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Ava Gardner : the secret conversations
Peter Evans and Ava Gardner
Adult Nonfiction PN2287.G37 E84 2013

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bookwoman_cat said:
1/2 * “I EITHER WRITE THE BOOK OR SELL THE JEWELS,” Ava Gardner told her coauthor, Peter Evans. Ava Gardner was one of Hollywood’s great stars during the 1940s and 1950s, an Oscar-nominated lead­ing lady who co-starred with Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, and Humphrey Bogart, among others. Her films included Show Boat, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Barefoot Contessa, and On the Beach. But her life off the screen was every bit as fabulous as her film roles. Born poor in rural North Carolina, Gardner was given a Hollywood tryout thanks to a stunning photo of her displayed in a shop window. Not long after arriving in Hollywood, she caught the eye of Mickey Rooney, then America’s #1 box-office draw. Rooney was a womanizer so notorious that even his mother warned Gardner about him. They married, but the marriage lasted only a year (“my shortest husband and my biggest mistake”). Ava then married band leader and clarinetist Artie Shaw, who would eventually marry eight times, but that marriage, too, lasted only about a year. She carried on a passionate affair with Howard Hughes but didn’t love him, she said. Her third marriage was a tempestuous one to Frank Sinatra (“We were fighting all the time. Fighting and boozing. It was madness. . . . But he was good in the feathers”). Faithfully recording Ava’s reminiscences in this book, Peter Evans describes their late-night conver­sations when Ava, having had something to drink and unable to sleep, was at her most candid. So candid, in fact, that when she read her own words, she backed out and halted the book. Only now, years after her death, could this memoir be published. ***** I am not doing well with biographies this year. This is a poorly organized, often repetitious summary of Ava's drunken ramblings. The book could have been a 10th as long and would have contained all the information Ava revealed. In addition to the fact that she eventually backed out of of the book and stopped talking with Evans, the book was not published until after Evans' own death. Someone did a bad job of organizing his notes and saw that there was not enough material for a book without the many repetitions of the same information. I ended up liking Ava for the very candidness and bad language that led her to abandon the book, but if you want to read a biography about Ava Gardner, pick another book.
posted Feb 20, 2014 at 9:05PM
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