Born on December 24, 1922, Ava Lavinia Gardner lived in Grabtown, North Carolina, and was raised on a tobacco farm where she learned to speak in an earthy language and go barefoot. Ava was only 18 when her picture in the window of her brother-in-law's photo shop clicked to an executive of MGM. She moved to Hollywood and a film contract based on her looks was offered.
Her first 17 film roles were only one-line or cameo bits. She starred in a B-grade film Whistle Stop in 1946 and Universal to "rented" her for The Killers in 1946. Her talent shown in films Mogambo in 1953 and Bhowani Junction in 1956. She loved to dance and flamenco was one of Ava's trademarks after using it in The Barefoot Contessa in 1954. Ava had a street named for her after her part in On the Beach in 1959. She did her own stunts in the movie Earthquake in 1974 which included dodging concrete blocks and steel pipes.
Ava moved to Spain in 1955 and began making European films. Her last starring film was The Night of the Iguana in 1964. Ava claimed her next roles were strictly for money. She moved to London after tax troubles in Spain and spent her last 22 years there. She did not make many movies in her later years, but her beauty made her a star. Ava died of bronchial pneumonia on January 25, 1990 in England. She was 67.
Ava was married to Mickey Rooney form 1942 until they divorced in 1943. She married Artie Shaw in 1945 and they divorced in 1946. She was married to Frank Sinatra from 1951 until 1957 when they divorced.