I just finished reading the book by her friend/maid ("Living with Miss G") and the only memory I have of her is in Earthquake where she was cast as Lorne Greene's daughter ("Daddy!"). She wasn't very good in that, and as I went through this memoir it looks like her only real hit movie was a part in "Night of the Iguana" back in 1964. She was often described as wooden. Could she act?
The book is good, by the way. And I kind of got the feeling that Ava and her maid were definitely more than employer/employee and possibly more than "just friends."
She was never hired for her acting talents. You need to go back, back, back to her MGM days. The Hucksters, Showboat, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman. She was one of the great beauties of Hollywood's golden age. She was not a bad actress and she really tried in some roles. She was pissed off and hurt, actually, when they did not use her real voice (she recorded the soundtrack) for the vocals in Showboat. She had zero education, was Southern farm girl, really. But was she a good actress? She was good in Night of the Iguana, for sure.
Her acting in SHOW BOAT is excellent, especially the drunk scene towards the end of the film, when she confronts Ravenal. Too bad that movie has sort of fallen by the wayside and has never been properly restored. And yes, they should have used her own singing voice -- which is just fine -- rather than dubbing her.
Did she ever do stage? Tome, that is the test of a good performer.
"Dirk Bogarde told me you deal from a clean deck and you're not a f****t. Don't get me wrong, I get along fine with f**s, I just prefer to deal with guys who aren't." Ava Gardner to Peter Evans in "Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations"
Dirk Bogarde? Reallllly?
I don't get r4's comment. Ava was good friends with Dirk Bogarde (as he was with lots of divas - Bacall, Bergman, Capucine, Judy etc) he and Ava made 2 films together.
She's terrific in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman where here beauty will amaze you, and in Mankiewicz's The Barefoot Contessa, and Bhowani Junction for Cukor. Night of the Iguana is certainly her last good role.
Earthquake is amusing trash, where she gets trashed in it, Lorne Green playing her father must have been about the same age as her. Ava didnt care by then, she had made enough to retire on, and just did films - the Cassandra Crossing is another amusing one - for money, and maybe company.
She's a bad actor and she's not that pretty.
The only reason anyone cares about her anymore is because she saw Sinatra's penis.
Shes fun too in Mogambo with Gable and Grace.
R6 = flyover moron
Ask anyone, r8 motherfucker, they'll say I'm right.
Couldn't act, not so amazingly pretty, sucked Sinatra's dick. That's all.
By the way, I live in Brooklyn, motherfucker.
By the way, I live in Brooklyn, motherfucker.
So little to be proud of.
She seemed like such a gutsy broad, but in the book, she came off as kind of a masochist, esp. in her relationship with George C. Scott. He beat the crap out of her, followed her all around the globe to beat the crap out of her, and she kept going out with him. What the hell was wrong with George C. Scott?!
I heard that Sinatra supported her at the end of her life and I thought "what a guy!
But I didn't realize she supported him all throughout his lean years.
According to the maid's memoir, she was the original cougar.
Her best performance (probably the closest to her real personality) is in "Night of the Iguana" - tough broad.
She was better than Zsa Zsa but that ain't saying much, I mean when Green Acres is your career highlight, you're pretty mediocre.
r13...? Oh, never mind.
And Ava Gardner was nominated for a supporting actress Oscar for Mogambo, which is a big, colorful MGM early 50's remake of 30's Red Dust.
She co-starred with Clark Gable and Grace Kelly and her character was beautiful and saucy, and she delivered several funny lines in that way of hers.
r14 here. Ava was nominated for Best Actress and Grace was nominated for Best Supporting.
(Grace would go on to win Best Actress the following year for The Country Girl.)
And Lorne Green was seven years older than Ava Gardner.
I've never liked her in any film- too self-conscious. Like a poor man's Rita Hayworth. But she was gorgeous.
Oh wait, I liked her as the real estate lady in "The Sentinel". Her scenes start at 0:14:50
R13, Zsa Zsa Gabor was never on Green Acres, that was her sister Eva.
And don't forget she probably had an affair with Lena Horne just before doing Show Boat. Doing research.
[quote[Like a poor man's Rita Hayworth
That's exactly what I was thinking. She kind of looked like her in some of the studio shots. But there was something kind of low class about her. Maybe it was all the booze. And if she was having affairs with women, what's with all the homophobic talk about working with gay writers.
R20, many gay men dislike lesbian (Datalounge 101). So why would it be unusual that some lesbian/bi-sexual women are not fond of f*gs? Or say they aren't (see Katharine Hepburn).
OP, I suggest you read Lee Server's biography of Ava Gardner. It is well researched, modern and encapsulates her persona and personality well in the forward alone. It's called "Love is Nothing."
Gardner was a tough and wild broad, beyond understanding. She was a hedonist and a masochist. A drunk. A great beauty. She had a feline quality to her and a beautiful speaking voice, but was not much of an actress. She never claimed to be. She cared more than she let on, a somewhat adolescent way to live.
She is worth watching in The Killers, and Bowani Junction, Showboat and even that Kramer film she did with Gregory Peck about nuclear destruction? Her beauty was fading by then and she turned out to care and be vain and frightened after all. She partied and fucked and loved wild as long as she could, that is for sure. The hard years showed up pretty much overnight on her. Night of the Iguana is her best performance I would say. She is the ultimate femme fatale in The Killers, and gorgeous in just about everything in between those two films.
Elizabeth Taylor called Ava Gardner the most beautiful woman in the world. Ava was a great beauty in a very sensual way.
In her prime, she woke up gorgeous. Perfect coloring, body, hair.
Beautiful women were jealous of her because she didn't work at it.
+1 with r22.
Server's bio of Gardner is superb. Gardner perpetrated mental and emotional abuse on Sinatra, however, given his vileness, he had it coming.
It's a real page turner and yes, when it came to her sexual appetite, it's as though she had a male mentality.
Is that film she made in the early 70's directed by Roddy MacDowell called TAM-LIN (aka THE DEVIL'S WIDOW)?
Speaking of her dealing with f****ts.
As others noted, she was effective in the right kind of role. As she wasn't as inept as Lana Turner.
Meant to say:
Has anyone seen that film she made in the early 70's directed by Roddy MacDowell called TAM-LIN (aka THE DEVIL'S WIDOW)?
The asshole on this thread who says Gardner "wasn't that pretty" is either blind as a bat or Mia Farrow.
Hi Mia, you withered old psychobitch, how's it hanging?
Her head's too big and her personality doesn't come across. She has glamor but no magic. I don't get her at all, never have.
[quote]But there was something kind of low class about her. Maybe it was all the booze.
My understanding is that she was from a dirt poor rural background.
I recall ready that Gardner grew up in a house with no running water and had to use an outhouse, by American standards, that's pretty much like coming from the Third World!
My mom grew up fairly poor on the LES, but at least her family had hot and cold running water and a toilet!
When I read about how some stars grew up in very dire circumstances, yet were able transcend them, I assume these celebrities must have been pinching themselves everyday. Especially how lucky they were to not only escape their very humble circumstances but become so wealthy.
Because she'd had Sinatra's thick 12 inch cock in her. It had loosened her up.
Pauline Kael was right when said she never seemed comfortable onscreen. I doubt she enjoyed acting. She's more lively in her "What's My Line" appearance (on youtube) than she ever was onscreen.
She seems coarse and high-strung in the new Secret Conversations book. (To give her credit, she's also funny and smart.) She never really made a commitment to acting or family or love, and it's scary to read how badly that worked out for her.
The book isn't that good-in her old age, Ava got very private and circumspect about her affairs. Didn't really talk in detail about Frank Sinatra, for example...Only said that Mickey Rooney opened her up to sex! That was the major revelation--wouldn't substantiate the size of Frank's cock... Not so bawdy as I hoped for!!
She's no Shirley Jones.
Here's an idea, OP.
Why don't you watch her in a few things and decide for yourself.
R31, 12 inches can't go into a woman because there's no room for it. That's a totally inaccurate gay male fantasy. Additionally, in this new book, Ava claims she never said that "smutty" (her words) remark about Sinatra's member.
Not Pretty! There has never been a bad picture of the woman (until her death prehaps). She couldn't look homely if she tried.
How can anyone who watches her in that What's My Line? clip at r22 not find her stunning?
And that's from the mid-50s. So she'd been around Hollywood for over 10 years, no spring chicken, and yet she looks ravishing with just primitive TV studio lighting and everyday makeup.
And she's so naturally funny! Why didn't MGM cash in on her glorious sense of humor and star her in any comedies?
Sinatra got canned from MGM because of his affair with Ava. L.B. told him to cool it because the affair was hurting his image as a family man. He was married to Nancy at the time but the affair was an open secret and it wasn't even a secret. The press had hold of the story and the gossip rags had a field day. Sinatra defied Mayer's orders and his contract was cancelled. His films were sliding at the box office anyway. Meet Danny Wilson was a flop, for instance. He was obsessed with Ava and made horrible career decisions because of her. He was able to finesse a divorce from Nancy and marry Ava but his career was already in shambles. And it stayed there for several years. It was Ava who called in some favors and who got him the audition for From Here to Eternity. It literally resurrected his career from the dead.
Part of what ruined their marriage is that Ava was a huge star at the time of their marriage and Frank was on the skids. There was a serious imbalance in the marriage. Ava was the top breadwinner and that did a number on BOTH of them.
I never believed it when she fell into the sewer just because Chuck Heston stepped on her hand.
Here is a whole page of Ava pictures. How could anyone not think she was absolutely stunningly beautiful? At least for a window of time until she rather prematurely aged?
I believe in the latest book she states the worst day of her life happened when she started losing her looks. "In Hollywood men age, women get old."
I love her reaction upon learning that Sinatra had married Mia Farrow:
"I always knew Frank would end up in bed with a little boy."
Those are beautiful photos R41. Thanks.
When the camera loves you as much as it loved Ava Gardner, who needs talent?
Movies like MOGAMBO and BAREFOOT CONTESSA are fun to watch. MOGAMBO is one of my favorite films, but let's face it, the movie is a straight middle-aged man's ultimate fantasy. Think about it ... 50something Clark Gable is pursued by 30something Ava Gardener and 20something Grace Kelly.
I have often wondered if stars from the Golden Age -- like Gardner, like Garland -- might have been better NOT going to Hollywood. Maybe Gardner should have stayed in North Carolina, met and married a nice guy and raised a family (as well as tobacco and corn)
Wow R22. I think you just gave about as good an encapsulation of Ava Gardner as anyone.
I love the pre-Hollywood pictures of her--when she was just the most beautiful country girl you've ever seen.
In Rene's book, she describes her last trip to London to see Ava. They took her dog, Morgan, out to the park. Ava had recovered from double pneumonia and a stroke and was slowly working her way back:
"Then Miss G said, "Rene, I'm tired. Let's sit down on that bench over there."
I said, "I agree."
Then she said, "I'm too tired to get to the bench. Let's sit on the grass for a few minutes, and then make it to the bench. That was a big mistake! Morgan was not very pleased. That was playtime, down time, ball throwing time. We ignored him. Then we started to get up, and we couldn't. We just couldn't move our various bits in synchronization to stand up. I said, "Well, I suppose we could scream for help." Miss G laughed and said, "Let's hope it won't come to that. Why don't we squiggle around onto our knees and crawl across to the bench?" I agreed, and we started our crawl across the grass. Morgan was bewildered. What were we doing imitating him? He started to circle us yapping his head off, and Miss G yelled, "Shut Up! You'll attract everybody's attention!" We reached the bench, hauled ourselves onto it, and collapsed in great gales of near hysterical laughter. We laughed until the tears poured down our faces. We laughed until it hurt. We laughed until we damn near wet our britches.
Miss G gasped, "Rene, did you ever think it would come to this?"
I sputtered, "No...never, never, never ..."
She was fabulous in many roles, yet the best, as stated up thread, was " Night of the Iguana".
Does anyone remember her guest appearences on Knots Landing? She was sublimely serpentine.
R22 is correct in every way about the Lee Server bio.
For those of you with less time, David Denby's superb recent analysis of Ava in the New Yorker is an absolute must-read. He says MOGAMBO and THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA are her 2 very best roles. I would add Julie Laverne in SHOWBOAT. (Dinah Shore, Lena Horne and Judy Garland all were discussed for the role.)
She was truly, hauntingly beautiful, and she lived life vivaciously and glamorously. Think of her husbands: Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra!!
Though she was a huge Hollywood star, she spent most of her glory days in Europe, which screwed up her finances due to tax issues. As had been mentioned, she never cared about her looks or taking care of herself until it was much too late.
Her What's My Line appearance publicizing MOGAMBO does show how magical she must have been in real life. She is luminous.
I loved her in One Touch of Venus.
Ava appealed to Mrs. Cohn, I believe, to help Frank get his From Here to Eternity audition.
I think she was easily the most gorgeous woman in films.
I don't think she was a bad actress, and I do think she got better with time. But it was never about her acting. It was about her beauty and her sexuality.
Like a lot of stars, she came from nothing. These were women who were intending to go to secretarial school or get married and have kids and they were discovered. Ava was discovered when her brother-in-law put her photo in the window of his photography studio.
Frank and Ava were hot together, but that means that they fought as passionately and hard as they made love. By the time Frank got his divorce, they both knew it was a mistake to get married, but there was so much publicity and scandal by then, they didn't really have much choice. In later years she referred to him as "my man Frank." Her own autobiography is a fun read.
She had a great sense of humor, too. Artie Shaw was always marrying women and trying to educate them and turn them into intellectuals. When someone asked her what happened between her and Artie Shaw, she said, "I flunked."
I wish I could answer your question, OP. I've only seen her in Earthquake.
She was certainly beautiful and many beautiful actresses are discounted for that reason--as we saw from the recent Sharon Tate thread.
(R43) I've read that quote a lot. It always said, "with a boy", not "with a little boy". If she had said that, it would have caused a fierce backlash.
they took my Max Factor makeup and put it all over Ava Gardner!!!
Ava was excellent in "Showboat", whether or not her voice was used. THe last shot of her as the movie closes always makes me tear up.
I just finished the Peter Evans "Secret Conversations" book and really loved it. She should've ignored Sinatra and gone with Evans for her book because it was much more real--down to earth and bawdy like she was. She was wild and insecure but so extremely beautiful--even that photo of her by Larry Tarr that got her entire career going was stunning. She cursed SO much, I can't really picture her that way when I watch her movies at all. I loved how she talked about that nasty racist Howard Hughes, her disdain for Bogart and her powerful sex drive and how she and Mickey Rooney couldn't stop going at it--I guess I'm a little surprised that people were so wild back then.
My favorite Ava movies are Night of the Iguana (her best acting performance), Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (a weird, mysterious little movie where she was her most beautiful) Mogambo (she's great with Gable) Snows of Kilimanjaro/On the Beach (good chemistry with Gregory Peck) and Barefoot Contessa (she was good with Bogie, they had a believable friendship on film, even though they hated each other in real life). I love Ava, there's no one else like her in movies OR in life for that matter.
r4 That's an ugly comment. Disappointing. I wrote about it in another thread but I'm still reading her biography by Lee Server "Love Is Nothing". It's very good and detailed. She was a fascinating, complex person. She was also a huge whore.
As an aside, I want to say I think this Lee Server guy is a big homophobe.
As for her acting, at her best she was passable but nobody hired her for her acting skills. She was beautiful.
Lovely profile. Amazing swan neck!
Was she a good actress? I don't care.
For those of us who have not read the bios, what is the story with her and Bogart? Why didn't they get along? They would seem so similar in outlook.
Didn't Sinatra move on to the Widow Bacall after he and Ava were done?
r64 From what I remember Eva was very excited to meet him and work with him but they didn't click at all. I think he was very condescending toward her.
Sinatra moved on to his usual hookers, r64.
[quote]Didn't Sinatra move on to the Widow Bacall after he and Ava were done?
She did. But then she blabbed about it to the press and it was all over.
She's matronly and plain and she doesn't photograph well.
She looks like Jane Wyatt.
Yes, Night of the Iguana was her best performance as Maxine. Does anybody know how it compared with Bette Davis on Broadway?
She was very fine in 55 Days at Peking and Seven Days in May.
I came to her late (Earthquake and The Sentinal) so I didn't know of her voluptuous beauty until much later.
Gorgeous (and implied naked) in Technicolor Mogambo, and still hot but earthier in black-and-white Night of the Iguana.
[R60] I once spoke with someone who worked and wrote in Hollywood in the '40s and '50s. He said the reason everyone had so much sex was that some of them, men and women, were so damned good-looking that they turned themselves on! I can believe it.
She was miscast in "On The Beach". Too old for the character and she barely managed an Aussie accent. But she did bring a world-weary vulnerability to the part. And she wasn't as bad as Fred Astaire, who was simply awful in his part.
R73, wouldn't the same hold true today?
Good-looking people naturally have more sex because more people
are physically attracted to them. In a place like Hollywood, with its
high concentration of beautiful people, of course, there is going to be more fucking going on than in some podunk small town that has lost all its young, ambitious and better-looking people to urban America.
r68, Jane Wyatt had an ingenue look in her early years---a cross of Mary Astor with the later Lee Remick. Wyatt had a wide face, though not quite as triangular as Remick's.
Gardner had an oval, almost egg-shaped face, with the point of the egg at the chin. This may be the secret of her appeal as it was close to an universal face, at least for Americans of European descent.
Gardner's face has a Breton undercurrent to it, possibly due to some Huguenot ancestry. Bretons are Celts related to the Welsh. Mara Corday has Welsh in her, so you can compare her to Gardner.
I second "Seven Days in May." She doesn't chew the scenery when she catches Kirk Douglas stealing the letters. Imagine Constance Ford doing that scene, ha-ha.
"I'll always get you back up, baby."
Ava has the last line in "Iguana"
Has anyone ever seen her in The Bible as Sarah, the mother of all Jewish people?
Seems like no one ever saw that film.
I've always liked this happy shot of Ava from 1984 by Helmut Newton. I noticed her birthday as Dec. 24th 1922 while looking up this pic so she's probably 61 here.
[quote]Her What's My Line appearance publicizing MOGAMBO does show how magical she must have been in real life. She is luminous.
She has a scene with Fred Astaire in Band Wagon where she plays herself. And she is very friendly, natural, and absolutely the most beautiful woman in the movie. Of course, its a little cameo and she could have been a total bitch in real life, but she just glows.
[quote][R4] That's an ugly comment. Disappointing. I wrote about it in another thread but I'm still reading her biography by Lee Server "Love Is Nothing".
I think the shorthand for what she said is that she wanted to work with a writer who might fuck her on occasion. And Peter Evans might have.
Artie Shaw was a fantastic musician but seems to have been a pretentious nightmare of a husband. My favourite story about him is trashing his current wife (was it Lana or Ava?) for reading the trashy romantic bestseller, "Forever Amber". He then married the author of..."Forever Amber".
R85. It was Ava.
She said of Shaw, "That bastard broke my heart." She credited him for making her very insecure, the beginning of her hard drinking and bettering her mind.
Of her time with Howard Hughes she said there was real blood in the Bloody Marys. His.
She said that SHE was Frank Sinatra in drag, and that he taught her to cry, but he was so good in the 'feathers.'
"You can sum up my life in a sentence, honey: She made movies, she made out, and she made a fucking mess of her life. But she never made jam."
yes Ava Gardner was a great actress when they gave her roles that allowed her to showcase her skills (see Contessa). Unfortunately, hollywood wanted to turn this naturally cool, intelligent and "real" person into a cartoon. She wasn't having it!!!!
She and Charlton were ridiculously over the top in "Earthquake". Genevieve Bujold, Lloyd Nolan, Richard Roundtree, Victoria Principal and George Kennedy knew they were in a popcorn disaster flick, but those two seemed to think they were doing "Intolerance" with better sets.
She dated a married Robert Mitchum for a while and even asked his wife to divorce him, though the wife declined. In an act of self preservation, macho Mitchum reportedly hid from Ava because he knew she would bring out the worst addict in him.
Disappointing to see she was a tad homophobic.
No, r83, Cyd Charisse was more beautiful than Ava in the Band Wagon. ThatScene with Ava was totally contrived Comden_Green.
Here is a fan made tribute to Ava from You Tube. It is long but includes lots of newsreel and candid footage as well as scenes from her films. In motion she is the most feminine animal. I don't think there was anyone more beautiful.
Add her clear soft timbered voice to these images. The legend of her beauty, sensuality and seismic ruination of men can only be understatement. She was graceful and stunning. A real life raven haired, green-eyed temptress. Napalm.
IIRC, there was an Ava Gardner thread in 2009-10 and there was a poster who said Ava lived in his parents home around 1978 in London while he was still a teen and that he was friends with her for a couple of years or so. Anyone else remember that? I wish I wasn't so fuzzy on details but it was quite interesting what he had to say since he posted several lengthy posts. If memory serves she had her own flat and she and he would walk the neighborhood with her pet dog. I forget the interesting parts.
Can someone explain the Ava- Lena Horne relationship?
Cyd Charisse was to Ava Gardner what Joan Collins was to Elizabeth Taylor.
[R20], [R21], [R61], [R90]
I'll post extracts for you.
>“I’m told we’d get along fine, but who the hell knows? You’ve been a journalist; I hate journalists. I don’t trust them,” she said. “But Dirk Bogarde says you’re okay. So does Michael Winner. Dirk said you deal from a clean deck, and you’re not a f**got. Don’t get me wrong. I get on fine with f*gs, I just prefer dealing with guys who aren’t. Dirk reckons you’d break your ass to get the book right. That’s what I need—a guy who’ll break his ass to please me.”
>“Are you gay?”
“I thought you said Dirk Bogarde told you I wasn’t,” I said.
“He said you weren’t a f**got. There’s a difference. I can’t stand f**gots, I get on well with gays.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Gays make the best ‘walkers.’ They are good company. You can tell them your secrets. They are useful to have around. They bathe a lot. A woman can even go to bed with a gay. At a pinch.”
“But not with a f**got?”
“F**gots . . . they’re something else. They are cruder.”
“I’ve never heard that definition before.”
“You have now. So, we’ve established you’re not a f**got . . . are you gay?”
No woman had ever asked me that before. Was she softening me up for a confession? The idea offended my masculine pride, but I was curious. “Do you think I am?”
“You can never tell these days,” she said. “You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”
I didn’t mind, I said. No, I was not gay.
Bisexual? she asked, playfully.
Not bisexual, either, I said.
“I’ve known plenty of guys who are, you’d be surprised,” she said. “In Hollywood, a lot of guys don’t know whether they’re Arthur or Martha.”
I am not surprised that she was homophobic. As has been lightly touched on already in this thread, she was very malicious to/about Frank for how sensitive and in touch with his "femininity" he was. She had an abortion, and he was full-stop devastated (he adored kids, was a progressive father for his time),, but she had no sympathy about it.
Also, it was Barbara Marx who hated Ava and all of Frank's past flames. I don't think Mia was that possessive. Certainly she and Nancy Sr. have a good relationship, and she has always had a great relationship with his kids as far as I know. But I think it was Tina who talked about how Frank had a statue of Ava that he kept at his home for many years, and Barbara got rid of it behind his back.