SHE WAS DISCOVERED AT AGE 18
In 1941, Gardner went to visit her sister Beatrice and her brother-in-law Larry Tarr, who was a photographer. Tarr wanted to take a photo of Gardner and decided to hang the photo in his studio. After getting attention from clients, he sent the headshots to MGM, prompting Gardner’s discovery at age 18.
Ava Lavinia Gardner (December 24, 1922 – January 25, 1990) was an American actress and singer. Gardner was signed to a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1941, and appeared mainly in small roles until she drew attention with her performance in The Killers (1946). She was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress for her work in Mogambo (1953), and also received BAFTA Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for other films.
Gardner appeared in several high-profile films from the 1940s to 1970s, including The Hucksters (1947), Show Boat (1951), Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (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 Bible: In the Beginning… (1966), Mayerling (1968), Tam-Lin (1970), 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 DIDN’T HAVE AN EARLY EDUCATION
By 1945, she had only read two books, the Bible and Gone With the Wind. In her later years, after feeling insecure about her knowledge, she tried really hard to self-educate herself.
SHE HAD AN AFFAIR
In 1949, Gardner had a brief love affair with Robert Taylor during the filming of the The Bribe following his affair with her good friend and fellow bombshell, Lana Turner. She reportedly said to Gardner that Taylor was someone you “shouldn’t waste your mouth on.”
Gardner became a friend of businessman and aviator Howard Hughes in the early to mid-1940s, and the relationship lasted into the 1950s. Gardner stated in her autobiography, Ava: My Story, that she was never in love with Hughes, but he was in and out of her life for about 20 years. Hughes’ trust in Gardner was what kept their relationship alive. She described him as “painfully shy, completely enigmatic, and more eccentric … than anyone [she] had ever met”.
FRANK SINATRA WAS THE LOVE OF HER LIFE
Frank Sinatra was her third and last husband, and reportedly the “love of her life.” His nickname for her was “Angel.” The marriage lasted for six years. She later said, “I think the main reason my marriages failed is that I always loved too well but never wisely.”
After Gardner divorced Sinatra in 1957, she headed for Spain, where she began a friendship with writer Ernest Hemingway (she had starred in an adaptation of his The Sun Also Rises that year, and five years earlier, Hemingway had successfully urged producer Darryl F. Zanuck to cast Gardner in The Snows of Kilimanjaro, a film which adapted several of his short stories). While staying with Hemingway at his villa in San Francisco de Paula in Havana, Cuba, Gardner once swam alone without a swimsuit in his pool. After watching her, Hemingway ordered his staff: “The water is not to be emptied”. Her friendship with Hemingway led to her becoming a fan of bullfighting and bullfighters, such as Luis Miguel Dominguín, who became her lover. “It was a sort of madness, honey”, she later said of the time.
Gardner was also involved in a relationship with her live-in boyfriend and companion, American actor Benjamin Tatar, who worked in Spain as a foreign-language dubbing director. Tatar later wrote an autobiography in which he discussed his relationship with Gardner, though the book was never published.
SHE HAD A GHOST WRITER
In 1988, two years before her death, she hired a British journalist, Peter Evans, to ghostwrite her memoir, Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations.
Gardner was nominated for an Academy Award for Mogambo (1953); the award was won by Audrey Hepburn for Roman Holiday. Her performance as Maxine Faulk in The Night of the Iguana (1964) was well reviewed, and she was nominated for a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe. Additionally, Ava Gardner won the Silver Shell for Best Actress at the San Sebastián International Film Festival in 1964 for her performance in The Night of the Iguana. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ava_Gardner
Author/Editor: Eugenio Zorrilla.