Ava Lavinia Gardner was born on December 24, 1922 in North Carolina. Ava was born into a simple life, growing up barefoot on a tobacco farm. Ava was the youngest child of a large family of seven children. Being a Hollywood starlet was the furthest thing from Ava’s mind while she was growing up; she had plans of becoming a secretary and settling down to the peaceful life of a southern lady.
Unlike many actresses, opportunity literally came knocking at Ava Gardner’s door. When she was 16 years old, Ava would visit New York and her sister and brother in law. Her brother in law was a photographer and recognized Ava’s potential; he convinced her into posing for some photos of which he would display in his shop.
Fate had other ideas for Ava that did not include a quiet southern life; a scout for MGM seen her picture and instantly wanted to sign her. While touring the studio she met Mickey Rooney who very quickly fell in love with the southern beauty. Though MGM didn’t care for the relationship, the couple married. The studio need not have worried the marriage ended after only 17 months. Ava would have two more husbands, band leader Artie Shaw and the love of her life, Frank Sinatra.
Ava was nominated for an Oscar in 1952 for her role in Mogambo but did not win. Her life was stormy and included a bout with alcoholism and a disincarnating relationship with her husband Frank. It is rumored that Ava, three times went to Europe to have abortions performed. This weighed heavy on Frank and in 1954 the couple separated.
From that point on Ava would live a lonely life, mostly in Europe and she died in 1990 after suffering from a stroke the year before.
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