Ava Gardner was one of the most glamorous and famous stars in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s. Her list of films includes The Killers, Showboat and Mogambo, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for best actress, and her co-stars included Clark Gable, Gregory Peck, Burt Lancaster, Humphrey Bogart, Charlton Heston, and Richard Burton - the A-list of male Hollywood stars.
Married three times - to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra - the first two lasted only about a year each whilst her marriage to Sinatra lasted several. She had a long-running affair with Howard Hughes, and a briefer one with George C. Scott, among others. In Ava Gardner, she has much to say about her husbands and lovers, and some of her co-stars,all of whom get Gardner's unflinchingly honest treatment.
Ava Gardner is irresistibly candid and surprising. She began the book because, as she told Evans, 'it's either write the book or sell the jewels and I'm kinda fond of the jewels.' At the time of their collaboration Gardner was living in London, where she had lived for decades, smoking and drinking heavily. Having suffered a stroke that damaged the left side of her face and her left arm she had trouble sleeping and was often depressed - the glamorous wardrobes replaced by grey. Her story could itself have been depressing except for her wit and wickedness, which are on full display in this book. This book tells the story of her life as she wanted to tell it.
Ava Gardner is the autobiography that Ava Gardner began with writer Peter Evans in 1988. She never finished it and decided against publishing it because of its frankness. She later collaborated on a tamer autobiography, which was published at her death in 1990. After Gardner's death, her estate authorised the book to be published much as she and Evans had originally conceived it.
Peter Evans was a columnist and foreign correspondent with the Daily Express (UK), and wrote for the Los Angeles Times and Vogue, as well as every major newspaper in Britain. His books include Peter Sellers: The Man Behind the Mask and Nemesis. He died in 2012.
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