Remembering the glamorous Ava Gardner on her birthday

One of the most glamorous and beautiful actresses Hollywood has seen

Remembering the glamorous Ava Gardner on her birthday

Ava Lavina Gardner was born on December 24, 1922, in Grabtown, North Carolina, to Mary Elizabeth and Jonas Bailey Gardner. Born on a tobacco farm, where she got her lifelong love of earthy language and going barefoot, Ava grew up in the rural South. At age 18, her picture in the window of her brother-in- law’s New York photo studio brought her to the attention of MGM, leading quickly to Hollywood and a film contract based strictly on her beauty. She was best known for having starred in many big-name movies during the 1950’s to the 1970’s, including Show Boat (1951), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952), The Barefoot Contessa (1954), On the Beach (1959), Seven Days in May (1964), The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), Earthquake (1974), and The Cassandra Crossing (1976). After three failed marriages, dissatisfaction with Hollywood life prompted Gardner to move to Spain in 1955 most of her subsequent films were made abroad. By this time, stardom had made the country girl a cosmopolitan, but she never overcame a deep insecurity about acting and life in the spotlight. In 1968, tax trouble in Spain prompted a move to London, where she spent her last 22 years in reasonable comfort. Her film career did not bring her great fulfillment, but her looks may have made it inevitable; many fans still consider her the most beautiful actress in Hollywood history. Ava Gardner died at age 67 of bronchial pneumonia on January 25, 1990, in Westminister, London, England.

By Ken Warren, 2017/18

Watch and listen to Ava Gardner performing the song “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man” in the 1951 movie “Show Boat”

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