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For more than two years Ava Gardner sifted through her memories, filling ninety tapes with reminiscences of her life as a sharecropper's daughter turned legendary screen star. She completed the last tape just a few months before her sudden death in January 1990. Ava: My Story is her story, as only Ava can tell it - as straightforward, irreverent, and exciting as the woman herself.
She was the seventh child of a kindly farmer and his gregarious wife; a risk-taking tomboy who was happiest running barefoot through the fields; a pretty girl who what it was like to be dirt poor. She was Ava Gardner, and in 1940, at the age of 18, she was about to be transformed overnight from North Carolina hillbilly to MGM starlet. Within six months, she'd be socializing with stars such as Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, and Peter Lawford, dancing at Ciro's and the Trocadero - and married to Mickey Rooney, the most popular entertainer in America. And that was only the beginning...
Over the never four decades, Ava Gardner would dazzle the world with memorable roles in such film classics as Show Boat, The Bible, and The Night of the Iguana. Here, she recalls the early days, from posing for cheesecake photos "sultry enough to melt the North Pole," to battling stage fright with a shot of bourbon, and from making The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Barefoot Contessa, movies that brought her international fame, to her Oscar-nominated performance in Mogambo, playing opposite her screen idol, Clark Gable.
Here, too, with characteristic candor, Ava reveals her tempestuous private life: the three stormy marriages that ended in divorce; the passionate affairs with matadors and movie stars; the complex 20-year friendship with Howard Hughes; the romantic dreams, the doubts, the battles offscreen and on; the wild times and, later, the quiet times of a hard-living, hard-loving screen siren who was called the most irresistible woman in the world.
Ava: My Story is an out of print collectible and all books have been used, but are in very good shape with little noticeable wear.
Posted by Paul G. on 27th May 2013
To borrow a lyric from "Chicago: The Musical", "Find a flask, we're playing fast and loose", and to me that best describes how Ava Gardner lived her life, and that's in the best way possible through the good and the bad.
Reading her autobiography made me feel like we were sitting together on a veranda having a cocktail as Ms. Gardner reminisced about her life, loves, triumphs, and challenges.
I like the fact that it was written in her "voice". The touches of "Honey, that was something", or along those lines, made it personal. There was no emotional cover-up in her writing. She told it like it was. The writing was engaging and the tone was real, which I especially enjoyed, as some celebrity autobiographies come across very superficial.
Ms Gardner had guts along with the glamour that she played down. Even though she was an MGM star, it's apparent she never forgot her North Carolina roots and the people she called family and home.
I've read many Golden Age of Hollywood biographies and prior to reading Ms Gardner's, I read one of her colleagues of the time, and it was the most boring book I'd ever read. "Ava: My Story" was everything an autobiography should be. Entertaining, engaging, and effective.