Bach to:- Graves out of LA
" Final Resting Place of Ava Gardner"
December 24th, 1922 - January 25th, 1990
Actress and ex. wife of Frank Sinatra
Sunset Memorial Park, Smithfield, North Carolina.
Cause of death - Pneumonia
Ava Lavinia Gardner was born in the small farming community of Brogden, Johnston County, North Carolina, the youngest of seven children of poor tobacco farmers; her mother was a Baptist of Scots-Irish descent, while her father, Jonas Bailey Gardner, was an Irish American Catholic. An MGM talent scout saw Gardner's photo in a New York shop window where she had begun as a fashion model. Soon she was signed up with the studio and in Hollywood. She went through MGM's "in-house finishing school," but the studio "then all but lost sight of
Gardner made several movies before 1946, but it wasn't until she starred in The Killers opposite Burt Lancaster, that she became known as a movie star and sex symbol. She was married to Mickey Rooney at 19 years in 1941 (they divorced in 1943, mainly because Rooney wouldn't give up his partying ways), then to Artie Shaw from 1945 to 1946, and to Frank Sinatra from 1951 to 1957. She was regarded as one of the most beautiful actresses in Hollywood. She was romanced by billionaire Howard Hughes who bought her diamonds and had her followed by private detectives. When Gardner broke off their relationship and started dating actor Howard Duff, Hughes responded by having a car that he had purchased for her, taken apart, piece by piece and left in her driveway.
Frank Sinatra left his wife, Nancy, for Ava and their subsequent marriage made headlines. Sinatra was treated poorly by gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, the Hollywood establishment, and Sinatra's fans for leaving his "good wife" for this exotic, femme-fatale. His career suffered while Ava's prospered -- the headlines only solidified her sexy screen siren image. The marriage to Sinatra was stormy -- passionate fighting, jealousy, numerous separations. Gardner used her considerable clout to get Sinatra cast in his Oscar-winning role in From Here To Eternity (1953). That role and the award revitalized Sinatra's acting and singing careers. During their marriage, Ava became pregnant, but she terminated the pregnancy due to the volatility of her marriage. She had always wanted children, but she said years later, "We couldn't even take care of ourselves. How were we going to take care of a baby?" Gardner and Sinatra would remain good friends for the rest of her life.
Gardner was nominated for an Oscar for Mogambo (1953). 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.
"Off-camera, she gave off sparks of wit, as in her assessment of John Ford, who directed her in Mogambo: 'The meanest man on earth. Thoroughly evil. Adored him!'"
Gardner also had a recurring role as Ruth Galveston on the television series Knots Landing in 1985.
After a stroke in 1989, which left her partially paralyzed and bedridden, Frank Sinatra paid her medical expenses. She died of pneumonia in London, England at the age of 67 in 1990.
Gardner is interred in the Sunset Memorial Park, Smithfield, North Carolina; the town of Smithfield now has an Ava Gardner Museum.