"If I had my life to live over again, I'd live it the same way." - Ava Gardner
Ava Lavinia Gardner was born on December 24, 1922, in Grabtown, North Carolina. She was the youngest of seven children. In 1941 an MGM talent scout saw a photo of Ava and arranged for her to have a screen test. When MGM president Louis B. Mayer saw the test he said "She can't act. She can't talk. She's terrific". Shortly after arriving in Hollywood Ava began dating actor Mickey Rooney. Ava and Mickey married in 1942. Mickey was unfaithful and Ava left him a year later. Ava got small parts in movies like Ghosts On The Loose and Maisie Goes To Reno.
She married bandleader Artie Shaw in 1945 but this marriage also ended in divorce. Ava's first leading role was in the 1946 film-noir The Killers. More hit films followed including The Barefoot Contessa, Showboat, and One Touch Of Venus. Ava was romantically involved with actor Robert Taylor and billionaire Howard Hughes.
In 1948 Ava started having an affair with married superstar Frank Sinatra. He divorced his wife and married Ava in November 1951. Ava became pregnant but she had an abortion because her marriage to Frank was so rocky. She and Frank separated in 1953 and divorced four years later. In 1954 Ava was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Mogambo.
Tired of living in Hollywood Ava moved to Spain. Ava spent her time flamenco dancing and going to bullfights. She had a torrid romance with bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguin. In 1968 tax problems forced her to move to England where she would live the rest of her life. Ava continued acting in movies and on television until she suffered a stroke in the 1980s. Ava died on January 25, 1990 from pneumonia. She is buried at Sunset Memorial Park in Smithfield, North Carolina. Her autobiography, Ava: My Story, was published after her death.