Biography of Ava Gardner (1922-1990)

American film actress born on December 24, 1922 in Grabtown (North Carolina) and died on January 25, 1990 in Westminster (London). His full name was Ava Lavinia Gardner.

AVA was born in a family without resources. His father worked in a tobacco plantation and it was tiny by seven brothers, which provided him with a difficult childhood. When his family had to move to the city because there was no work, Ava took with him as baggage a strong accent from the South and a single dress, and both would cause the taunt of his school mates. When his father died in 1935, his mother began to run a boarding house for workers, in order to pay debts.

It was discovered for the film at age eighteen, when a talent scout for Metro Goldwyn Mayer saw your photo in New York, in the shop of one of his brothers-in-law. He/She was offered a contract for seven years with the Studio and moved with one of her older sisters to California, to meet the old dream of leaving Carolina, although his salary was negligible and his sister had to keep it. A few months after coming to Hollywood he/she met actor Mickey Rooney and married, although the marriage only lasted a year, because of the actor's continuous infidelities. At that time also died his mother, of cancer, and the actress lived bad times.

Between 1941 and 1946 he/she appeared in seventeen titles that did not have any significance for her. Some of them were ashes of love (1941), Phil Rosen; The haunted house (1943), by William Beaudine; or to the beat of the heart (1944), by Henry Koster. He/She then decided to begin to take their profession seriously and take classes to get rid of his accent and improve his performance.

His first big success obtained it when the Metro lent it to Universal for outlaws (1946), Robert Siodmak, along with Burt Lancaster. Under the formula of black cinema are enveloped the past of a mysterious person murdered by two professionals. Siodmak exploded to maximize the possibilities of the characters, spicing up the intrigue with the first and only time the public had heard the voice of the Gardner singing the song "The More I Know of Love", written by Miklós Rósza. The actress, who worked at the heart of the Metro from 1941 until 1958, was always folded in the songs by decision of the study, to the great chagrin of this.

The Decade of 1940s actress meant its consolidation as a sex symbol. He/She emerged as undisputed goddess of beauty on Venus was woman (1948), William A. Seiter, adapted from the novel by F. Anstey, who humorously reinterpreted fairy tales, to give life to the mythological goddess from a statue. The story had been five years earlier, a Broadway musical; Mary Pickford, who had bought the rights, tried to make the film with the theatrical original cast, which included Mary Martin, but this became pregnant and the film changed course. It was then when Gardner was made with paper and began to build the myth.

Her second husband, Artie Shaw, with whom he/she had married in 1945, would not be definitive. Their relationship is not oriented with the solidity that his career. At that time Gardner had read only two books: what with the wind and the Bible; However, determined to improve their culture, he/she pointed to night classes to complete his education and became a voracious reader.

In 1948, he/she began a love affair with Frank Sinatra that ended in the 1951 wedding. When his marriage to Sinatra was completed in 1957, Ava moved to Spain, years in which the love affair with Sinatra had meant a big scandal, were annoying for the actress in her country.

Between these two marriages, Gardner has specialized in film noir near storm stories, where he/she cemented her femme fatale image. Bribe (1949), Robert Z. Léonard, along with Robert Taylor (who, for years, as well as the Gardner, was one of the most important stars of the Metro), Charles Laughton and Vincent Price, was not a great movie, despite its cast. And similar other titles developed as the great sinner (1949), Robert Siodmak, co-starring Gregory Peck; or opposite worlds (1949), adapted from the novel by Marcia Davenport Mervyn LeRoydirected, and in which Gardner coincided with two other big screen: Barbara Stanwyck and Cyd Charisse.

In 1951 he/she starred in his first title in color, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, directed and produced by Albert Lewin, where he/she had as fellow British actor James Mason.

Its specialisation in tortuous destinations contributed its role as Queen Guinevere in the Knights of the King Arturo (1953), with Robert Taylor and Mel Ferrer, under the direction of Richard clumsy. It was the first title of the subway be filmed in CinemaScope. Its role as the dancer María Vargas in the Barefoot Contessa (1954), directed by Joseph l. Mankiewicz, was that earned him the nickname of "the most beautiful animal in the world", which also became the promotional phrase from the movie. The argument explored the rise to fame and the loneliness at the top, when the protagonist is no longer sure why they love him; a too-bitter version of Cinderella, which was also dangerously approaching their own reality. Actress and Frank Sinatra were divorced in 1957. The trigger had been an abortion for which the actress had traveled to London. It is said that actress aborted on three occasions in which became pregnant by Sinatra, but only one abortion is documented.

Gardner played the Duchess of Alba in the nude maja (1959), Henry Koster, in an Italian-American vision of relations between the painter Francisco de Goya and royalty in the Court of Carlos IV. The film was awarded the David of Donatello best production. His last title in the 1950s (considered the luckiest in the Hollywood film) was a drama entitled final time (1959), Stanley Kramer. Based on the novel by David Shute, hangs over the film legend that the guards in charge of the ends of the Golden Gate Bridge were charged each 500 dollars to stop the traffic and be able well to shoot images of the empty bridge. The Gardner was nominated for the British BAFTA best foreign actress for her performance as this film.

When the actress starred in the angel dress red (1960), Nunnally Johnson, he/she had already served thirty-eight years. He/She returned to play a Spanish beauty, in a story set in the Civil War. It opened a decade of maturity where he/she took part in some of its best titles. 55 days at Peking (1963), along with David Niven and Charlton Heston, it was a war drama Hollywood style, dedicated to inspire American pride under the supervision of producer Samuel Bronston. Director Nicholas Ray, before pressures from producer, dropped the dish and, fed up with having to make concessions, never went back to work in Hollywood. They were Andrew Marton and Guy Green, who ended the film.

One of the more mature interpretations of the actress (who earned him, again, the British BAFTA Awards nomination) was which made the night of the iguana (1964), based on the play by Tennessee Williams and directed by John Huston. The shooting was especially controversial due to continuous disputes among the five main characters, among which were, apart from Gardner, Richard Burton and Deborah Kerr. So much so, at the end of filming, Huston gave them each a Colt gilded with five bullets.

The actress returned to work with John Huston in the Bible (1966), a blockbuster with a luxurious cast that included Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, George C. Scott and the own Huston, besides playing Noah, he/she put the voice of the Narrator, of God and of the serpent. In 1968, the actress moved to London permanently.

Already in full maturity, Gardner tried another type of characters. An independent, insert title in the horror film, became it a vampire on the widow of the Devil (1972), a macabre story, based on a story of Scottish folklore entitled The Ballad of Tamlin, who directed the also actor Roddy McDowall. In 1972 he/she returned to roll to Huston orders the judge from the gallows (1972), a western with comic overtones starring PaulNewman. In full decade of cinema of catastrophes, earthquake (1974) brought it back with Charlton Heston, in the first film presented with sensurround sound.

In 1976 starred opposite Jane Fonda and Elizabeth Taylor, the Blue Bird, a fantasy directed by George Cukor, who had wrought was a deserved reputation as director of actresses. That same year used a very different register to the bridge of Cassandra (1976), a drama attached to a Variant cinematically very productive: that of the virus thing at all costs to prevent it from spreading. Another of the incursions of the actress in the horror film was the Sentinel (1977), based on the novel by Jeffrey Konvitz, why the Gardner was nominated for the Saturn Award best supporting actress, awarded by the Film Academy of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

In the Decade of the eighties actress was mainly dedicated to television, emphasizing its interpretation of Agrippina in Anno Domini (1985) series, or his appearance on the television version of the long and warm summer (1985), which was nominated for the award for the best deal, by the Casting Society of America. When in 1989 Ava fell definitely ill, Frank Sinatra was responsible for the expenses of his illness. When, however, he/she died two years later, none of their ex-husbands attended the funeral. He/She had spent his last years in London, writing his autobiography: Ava: My Story, which was published after his death because of a bronchial pneumonia.


1941: Fancy Answers; Ashes of love. 1942: We Do it Because...; Joe Smith, American; Calling dr. Gillespie; Mighty Lak a Goat; It happened to dancing; This Time For Keeps; Sunday Punch; Meeting in France; Kid Glove Killer. 1943: The haunted house; The DuBarry was a lady; Swing Fever; Young Ideas; Pilot 5; Lost Angel; Hitler completo Madman. 1944: Blonde Fever; Two Girls And A Sailor; Three Men in White; To the beat of the heart; Maisie Goes to Reno. 1945: He/She Went to the Races. 1946: Outlaws; Whistle Stop. 1947: A life and a love; The Hucksters. 1948: Venus was female. 1949: Bribery; The great sinner; Opposite worlds. 1951: Pandora and the Flying Dutchman; Magnolia; Hatred and pride; The target star. 1952: The snows of Kilimanjaro. 1953: A life on the other; 1955 Broadway melodies; Mogambo; The Knights of the King Arturo. 1954: The Barefoot Contessa. 1956: Cross of destinations; Around the world in eighty days. 1957: The Sun Also Rises; The cabin. 1959: La maja desnuda; The final hour. 1960: The angel dressed in red. 1963: 55 days in Peking. 1964: Seven days of may; The night of the iguana. 1966: the Bible. 1968: Mayerling; Vienna: The Years Remembered. 1972: The widow of the devil; The hanging judge. 1974: Earthquake. 1975: The man who decided death. 1976: Blue Bird; Cassandra bridge. 1977: The Sentinel. 1979: Emergency. 1980: The kidnapping of the President. 1981: Priest of Love. 1982: Regina Rome.

Works for television

1979: Knots of Landing (series). 1985: Anno Domini (series); The long and warm summer. 1986: The harem.


GARDNER, TO. With your own voice, Ava Gardner. Barcelona, Grijalbo-Mondadori, 1995.

VIDAL, N. Ava Gardner: barefoot Pandora. Barcelona, Edna, 1988.