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Books  >>  Biography

Peter Evans

Ava Gardner

Peter Evans Ava Gardner
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This wickedly candid memoir that Ava Gardner dared not publish during her lifetime offers a revealing self-portrait of the film legend’s life and loves in Hollywood’s golden age.

Ava Gardner was one of Hollywood’s great stars during the 1940s and ’50s, an Oscar-nominated leading lady who co-starred with Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, and Humphrey Bogart, among others. But this riveting account of her storied life and career had to wait for publication until after her death, so concerned was Gardner with its frankness.

“I either write the book or sell the jewels,” Gardner told coauthor Peter Evans, “and I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels.” The legendary actress serves up plenty of gems in these pages, reflecting with delicious humor and cutting wit on a life that took her from an impoverished childhood in North Carolina to the heights of stardom. Tell-all stories abound, especially when Gardner holds forth on her three husbands: Mickey Rooney, a serial cheater so notorious that even his mother warned Gardner about him; bandleader Artie Shaw, whom Ava calls “a dominating son of a bitch…always putting me down”; and Frank Sinatra (“We were fighting all the time. Fighting and boozing. It was madness. But he was good in the feathers.”).

She has just as much to say about lovers, such as Howard Hughes (“Howard was in my life, on and off, for more than twenty years, but I never loved him.”) and George C. Scott (“I was scared to death of him.”) and would-be lover John Huston (“He had a great life. He lived like a king. God, I miss him.”)—all of whom get Gardner’s unflinchingly honest treatment.

“If I get into this stuff, oh, honey, have you got something coming,” Ava told Evans. Get ready for the most revealing Hollywood autobiography in decades.

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