L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, June 17, 2016

Miss Gardner

It's not like I ever found her all that compelling as an actress or even what you might call just a beautiful "screen presence", but looking at Ava Gardner - at any age - always makes me feel rather shockingly heterosexual, if you catch my meaning. There was something more to her allure, though, than just an exquisite, sensual face and form. There was that thing about her that some woman have: she seemed both tough - emotionally and physically strong, resilient - and yet, when it suited her, vulnerable, yielding. But always on her terms. Earth mother, lazy witch; she seemed to know something that others don't. I also think she'd have been a great dame to sit with and talk to, world-weary and comfortable. Someone to tell you wry stories. To share a cocktail or three, a cigarette and laughter.


After a previous post about Ava Gardner, celebrating her beauty in her later years, a kind blog visitor left this lovely, touching memory of her encounter with Miss Gardner:

"I was living in London during the mid '80s , studying at the Royal School of Needle Work on Hyde park, often having my lunch sitting on a bench there. One day a small dog decided I was its long lost best friend and started jumping all over me. The apologetic owner sat with me, asked if I minded if she lit up a cigarette and we laughed about the dog, Londoners, the weather, the latest politicians scandal etc. I felt sure we had met before and it was a good ten minutes before I realized it was Ava Gardner I was sitting with. She was perfectly lovely, aged and a little fragile but just as riveting as in her Hollywood heyday and so natural and down to earth. Sadly I never did see her in the park again, I learned sometime later that she had had several strokes around that time, perhaps that day was one of the last time she ever took her little dog for a walk in the park." 


  1. so lovely. Agreed that I never was interested in her as an actress or thought she was particularly beautiful - but after reading her late in life auto-biography I became a huge fan. As you say -she was a real WOMAN and would be fun to have drinks with :-)

  2. Lena Horne remembers her with great fondness as they mused about the inequity of Ava being cast as the mulatto character in Show Boat, when it should have been Lena. They both, apparently, bonded about being poor southern women. Yeah, I would have loved to raise a glass or two with her.

  3. I cannot imagine anyone ever thinking Ava not to be "particularly beautiful." Get some glasses. She was and will remain the loveliest creature ever created. Without doubt the most beautiful women ever filmed. Taylor was pretty, Lamar was lovely. Gardner was the standard by which all movie stars should be measured. They didn't call her "The world's most Beautiful Animal" for nothing. She had it all....face, figure, voice and ability and sexual magnetism. Look at the husbands she attracted, not to mention the ones who courted her and paid her homage. You can't watch "Night of the Iguana" and not think she should have won an Oscar for that performance. Too many people believe Ava's assessment of her own worth as an actress. She was always better than she thought she was. Obviously, the detractors need to revisit her body of work. I knew her sister Myra. She drove a lovely white Cadillac and took her son (Ava's nephew Clifton) and several of us boys to dancing lessons. She always wore great sunglasses and had some of the glamour of her younger sister, Ava. I always thought many of the things were passed to her from Ava! I was making plans to finally meet Ava when she became so ill and passed away. Her sister was as close as I ever got to the earthy warmth of an enduring Film Legend. She never forgot she came from the red clay of North Carolina. I have two autographed photos of Ava in my Hollywood Hall. She is above that of Elizabeth Taylor who said of her..... "Ava Gardner is the World's Most Beautiful Woman." Who could challenge that declaration! I rest my case!

    1. Well said! And you're not going to get any argument from ME! She was pretty raw as an actress in her first films, but she got so much better; yes, she was wonderful in "Night of the Iguana"! And I've seen her in a few more films since I wrote this post and have much more respect for her acting now. She's was already very good in "East Side, West Side", as early as 1949. Wonderful that you have that connection with her through her sister - who sounds like a hoot! Thanks for sharing this. : )