PROPERTY FORMERLY FROM THE COLLECTION OF AVA GARDNER
Her enigmatic beauty graced the silver screen for decades. Her look, polished. Ava Lavinia Gardner, born December 22, 1922, in Grabtown, North Carolina, was a classic southern beauty and to many, a goddess. One of seven children, young Ava grew up in trying times. Her father was a tobacco farmer in the rural South in a period when farming had its shortcomings due to constant drought.
By the time she was 18, Ava, who loved to run around barefoot and play in the dirt, became a stunning dark-haired beauty. Her brother-in-law soon took notice and placed a picture of her in the window of his photography studio. As luck would have it, the photo struck a MGM official.
She became a contract player, starring in numerous MGM productions in the early 1940s. Despite her good looks, the film studio thought her talent was less than exceptional. Louis B. Mayer summed up Ava's early acting ability this way: "She can't talk, she can't act, she's terrific!" Her chance to prove studio executives wrong arrived in 1946 when Ava was loaned to Universal for the film The Killers. From then on, she starred in such films as Showboat (1951), Mogambo (1953), Bhowani Junction (1956), The Sun Also Rises (1957), The Barefoot Contessa (1959), and Night of the Iguana (1964).
After her marriages to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra, Ava slowly moved away from the limelight. In the late 1950s, she moved abroad, first to Spain and finally spending her final years in England. Elegant and feminine, Ava Gardner lived life to its fullest. She once said she had "seen more sunrises than any other actress in Hollywood." Indeed.