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1953 publicity photo of Gardner
Ava Lavinia Gardner
December 24, 1922
Smithfield, North Carolina, U.S.
|Died||January 25, 1990
Westminster, London, England
|Cause of death||Pneumonia|
|Resting place||Sunset Memorial Park, Smithfield, North Carolina|
|Education||Rock Ridge High School|
|Alma mater||Atlantic Christian College|
(m. 1942; div. 1943)
(m. 1945; div. 1946)
(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.
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.
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