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Ava Gardner -- The Secret Conversations

Evans, Peter and Ava Gardner

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ISBN 10: 1451627696 / ISBN 13: 9781451627695
Published by Simon and Schuster, New York, 2013
Condition: As New Hardcover
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In 1988 Ava Gardner approached reporter Peter Evans, whom she had not met, to help her tell her story. The extraordinary book that followed, not published until 2013 because Gardner backed out of the deal possibly at the urging of ex-husband Frank Sinatra, who also may have provided the money that Gardner might have received had the book been published. In any case, with Gardner and Evans both deceased, her estate gave approval for publication. The result is 293 enthralling pages of extended conversations with the ailing but still irresistible film diva, then in her sixties, in which she vividly discusses her life and times, triumphs and insecurities, with startling, funny, irreverent, wise, honest and thoroughly compelling observations. During the conversations she constantly worried that her salty style would come acress as vulgar, which she definitely was not, and that her revelations would look like self-pity, which was also never part of her makeup. The result is compelling, and I couldn't put the book down. A personal note: I rarely read about the lives of movie stars and other celebrities, and have seen only a few of Ava Gardner's more than 100 films. But she comes across in these conversations as a most complex and fascinating human being, infinitely more interesting than the "mere" image of her as a beautiful but tempestuous movie star. She died in 1990 at the age of 68. A film critic who had met the three great divas of the golden era of Hollywood glamour films, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner, once said that Taylor was the best actor because she worked hardest at it; Monroe was better than given credit for but had too many insecurities, and Gardner enchanted producers but they couldn't figure out great venues for her unmined talents. Of the three, he said, Gardner was the most beautiful. Bookseller Inventory # 150204

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Ava Gardner -- The Secret Conversations

Publisher: Simon and Schuster, New York

Publication Date: 2013

Binding: Cloth

Illustrator: A Few B & W Photos

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Edition: First Edition, First Printing

About this title


This wickedly candid memoir that Ava Gardner dared not publish during her lifetime offers a revealing self-portrait of the film legend’s life and loves in Hollywood’s golden age.

“I EITHER WRITE THE BOOK OR SELL THE JEWELS,” Ava Gardner told her coauthor, Peter Evans, “and I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels.” So began the collaboration that led to this remarkably candid, wickedly sardonic memoir.

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 (“he was a dominating son of a bitch . . . always putting me down”). 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 frank and revealing memoir be published.

“If I get into this stuff, oh, honey, have you got something coming,” Ava told Evans. Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations is the stunning story of a legendary star’s public and private lives.

About the Author:

Peter Evans was a columnist and foreign correspondent with the Daily Express (UK), and wrote for the Los Angeles Times and Vogue, as well as every major newspaper in Britain. His books include Peter Sellers: The Man Behind the Mask and Nemesis. He died in 2012.

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