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Actress Ava Gardner was a sultry beauty famous for playing femme fatale roles, and for her marriages to Frank Sinatra, Artie Shaw and Mickey Rooney.
Ava Gardner - Mini Biography (3:11)
Ava Gardner's performance in "The Killers" made her an instant star. Gardner's off-screen life was often as dramatic as the roles she played, with marriages to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra.
In 1948 Frank Sinatra began his fall from the peak of American show business when he fell in love with Ava Gardner.
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Gardner had another short marriage, from 1945 to 1946, to bandleader Artie Shaw. During their time together, Shaw tried to mold Gardner, who was already insecure about her lack of education, with suggested reading lists.
Gardner rarely shied away from romantic entanglements,
and her partners ranged from co-stars to Spanish matadors. Her real-life femme fatale reputation peaked when she became involved with singer Frank Sinatra, whom she considered the love of her life. After Sinatra left his wife to be with Gardner, the two married in 1951. Unfortunately, their passion often boiled over into jealous fights, and the two separated and reconciled several times before finally divorcing in 1957.
Gardner left her MGM contract in 1958, but continued to appear in movies, including On the Beach (1959) and The Night of the Iguana (1964). Gardner received fewer job offers as the years passed, working only sporadically.
After living in Spain for several years, Gardner moved to London, England, in 1968. She remained close to Sinatra, who called her hospital room after her 1986 stroke and later helped with her medical bills. Ava Gardner died from pneumonia in London on January 25, 1990, at the age of 67. She was buried next to her parents in North Carolina.
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