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Ava Gardner

Ava Gardner
1953 publicity photo of Gardner
Born Ava Lavinia Gardner
(1922-12-24)December 24, 1922
Smithfield, North Carolina, U.S.
Died January 25, 1990(1990-01-25) (aged 67)
Westminster, London, England
Cause of death Pneumonia
Resting place Sunset Memorial Park, Smithfield, North Carolina
Residence Ennismore Gardens
Education Rock Ridge High School
Alma mater Atlantic Christian College
Occupation Actress
Years active 1941–1986
Spouse(s) Mickey Rooney
(m. 1942; div. 1943)

Artie Shaw
(m. 1945; div. 1946)

Frank Sinatra
(m. 1951; div. 1957)

Ava Lavinia Gardner (December 24, 1922 – January 25, 1990) was an American actress and singer.

She was signed to a contract by MGM Studios in 1941 and appeared mainly in small roles until she drew attention with her performance in The Killers (1946). She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Mogambo (1953).

Gardner appeared in several high-profile films from the 1950s to 1970s, including The Hucksters (1947), Show Boat (1951), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952), The Barefoot Contessa (1954), Bhowani Junction (1956), On the Beach (1959), 55 Days at Peking (1963), Seven Days in May (1964), The Night of the Iguana (1964), The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), Earthquake (1974), and The Cassandra Crossing (1976). Gardner continued to act regularly until 1986, four years before her death in London in 1990 at the age of 67.

She is listed 25th among the American Film Institute's 25 Greatest Female Stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema.

Gardner was born near the farming community of Smithfield, North Carolina. She was the youngest of seven children. She had two older brothers, Raymond and Melvin, and four older sisters, Beatrice, Elsie Mae, Inez, and Myra. Her parents, Mary Elizabeth "Molly" (née Baker) and Jonas Bailey Gardner, were poor cotton and tobacco farmers. While there are varying accounts of her background, Gardner's only documented ancestry was English.

Year Title Role Notes
1941 Fancy Answers Girl at Recital Short film
1941 Strange Testament Waitress Uncredited
1941 Shadow of the Thin Man Passerby Uncredited
1941 H.M. Pulham, Esq. Young Socialite Uncredited
1941 Babes on Broadway Audience member Uncredited
1942 Joe Smith, American Miss Maynard, Secretary Uncredited
1942 We Do It Because- Lucretia Borgia Short film
1942 This Time for Keeps Girl in car lighting cigarette Uncredited
1942 Kid Glove Killer Car Hop Uncredited
1942 Sunday Punch Ringsider Uncredited
1942 Calling Dr. Gillespie Graduating student at Miss Hope's Uncredited
1942 Mighty Lak a Goat Girl at the Bijou box office Short film
1942 Reunion in France Marie, a salesgirl Uncredited
1943 Hitler's Madman Franciska Pritric, a Student Uncredited
1943 Ghosts on the Loose Betty
1943 Young Ideas Co-ed Uncredited
1943 Du Barry Was a Lady Perfume Girl Uncredited
1943 Swing Fever Receptionist Uncredited
1943 Lost Angel Hat Check Girl Uncredited
1944 Two Girls and a Sailor Dream Girl Uncredited
1944 Three Men in White Jean Brown
1944 Maisie Goes to Reno Gloria Fullerton
1944 Blonde Fever Bit Role Uncredited
1945 She Went to the Races Hilda Spotts
1946 Whistle Stop Mary
1946 The Killers Kitty Collins
1947 Singapore Linda Grahame/Ann Van Leyden
1947 The Hucksters Jean Ogilvie
1948 One Touch of Venus Venus
1949 The Bribe Elizabeth Hintten
1949 The Great Sinner Pauline Ostrovsky
1949 East Side, West Side Isabel Lorrison
1951 Pandora and the Flying Dutchman Pandora Reynolds
1951 My Forbidden Past Barbara Beaurevel
1951 Show Boat Julie LaVerne
1952 Lone Star Martha Ronda
1952 The Snows of Kilimanjaro Cynthia Green
1953 Knights of the Round Table Guinevere
1953 Ride, Vaquero! Cordelia Cameron
1953 The Band Wagon Herself
1953 Mogambo Honey Bear Kelly Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actress
1954 The Barefoot Contessa Maria Vargas
1956 Bhowani Junction Victoria Jones Nominated – BAFTA for Best Foreign Actress
1957 The Little Hut Lady Susan Ashlow
1957 The Sun Also Rises Lady Brett Ashley
1958 The Naked Maja Maria Cayetana, Duchess of Alba
1959 On the Beach Moira Davidson Nominated – BAFTA for Best Foreign Actress
1960 The Angel Wore Red Soledad
1963 55 Days at Peking Baroness Natalie Ivanoff
1964 Seven Days in May Eleanor Holbrook
1964 The Night of the Iguana Maxine Faulk Nominated – BAFTA for Best Foreign Actress
Nominated – Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress - Drama
1966 The Bible: In the Beginning Sarah
1968 Mayerling Empress Elizabeth
1970 Tam-Lin Michaela Cazaret
1972 The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean Lily Langtry
1974 Earthquake Remy Royce-Graff
1975 Permission to Kill Katina Petersen
1976 The Blue Bird Luxury
1976 The Cassandra Crossing Nicole Dressler
1977 The Sentinel Miss Logan
1979 City on Fire Maggie Grayson
1980 The Kidnapping of the President Beth Richards
1981 Priest of Love Mabel Dodge Luhan
1982 Regina Roma Mama
Year Title Role Notes
1985 A.D. Agrippina Miniseries
1985 Knots Landing Ruth Galveston 7 episodes
1985 The Long Hot Summer Minnie Littlejohn Television film
1986 Harem Kadin Television film
1986 Maggie Diane Webb Television film

  • Cannon, Doris Rollins. Grabtown Girl: Ava Gardner's North Carolina Childhood and Her Enduring Ties to Home. Down Home Press, 2001;
  • Fowler, Karin. Ava Gardner: A Bio-Bibliography. Greenwood Press, 1990;
  • Gardner, Ava. Ava: My Story. Bantam, 1990;
  • Gigliotti, Gilbert, editor. Ava Gardner: Touches of Venus. Entasis Press, 2010;
  • Grobel, Lawrence. "Conversations with Ava Gardner", CreateSpace; accessed August 31, 2014.
  • Rivers, Alton. Love, Ava: A Novel. St. Martin's Press, 2007;
  • Server, Lee. Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing. St. Martin's Press, 2006;
  • Mims, Bryan. "Our Ava", Our State Magazine, 2014
  • Wayne, Jane Ellen. Ava's Men: The Private Life of Ava Gardner. Robson Books, 2004;


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