sábado, 13 de fevereiro de 2010

Ava Gardner - Her Story

Green-eyed brunette Ava Gardner was the essence of female americana. A perfect southern beauty with natural grace and an inner fire of independence. She was a natural and a total HUMANIMAL (Human-Animal), and as far as an actress, she could turn it out when needed. Her amazing looks and incredible lust for life set her apart from all the others. Ava truly lived it up.
She was born on Christmas Eve 1922 in Brogden, Smithfield, North Carolina. She was signed by MGM, the most prestigious of all film studios, after a talent scout fell in love with her picture in the window of her brother-in- law's New York photo studio. When Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM, viewed her screen test he uttered the legendary words, "She can't act. She can't talk. She's terrific." Still a teenager, she was to embark on a career with MGM that would last until 1958. Regarded as nothing more than a decorative starlet of tremendous beauty at first, she struggled as a bit player through 17 film roles, until she landed her first starring role in Whistle Stop (1946). Soon afterwards MGM loaned her to Universal for her first outstanding film, The Killers (1946), in which she appeared for the first time as a ravishing femme fatale. Transforming rural, unsophisticated Ava into an image of inaccessible glamour had been no easy task for MGM’s publicity department, and the studio was uncomfortable with the bad-girl persona she displayed so well in The Killers. Most of her starring appearances at her home studio were relatively sympathetic roles, like in The Hucksters (1947) and Show Boat (1951). In a '50s publicity campaign she was voted The World's Most Beautiful Animal and once more MGM cashed in on her immense popularity by putting her in loan-out movies like Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951) and The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952). Perhaps it was because of her studio’s lack of belief in her talents as an accomplished actress, that she never overcame a deep insecurity about acting and life in the spotlight. Be that as it may, MGM would eventually come to terms with Ava, the actress, and allow her latent talent to shine brightly when brought out by a superior director, as with John Ford in Mogambo (1953) and George Cukor in Bhowani Junction (1956), arguably her best and most complex MGM role. The Barefoot Contessa (1954), a replay of her own rags-to-riches personal story, confirmed her status as a major Hollywood player. In the ‘60s she landed some of her best parts, notably in Seven Days in May and Night of the Iguana (both 1964).
Throughout her career, Ava was a major jet-set player and her many exploits were continuously being chronicled in the tabloids. She was married and divorced three times - to Mickey Rooney, Frank Sinatra, and Artie Shaw. Dissatisfied with Hollywood life, Ava moved to Spain in 1955 and made most of her subsequent films abroad, most of them as she said "strictly for the loot." In 1968, tax trouble in Spain prompted a move to London, where she spent her last 22 years years as a recluse in reasonable comfort. Frank Sinatra paid all her medical expenses after a stroke left her partially paralyzed and bedridden in 1989.
Ava Gardner died on January 25, 1990. Her longtime housekeeper Carmen Vargas took her body home to her native North Carolina for private burial. None of her ex-husbands attended. Shortly before her death Gardner completed an autobiography, "Ava," which was published posthumously in 1990.

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