Happy Belated 100th Birthday Ava Gardner

Yes, I know I am two months late on this one (her 100th birthday was on December 24, 2022), but I could care less. I would like to wish a Happy belated 100th birthday to iconic Classical Hollywood era star Ava Gardner. Click here to view a wikipedia entry on her. Aside from being famously formerly married to Ol’ Blue Eyes himself Frank Sinatra (the widely acclaimed singer and actor), Gardner was so much more than that. Beyond her beauty on film, Ava Gardner also deserved to be celebrated as a woman with a big heart (read more about The Ava Gardner Trust by clicking here).

Click here to view a series of youtube video links that talk extensively about why Ava Gardner is such a national treasure, whether it be as a Hollywood star or human being

Click here to view the website devoted entirely to the Ava Gardner Museum located in North Carolina – the state she was born in

Now without further ado, below is a list of my favorite Ava Gardner films 🙂 All of them I gave * * * * (out of * * * *) stars to

  1. The Killers (1946) (Dir: Robert Siodmak) Click here to view the film’s original theatrical trailer
  2. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951) (Dir: Albert Lewin) Click here to view what may be the film’s original theatrical trailer (even though it was a 2010 revival showing). Click here to view the film’s Restoration trailer
  3. Mogambo (1953) (Dir: John Ford) Click here to view the film’s original theatrical trailer
  4. The Barefoot Contessa (1954) (Dir: Joseph L. Mankiewicz) Click here to view the film’s original theatrical trailer
  5. Bhowani Junction (1956) (Dir: George Cukor) Click here to view the film’s original theatrical trailer
  6. 55 Days at Peking (1963) (Dir: Nicholas Ray) Click here to view what may be the film’s original theatrical trailer
  7. Seven Days in May (1964) (Dir: John Frankenheimer) Click here to view the film’s original theatrical trailer
  8. The Night of the Iguana (1964) (Dir: John Huston) Click here to view the film’s original theatrical trailer

Let me conclude this post with three questions below for all of my dear readers

Did any of you watch some of the videos on that first youtube link from the second paragraph? Not the movie trailers, but the videos about her legacy? And If so, which ones did you watch and what did you find fascinating about that particular video?

Did any of you visit the Ava Gardner Museum website yet that I mentioned in the third paragraph? And If so, is there anything you read or watched that stood out for you in particular?

Last, but not least, what are your favorite Ava Gardner films?


29 thoughts on “Happy Belated 100th Birthday Ava Gardner

  1. I’m afraid I’m very unfamiliar with Ava Gardner. I haven’t seen any of her films so there isn’t much I can contribute to this post. It’s a very good post though.

    I’m just letting you know that Destruction Force/ La Banda Del Trucido (The first sequel to Free Hand For A Tough Cop) is on youtube in English. Just in case you haven’t seen it in English.

    Also, here are all the Nico Giraldi films on youtube:
    The Cop In Blue Jeans (on youtube in English)
    Echipa Antifurt
    Squadra Antitruffa
    Assassinio sul Tevere
    Delitto a Porta Romano
    Delitto sull’autostrada
    Delitto in formula 1
    Delitto al ristorante Cinese
    Delitto al Blue Gay

    All the other films after The Cop In Blue Jeans are in Italian so you’ll have to watch with English Auto Translate.

    Also, Young, Violent, Dangerous, Squadra Volante and the Eurocrime documentary are on Amazon.com.

    It would also be good if could watch parts 2 and 3 of Blood Ties.

  2. I have some more recommendations. More films directed by Fernando DiLeo and Umberto Lenzi.

    Fernando DiLeo:
    The Italian Connection (1972) – Henry Silva, Mario Adorf
    Shoot First, Die Later (1974) – Luc Merenda, Richard Conte
    Kidnap Syndicate (1975) – Luc Merenda, James Mason
    Rulers of the City (1976) – Jack Palance
    Blood and Diamonds (1977)

    All of these films are on youtube with English options.

    Umberto Lenzi:
    Gang War In Milan (1973)
    The Manhunt (1975) – Henry Silva
    Violent Naples (1976) – Maurizio Merli, John Saxon

    There’s no English options on youtube for Gang War In Milan and The Manhunt so they’ll have to be watched with English Auto Translate. Violent Naples isn’t on youtube but it is on ok.ru. Do a google search for ‘Violent Naples ok.ru’ and you’ll find it.

    I think you should watch the Nico Giraldi films before these films though. I think that would be good.

  3. She was stunningly attractive. I saw ’55 Days At Peking’ in the cinema, and loved that epic. I saw ‘The Killers’ and the rest of the films later, so have eventually seen all of those on your list. ‘Mogambo’ was my least favourite, as I do not like big game hunting.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  4. 100?! Wow! I didn’t even know she was still around. But she’s setting a record!

  5. Thank you Steve for all of the search info 🙂 I can check them off as I watch them 🙂 I will take your advice too on the English Auto Translate 🙂 And yes, I should watch parts 2 and 3 of Blood Ties – I am so far behind on that, it is not even funny. 🙂

  6. Fernando DiLeo and Umberto Lenzi have done great stuff and as you so eloquently states in the past Steve, the Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci of polizioteschis 🙂

    I shall take your advice once again on watching the Nico Giraldi films first 🙂

  7. I am not a big fan of big game hunting either Pete, but I do love the film 🙂 Speaking of Ava Gardner’s beauty, I just love the way she was photographed in Albert Lewin’s 1951 romance fantasy Pandora and the Flying Dutchman 🙂 What was your opinion of it? As for myself, I think it is the greatest Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger film that Powell and Pressburger never made 🙂 In fact, British cinematographer Jack Cardiff not only photographed A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes, but also Pandora and the Flying Dutchman 🙂 Thoughts? 🙂

  8. Stacey, I probably should have stated that Ava Gardner would have been 100 back in December 🙂 She sadly passed away at the age of 67 in 1990 😦 Nobody loved her the way Frank Sinatra did. Speaking of which, it has been reported that when actor George C. Scott was frequently abusing her, Sinatra sent some of his men out to make an example of Scott. It has been reported that Sinatra’s men threatened to break Scott’s legs If he continued to abuse Gardner. For me, Sinatra is the definition of a stand up kind of guy 🙂 Thoughts? 🙂

  9. I loved the film Night of the Iguana for the entire cast. Ava was wonderful. There are too many AG films I have yet to see.
    Your loving tribute reminds me to do so. I saw the museum video. Her neice has fond memories of her.
    Happy Birthday, Ava!

  10. Okay, that makes more sense. I didn’t “sense” that Ava Gardner had been around–that’s why I was so surprised. I thought it was more of the Mandela Effect happening!
    As for Frank Sinatra…my knee jerk reaction is, yeah, good for him! But then again, I’m remembering that he’s had accusations similar to those against Scott for being abusive. Plus which, he tortured his first wife by having the affair with Ms. Gardner. So my opinion is that when he sent the guys to straighten Scott out, it was an unconscious, symbolic gesture to straight out his own less-than-desirable behavior. Of course, I didn’t know either of them, so who knows what’s true and what’s not?

  11. As you already know Cindy, I love Night of the Iguana and I can totally see why Mike Nichols wanted her to play Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate 🙂 Ava Gardner’s performance is a tour de force in Night of the Iguana 🙂 Thank you for the kind words regarding my tribute 🙂 When I first read all of these stories about Ava on the museum site and watched the videos, I was intrigued by her compassion for others 🙂 Btw, the name of her niece is Ava Thompson 🙂

  12. Stacy, Frank Sinatra had his issues, but George C. Scott was (as Gardner implied or said herself) an entirely different animal. Out of all the stories I read about Scott’s behavior, I am amazed that he did not succeed in killing anybody during a domestic squabble. That was how reckless Scott was. His alcoholism made Sinatra’s (at least I think he was one) and Gardner’s alcoholism look like nothing by comparison. Noticed I said by comparison. In fact, it has been reported that Ava Gardner was banned from entering the Savoy hotel in the UK due to all the enormous damage Scott caused during their stay. I am not trying to excuse Sinatra’s past, but he did the right thing by threatening Scott with consequences If he ever touched Gardner again. Anyway, I hope that makes sense for ya 🙂

  13. John, thanks for the extra information! Holy COW and OMG. I had no idea Scott was THAT bad! That’s really sad and depressing. I’m very glad that Sinatra took action. sigh

  14. Stacy, George C. Scott truly was a monster offscreen. Whenever I think of how awful he was to Ava Gardner, I just play this youtube video link below 🙂

  15. LOL
    God, which reminds me–remember how hilarious Scott was in Dr. Strangelove?! So absolutely depressing to think someone that funny was such a jerk. I know we don’t know these people, these actors. They’re complete strangers. But one never expects hilarity to hold hands with horror…do they? I mean, I don’t. Like finding out what a jerk Jerry Lewis actually was. I know they’re just ACTING… but sometimes it feels like a shock finding out some of the truth behind the masks and veils and illusion…. I probably would rather never know, lol

  16. I know what you mean Stacy – until we read the shocking stories about them, we never even think for a minute about using laughter and horror in the same sentence – I mean, one’s own jaw drops upon reading the uglier side of some of these celebs.

  17. Another hilarious guy who is a jerk – Bill Murray. There’s so many unpleasant stories about Bill Murray. Recently Seth Green said that when he was nine years old he was a child extra on SNL when Murray was hosting and backstage he was sitting in a chair. Murray told him it was his chair he was sitting in and told him to move but Green refused. Murray then suddenly violently grabbed Green by his ankles and dangled him upside down in the air. Green was screaming while Murray was carrying him across the room upside down by his ankles. Murray then dangled him upside down over a trash can and said “The trash goes in the trash can” and let go of his ankles and Green fell into the trash can which then tipped over with him inside. Green ran off and he said he was crying and horrified.

    There’s a lot more bad stories about Murray. On What About Bob? he pushed the producer Laura Ziskin into the lake after an argument and during another argument she said he said he would throw her across the parking lot and then broke her glasses and threw across the parking lot. She said “I was furious and outraged. Having produced a dozen movies I can safely say it is not common behavior”. Murray is so loveable in What About Bob? yet this is what happened behind the scenes!

    He also broke off all contact with Harold Ramis after Groundhog Day and didn’t speak to him again until Ramis was dying. Although to be fair, Groundhog Day was a quite a tough shoot for Murray too. It was filmed in the winter in the freezing cold, he had to drop his foot into that hole in the street a lot and he was bitten by the groundhog and had to get rabies shots which isn’t exactly fun.

    There’s so many negative stories about Murray which is too old as he’s such a hilarious and talented guy. Apparently Peter Sellers was a jerk too and was a bit mentally unstable.

  18. Oh, crap! Why did I read Steve’s response? lol !! NOOOOOOO! First off, while I wrote about Scott, I was thinking, “At least Peter Sellers, comic genius, wasn’t a jerk.” Aaaaaaah! God, no!
    Also–so confused about Murray. I’ve seen so many times all over the internet from various sources (which, in the end, means nothing, of course) that he’s one of the nicest guys in Hollywood! Who’s telling which stories, I wonder?! I don’t wanna know. It’s too depressing! You know, the way people would feel if they REALLY knew me, lol !!
    Seriously, though (aside from Scott, who isn’t a comedian) maybe with the comedians it’s just their personalities. They really all do seem to be in your face callous “you can’t outthink me” people, a certain special genre of entertainer, that maybe just congeals into a general nastiness after a while. I think comedians are some of the angriest people on earth. Robin Williams–so talented. Why’d he kill himself? Comedians! They’re tortured.
    I thought maybe Murray was playing around with Seth. But dropping him into a trash can kinda says no, he wasn’t, ’cause that went too far. Awwwww.
    (sorry if this gets repeated. log-in issues again, so I copied it and the other one disappeared, but it may still go through)

  19. Hey there Steve 🙂 I did read all of that about Bill Murray and it If I remain unsurprised, it is because stories always seemed to pop up here and there about what a jerk he was. I read a lot about Peter Sellers as well and you seem to be right on the money there. Anyway, for my next happy birthday (or belated birthday) I was thinking of doing one on either Joe Dallesandro or the late Tomas Milian 🙂 Which one would you like me to do first? 🙂

  20. What a coincidence indeed Stacy 🙂 All of the questions you raised are valid ones 🙂 Though he is far from a Hollywood star or anything, I have never heard anything rotten said about the late great Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers neighborhood). Now that man was a humanitarian 🙂

  21. That’s a cool idea and a coincidence too. Tomas Milian’s birthday was the 3rd of March!! He passed away at the age of 84. If he was still here he’d be 90.
    I think Tomas first as it would be appropriate right now.

    Joe’s birthday is actually New Year’s Eve. I read a quote of his where he said when he was a kid it felt like the whole world was celebrating his birthday.

  22. I agree, John. Absolutely nothing but good things said about Mr. Rogers. Thanks for bringing up a “regular” person who didn’t seem to have any drama. 🙂

  23. I hear what you mean Paul S 🙂 I bet the one that really shocked you was the abuse Ava Gardner suffered at the hands of George C. Scott – Scott truly was an a**hole for that 😦

  24. The third Nico Giraldi film The Swindle is on youtube with English options. Just type in ‘The Swindle 1977’ and you’ll find it.

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