Reading Lee Server’s biography of Ava Gardner…

“When I lose my temper, honey, you can’t find it any place.”
—Ava Gardner

“She became at once the principal sex symbol for the movies’ new dark age. Audiences responded to her style, an impudent, provocative blend of sweater girl and spider woman, the all-American accessibility of Lana Turner and the dark exoticism of Dietrich or Lamarr. Her cynical demeanor and sometimes less than wholesome glamour made her fit company for the new generation of male stars, Lancaster, Mitchum, Mason, Peck (in his surly early years), the corps of unsmiling, morally ambiguous men of postwar cinema. She played noir temptresses and big-city vamps and a statue of Venus sprung to succulent life, but never the girl next door. Audiences tuned in to her private persona as well, the one that seemed not so different from her screen image, the playgirl who lived for kicks, the denizen of nightclubs, the temptress who brought powerful men to their knees. Her popularity soared. Her acting grew in assurance, charisma, and variety. The studio execs dragged their feet— skeptical of her talent, fearful of her independence— still gave her the utility parts as the leading man’s bland leading lady, but in between there would come unusual projects and distinctive roles to which she would bring unique presence, elements of style, personality, and personal history. Her greatest films are hard to imagine without her.”

Ava came from Grabtown, North Carolina. A small town girl who became the wife of Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw (Jazzman), Frank Sinatra, and then took on lovers from Hemingway to Howard Hughes. She lived a helluva life, unabashedly. Been researching this era for a fictional work. She played a lot of the noirish style movies, so has always fascinated me. She teamed up with Mitchum – another favorite (and, Lee Server has a biogarphy on him well worth the read as well!).

Lee Server: Ava Gardner: “Love Is Nothing”

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