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Ava Gardner’s 3 Disastrous Marriages Exposed

Ava Gardner is one of the most revered actors in American history. She was born on September 24th, 1922. In 1941, she was spotted by a talent scout for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and before long, she had signed a contract with the studio. Before long, she was appearing in numerous films, although her roles, to begin with, were rather small. In fact, for five years of her contract with MGM, most of Ava Gardner’s roles were uncredited.

Ava Gardner got her big break in the 1946 film noir The Killers, where she played the femme fatale role of Kitty Collins. Incidentally, The Killers was also the film debut of future Hollywood star Burt Lancaster. After five years of hardly being noticed, Ava Gardner was suddenly the center of attention. Her career skyrocketed. In 1953, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film Mogambo. Unfortunately, Audrey Hepburn took home the award that year for her performance in Roman Holiday. It would be Ava Gardner’s only Oscar Award nomination.

Ava Gardner Throughout The 1950s

Throughout the 1950s, Ava Gardner found herself showered with lead roles, and she was highly praised for her appearances in films such as Show Boat, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, and The Barefoot Contessa.

After playing the role of Maxine Faulk in the 1964 film adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play Night of the Iguana, Gardner was nominated for both a Golden Globe Award and BAFTA Award for best actress. While she did not win either of these nominations, she did take home the Silver Shell for Best Actress at the San Sebastián International Film Festival.

While some Hollywood stars have had difficulty maintaining a steady stream of roles throughout their careers, Ava Gardner’s film opportunities did not diminish with age. After becoming a star in 1946, she continued to appear in films regularly until 1986. She retired from acting at the age of 64 due to a stroke that left her partially paralyzed. Four years later, on January 25th, 1990, Ava Gardner died of pneumonia and fibrosing alveolitis.

Ava Gardner has gone down in history for her amazing talent as an actress. In fact, in 1999, the American Film Institute ranked her as number 25 on their list of greatest female screen legends of classic American cinema. However, there was a lot more to her life than her stardom. In today’s video, we’re going to delve deep into the mysterious and troubled private life of Ava Gardner. Make sure you stick around, because we’re also going to expose her three disastrous marriages!

She Grew Up Very Poor

Some stars are born used to wealth and luxury. For Ava Gardner, however, life as a child was very different. She was born to Mary Elizabeth “Molly” and Jonas Bailey Gardner in Grabtown, North Carolina.. The couple worked as tobacco sharecroppers, but their job brought in very little income. To make matters worse, they had seven children, of which Ava was the youngest. In an already impoverished family, it was not an easy task to feed and clothe seven children.

The situation grew worse for the Gardner family when they lost their property. Ava’s mother had to find work as a cook and housekeeper in exchange for room and board at a nearby school. Meanwhile, Ava’s father was able to continue his work as a sharecropper, and he also picked up a few jobs at sawmills to keep the family afloat. In 1931, however, the school closed, forcing the Gardner family to move to Virginia. In 1938, Ava’s father grew ill and died. She was just 15 years old. The family was left even poorer than before, and they moved back to North Carolina.

Her First Disastrous Marriage: Mick Rooney

In 1941, when Ava was 18, she signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She left school and moved to Hollywood. On her very first night in California, she A-list celebrity Mick Rooney. Her first impression was a surprising one; he was performing drag while wearing a bowl of fruit on his head. Enchanted by her appearance, he walked up to her and asked her out. The two got to know each other, and it seemed that love was in the air. The two married on January 10th, 1942, when Ava was just 19 years old.

Just a few months after they were married, however, Ava found out that her new husband was already unfaithful. The two fought constantly over his infidelity. That, coupled with Mick’s increasing drinking problem, led to the eventual downfall of their marriage. Ava divorced him just a year after their marriage.

Her Accent Almost Prevented Her from Getting a Contract

Ava was discovered by a talent scout for Metro-Goldwyn Mayer in 1941, when she was 18 years old. However, at the time, it was only her dashing looks that made a good impression. In fact, the head of MGM, Louis B. Mayer, sent a telegram to her interviewer, Al Altman which read, “She can’t sing, she can’t act, she can’t talk, she’s terrific!” After being offered the contract, however, the studio made it very clear to Ava that she would have to undergo a lot of training. Her Southern drawl, acquired from her birthplace of North Carolina, made it nearly impossible for others to understand her. During the first few years of her contract with MGM, she was forced to work with a speech coach.

Her Second Disastrous Marriage: Artie Shaw

After her short-lived but troubled marriage with Mick Rooney, Ava Gardner tried once again to find love. She found it in the form of a jazz musician and bandleader named Artie Shaw. In an interview with her ghostwriter, Peter Evans, Ava Gardner referred to her second husband as a bully, saying “He used to put me down so much I lost complete confidence in myself.” Regardless of the way he treated her, however, Ava was captivated by his intelligence and complexity. Just a week after their first anniversary, however, Artie Shaw left her for another woman, leaving Ava devastated.

While Ava Gardner’s first two marriages ended in disaster, they were nothing compared to her third and final marriage. Make sure you stick around, because we’re going to discuss why her marriage to Frank Sinatra was so tumultuous. And, if you’re enjoying this video so far, please take a moment to like this video and subscribe to our channel for more!

She Appeared in Three Films Based on Ernest Hemingway Novels

In a surprising coincidence, Ava Gardner appeared in all three of the most successful film productions that were based on stories by great American author Ernest Hemingway. The first just so happened to be her breakout film, The Killers. The other two films were The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway commented that he rather enjoyed The Killers, although he complained that, in most cases, Hollywood distorted his work beyond recognition.

Hemingway and Gardner even became friends later in life, and he allowed the actress to stay at his villa in Cuba.

Her Final Disastrous Marriage: Frank Sinatra

Ava Gardner’s longest and most tumultuous marriage was to singer Frank Sinatra. Their marriage got off to a rocky start when Sinatra left his poor wife Nancy to be with Gardner. The two immediately became the hottest source of gossip, and many people referred to Ava Gardner as a femme fatale who destroyed Sinatra’s marriage. The two married on November 7th, 1951, just days after Sinatra finalized his divorce with Nancy.

By 1954, their marriage started to fall apart. Frank Sinatra was broke and insecure, which led to a lot of tension between the two. Sinatra became unstable, threatening suicide whenever he was upset. Still, Ava Gardner considered him to be the love of her life. Their marriage lasted 6 years, but they eventually divorced in 1957. However, they remained good friends throughout the rest of their lives.

Proving Herself as an Actress

When Ava Gardner first signed her contract with MGM, the executives made it incredibly clear that it was chiefly for her looks. They didn’t think much of her acting skills at the time. Gardner, however, was determined to prove herself. She studied and practiced hard over the years, until she was finally revered by critics for her acting abilities. In the 1974 film Earthquake, she even surprised her director by demanding to perform all of her own stunts.

Her Final Years

In 1986, after years of smoking, Ava suffered from pneumonia and an underlying condition known as Lupus erythematosus. This caused her to suffer a stroke, which left her partially paralzyed. She retired from acting and lived as a recluse in her final years. The only living souls she had for company were her housekeeper, Carmen Vargas, and her Welsh Corgi, Morgan. She lived quietly for four more years before eventually dying on January 25th, 1990. Before her death, however, she made sure that her two close friends would be secure; she sent Carmen to work for her long time friend Gregory Peck, and Morgan went along with her.

Even though Gardner remained friends with Frank Sinatra after their divorce, her funeral proved just how troubled her relationships were. All three of her ex-husbands refused to attend her funeral.

Ava Gardner may be revered for her acting skills and beauty, but her private life was marred by tumultuous relationships. Which marriage did you find the most troubling, her marriage to Mick Rooney, Artie Shaw, or Frank Sinatra? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!

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