Ava Gardner Biography, Age, Career, Marriage, Illness, and Death

Ava Gardner Biography

Ava Gardner was an American actress and singer who was signed to a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1941. She appeared principally in little roles until she made attention along with her performance in The Killers (1946).

She was appointed for the Academy Award for Best role player for her work in Mogambo (1953) and additionally received BAFTA Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for alternative films.

Ava Gardner Early life

She was born Ava Lavinia Gardner in Grabtown, North Carolina, the USA on December 24, 1922. She was her parents’ seventh child. When she was 2 years old, her family had to leave their tobacco farm. Her father then worked as a sharecropper, while her mother ran a boardinghouse. The family always struggled financially, a situation that worsened when Gardner’s father died when she was 16 years.

Ava Gardner
Ava Gardner

Ava Gardner Career

Ava was studying to be a secretary when her photographer brother-in-law sent pictures of her to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. A striking beauty with dark hair and green eyes, Gardner’s photos convinced the studio to give her a screen test. This led to her signing a 7 yrs, $50 per week contract with MGM in 1941 when Gardner was 18 years old.

Hollywood Career

Upon her arrival in Hollywood, Ava was put into the MGM studio system to learn how to be an actress. Her thick Southern accent made speech lessons a required part of her training. Ava Gardner was shy and intimidated by the process of appearing on camera, and, thus, she would sometimes drink beforehand to calm her nerves.

She slowly worked her way up to larger roles. But it wasn’t till she was loaned to Universal Studios to appear as seductress Kitty Collins in 1946’s The Killers, this made her a star.

That success made the actress landing better parts in movies like The Hucksters (1947), Show Boat (1951) and The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952). She appeared in Mogambo (1953), a task that earned Gardner her solely Academy Award nomination.

Even as her acting career developed, her beauty always held a large part of her appeal. For her role in The Barefoot Contessa (1954), as a dancer whose rags-to-riches story echoed Gardner’s own, MGM touted her as “The World’s Most Beautiful Animal.”

Ava Gardner Illness and demise

After a lifetime of smoking, she suffered emphysema and an unidentified autoimmune disorder. In 1986 she was partially paralyzed and was bedridden.

Although she could afford her medical expenses, Sinatra wanted her to see a specialist in the United States. She had him make the arrangements for a medically staffed private plane. She suffered a foul fall a week before she died, and she lay on the floor, alone and unable to move until her housekeeper returned. Her last words (to her housekeeper) were reported: “I’m so tired”. She died of respiratory illness at the age of 67, at her London home, 34 Ennismore Gardens, where she had lived since 1968.

Ava Gardner Age

Gardner died on January 25, 1990, when she was 67 years of age, in London, England.

She met actor Mickey Rooney on her first studio visit in California. Rooney, then at the height of his career, ardently pursued her. As Gardner, heeding her North Carolina upbringing, was determined to remain a virgin until marriage, they wed in 1942, after first receiving permission from MGM. The two separated a year later, amid Gardner’s accusations that Rooney had been unfaithful.

With the end of her first marriage, her reputation for drinking, smoking, and partying grew. She also became close with Howard Hughes, hence she remained an object of fascination for the reclusive man for years. Gardner had another short marriage, from 1945 to 1946, to bandleader Artie Shaw. During their time together, Shaw tried to mold Gardner, who was already insecure about her lack of education, with suggested reading lists.

Ava Gardner Net Worth

She died with an estimated net worth of $200, 000.