Born on December 24, 1922 in Grabtown, North Carolina, Ava Lavinia Gardner was the youngest of seven children: Raymond, Melvin, Beatrice a.k.a. “Bappie”, Elsie Mae, Inez, and Myra. Her somewhat muddy education took place in a town called Brogden, approximately 77 miles from the tobacco farm where she and her siblings were raised.
She become one of the great Hollywood film stars and is listed as one of the American Film Institute’s greatest stars of all time.
And her carrier began when a photo taken by Larry Tarr impressed Barnard “Barney” Duhanbrought and brought Ava Gardner to Hollywood. After an interview she signed a contract for seven years.
Mickey Rooney fell head over heals for her and they were married soon after (Jan 10, 1942). They divorced 17 months later. Gardner had several relationships: Howard Hughes ( in The Aviator Gardner was portrayed by Kate Beckinsale), Arty Shaw and Frank Sinatra with who she was married, Ernest Hemingway.
Her filmography is very extensive. She was nominated for an Oscar for Mogambo (1953 with Clark Gable and Grace Kelly) but she lost to Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Many thought Gardner’s greatest performance was as Maxine Faulk in The Night of the Iguana (1964), for which she was not nominated. Grayson Hall, as the repressed Judith Fellowes, however, was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category.