][ Stephanie Beacham ][ Madeline Smith ][ Jenny Hanley ]
Mayerling (1968)
[ Catherine Denueve ][ Ava Gardner ][ Romina Power ][ Veronique Vendell ]
The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966)
[ Ava Gardner ]
The Night of the Iguana (1964)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Deborah Kerr ][ Sue Lyon ]
Seven Days in May (1964)
[ Ava Gardner ]
55 Days at Peking (1963)
[ Ava Gardner ]
The Angel Wore Red (1960)
[ Ava Gardner ]
On the Beach (1959)
[ Ava Gardner ]
The Naked Maja (1958)
[ Ava Gardner ]
The Sun Also Rises (1957)
[ Ava Gardner ]
The Little Hut (1957)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Bhowani Junction (1956)
[ Ava Gardner ]
The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Mogambo (1953)
[ Grace Kelly ][ Ava Gardner ]
Ride, Vaquero! (1953)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Knights of the Round Table (1953)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Dana Wynter ]
The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Susan Ward ]
Lone Star (1952)
[ Ava Gardner ]
My Forbidden Past (1951)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Show Boat (1951)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Agnes Moorehead ]
East Side, West Side (1949)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Barbara Stanwyck ][ Cyd Charisse ]
The Great Sinner (1949)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Agnes Moorehead ]
The Bribe (1949)
[ Ava Gardner ]
One Touch of Venus (1948)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Eve Arden ]
The Hucksters (1947)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Deborah Kerr ]
Singapore (1947)
[ Ava Gardner ]
The Killers (1946)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Whistle Stop (1946)
[ Ava Gardner ]
She Went to the Races (1945)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Music for Millions (1944)
[ Ava Gardner ][ June Allyson ]
Blonde Fever (1944)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Jessica Tandy ][ Gloria Grahame ]
Maisie Goes to Reno (1944)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Three Men in White (1944)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Two Girls and a Sailor (1944)
[ Ava Gardner ][ June Allyson ]
Lost Angel (1943)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Swing Fever (1943)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Du Barry Was a Lady (1943)
[ Lucille Ball ][ Ava Gardner ][ Lana Turner ]
Young Ideas (1943)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Ghosts on the Loose (1943)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Hitler's Madman (1943)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Reunion in France (1942)
[ Joan Crawford ][ Ava Gardner ]
Mighty Lak a Goat (1942)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Calling Dr. Gillespie (1942)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Donna Reed ]
Sunday Punch (1942)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Kid Glove Killer (1942)
[ Ava Gardner ]
This Time for Keeps (1942)
[ Ava Gardner ]
Joe Smith, American (1942)
[ Ava Gardner ]
We Do It Because- (1942)
[ Ava Gardner ]
H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941)
[ Ava Gardner ][ Hedy Lamarr ]
Fancy Answers (1941)
[ Ava Gardner ]
  • 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.
  • 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."

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