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Ava: My Story

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,390 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
She was called the most irresistible woman in the world. Sultry, tempestuous, and ravishingly beautiful, Ava Gardner lit up the screen in film classics such as Show Boat, The Bible, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro. She romanced Clark Gable in Mogambo and dazzled Humphrey Bogart in The Barefoot Contessa. And all the while her personal life sizzled with as much outright glamour ...more
Hardcover, 315 pages
Published by Bantam Press (first published 1990)
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Jan 31, 2010 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! I actually picked it up because I knew nothing about Ava Gardner, except that she was a film star/sex symbol, and I wanted to find out who she really was. I'm so glad I did! Ava was so funny, endearing, and genuine in her thoughts and actions. This book has it all! I laughed out loud at her stories from childhood on up-it's amazing how cinematic her real life actually was! There were sad and touching moments too and I found her to be relatable in a lot of ways. When she first ...more
Ava wrote her autobiography by dictating it to her secretary on a tape-recorder. As a result, the book has a very conversational style; it feels as if she was right there talking to you. Her very forthright, earthy language is there too. Some of the facts may have been sanitized to make her look better, but it is still nice to hear her side of the story. The book also includes chapters written by some of her close friends, such as Arlene Dahl, Gregory Peck, and Roddy McDowall.

Ava tells the stor
Oct 20, 2011 Katy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the book is wonderfully written it feels like you're having a conversation with Ava. I only wish there were more photos!
Mataos Ponticello
Dec 05, 2011 Mataos Ponticello rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know we have our "divas" now, but back the hollywood days they were called "leading ladies," and they were spectacular. I enjoyed reading every word of Ava Gardner's life story, and there's dozens more to read. What lives and lifestyles!
Mar 04, 2014 Phyllis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the first line, I was hooked! Ava was born about 40 miles NE of my birthplace, Ft Bragg, NC. Haven't read as entertaining an autobiography as Ava's. She illuminated her world. I felt I was there right beside her. Funny, tragic, imperfect, blessed with "good looks and health" most of her life.
Feb 25, 2010 Graceann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
The only thing that kept me reading is that I wanted to see how Miss Gardner discussed her three husbands (with affection - she even found nice things to say about Artie Shaw) and how she felt in her older years (frustrated with her health). Now I know, but it was quite a slog to get to that information.

"Ava: My Story" was published posthumously, and clearly her writing style was retained (or, at least, I can only hope a professional writer wasn't responsible for this). It is clunky and full of
Marianne Meyers
"Hollywood stars are just not the same anymore, oh the glamour! I liked her writing style, it felt like she was talking directly to me as a confidant. Nice dirt on Howard Hughes. She never really was confident in herself, she never had a chance to be, she was too busy being told, ""just stand there and look beautiful."" Alcohol was a major part of her life, which was sad to read. She and Frank never had a chance, both were too insecure to stay in a relationship. I came away sad from this book be ...more
Gregory Rothbard
Apr 19, 2012 Gregory Rothbard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ms. North Carolina is represented by Ava Gardner (1922-1990). She was born on Christmas Eve 1922, in Grabtown North Carolina. She was born under Capricorn; a sign for people that are grounded by truth. She desired no bull outside of Durham.
She moved to California from Norfolk Virginia, married Mickey Rooney, and was asked to lose her Carolina accent. She might have lost the accent but she never lost the Carolina way.
She was wooed by the reclusive Howard Hughes and proved that Southern Girls Ki
Jan C
Jan 10, 2009 Jan C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like tell all show biz bios
Shelves: biography, show-biz
Very enjoyable. She was a live wire. And the funny thing is, she apparently never believed that she was a star or really evem that she was beautiful. Although I think someone was telling her how beautiful she was (they were always telling her that) and I think she was in her sixties (she died at 67) and she said "I used to be."

And her husbands and boyfriends ... whoa! Mickey Rooney - the liar. Artie Shaw - wanted to make her into something brilliant. Frank Sinatra - they were the love of each ot
Apr 03, 2011 Melody rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-read
After Elizabeth Taylor's passing I wanted to read about one of the classic screen stars that I was interested in.

I really enjoyed the parts of the book that were about the different loves in her life. Very interesting to learn that such a beauty was a tomboy and never truly believed that she had any actual talent.

Some might not have liked the way that the book was written but I found it came accross as though you were sitting down and having a drink with the star as she told you her side of the
Anna Ryan
Mar 02, 2014 Anna Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is by far the best autobiography I have read so far :) I love it how Ava says things like: 'And honey, believe me ...' Or words to that effect. When you read this book, it is like you are having a good old chat to Ava, herself.
She was an amazing, funny, beautiful woman who swore a lot. I was a big fan or her before I read her fantastic memoir, and now, after reading it, I am an even bigger fan of hers. She is one of my favourite actresses of all time! :D (along with Marilyn Monroe and Laure
Stacy Fetters
Sep 09, 2015 Stacy Fetters rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ava is such a beautiful person inside and out. Never let Hollywood fame get to her head.
Finding fame with just one of her photos hanging up in New York.
Through the ups and downs, she kept a level head. With all the failed marriages and the late night boozings, she always stayed true to herself. Never letting anyone change her mind.
Throughout she wasn't afraid to tell it how it is and not letting anything hold her back from the truth.
Going into this I didn't know much about her and afterwards
I read this book by mistake. I picked it up thinking she was a different actress but then kept reading. She was a singular sort of person and very honest about her feelings and actions. She took a lot of abuse and dished it out. She died very suddenly before the book was published so they had other people contribute to it -- everyone from Greggory Peck to her maid. I was glad I'd read it.
Jul 06, 2013 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is kind of sad that these people who seem so glamorous and rich and famous are just not as happy as we expect.

I did note that she really never badmouthed anyone (well, maybe one exception--but I forgive her that.) She did seem, for the most part, to just simply accept and enjoy the people around her.
David Melvin
Jan 21, 2015 David Melvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is a very good book. This autobiography is very definitive about the life of Ava Gardner. Ava Gardner describes her life and how she became a famous actress. I don't recommend this book to any one under 15 or 16 though.
Feb 28, 2014 Linda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 22, 2016 Ellyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hollywood buffs, memoir fans, Rat Pack enthusiasts
Ava was no writer, but she could sure turn a phrase and tell a story. And I'm so glad she told her own.

Ava was a real dame, and one of the last of the dazzling Hollywood movie stars. She lived and worked in a time when it was difficult to be a woman and stand up for yourself, so there are painful stories of victimization here. Because of her kindness and generosity of spirit, she remained lifelong friends or on good terms with most of her exes -- a handful of men who frankly didn't deserve it.

When I first started the book, I found it very enjoyable, but about halfway into it, I became bored. It starts out making the reader feel as if they have just sat down with Ava, and she begins to tell all about her life, the kind where you only get a little at a time and can't wait until the next visit. Ava was raised in a poor southern family. I believe she had the makings of a good woman, but Hollywood seems to have a way of changing people. Even so, I believe she never lost her kind heart. Sh ...more
Richard Stueber
Jan 13, 2016 Richard Stueber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This autobiography was recorded on tape by Ava Gardner in more than two years before her death on January 25, 1990. There are also short chapters by the following: Ava'a sister Myra Gardner Pearce; the actors Arlene Dahl, Lena Horne, Gregory Peck and Roddy McDowell: writer Stephen Birmingham: designer Franka; and Ava's employee Mearene Jordan.
It could be said that Ava was unlucky in love. Of her three marriages only that to Frank Sinatra lasted as much as two years. And she ended up living alone
Jul 18, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I dressed up as Ava Gardner in the third grade for my "Famous North Carolinian" project. We had to read an autobiography of a famous person from North Carolina, and I read this. There is a lot of sex and lamp-throwing, but that did not deter me. I was hooked on Gardner, just like Frank Sinatra. This may have something to do with why, as an adult, my concept of romance involves pretending to shoot yourself over the phone so that someone will come to your house and be relieved that you're not dead ...more
Dec 31, 2011 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
One of Hollywood's most charismatic beauties, Ava Gardner tells her life in her own words. The most interesting parts, for me, were her humble beginnings as the youngest of 7 children born to a South Carolina farmer - who, like many, lost his way during the Great Depression - also her passionate romance with Frank Sinatra, and her bizarre friendship with Howard Hughes (how could it be otherwise?) I have no doubt that Ms Gardner and her co-writers toned down some aspects of her private life, but ...more
Mike Flores
Jan 19, 2017 Mike Flores rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jaw dropping and honest. As in your face as Keith Richards LIFE, but years before it.

Ava was bisexual and loved to go to bordellos - even taking Grace Kelly with her during the filming of MOGAMBO with Clark Gable. Married to Sinatra, every time he cheated on her- she did the same to him! He actually tried to commit suicide more than once over her.

She even beat up Howard Hughes sending him to the hospital!

Sexy and beautiful beyond belief- she was also honest as hell.
Nov 06, 2016 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ava Gardner was a beautiful woman with a fun-loving spirit. This book was written in her own words as if she were speaking the words herself. Makes you feel like you are actually speaking to her directly.. all the "honey" and "oh baby" in the book, gives an idea of how she spoke. Also, the country twang she had in her voice comes out in her writings. Interesting to read about how MGM studios controlled her life. I was very intrigued with Ms. Gardner's life after reading this book.
Jay Quinn
Sep 10, 2013 Jay Quinn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually liked this book. I was a little hesitant about reading it because I had read "Ava Gardner: The secret conversations" and figured this one would be watered down... although I did enjoy the other book better I rather enjoyed this one as well.
May 12, 2012 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book by a woman who would be the first to admit she wasn't perfect.

It's like you're sitting there having a drink with her. In fact, some parts are like you've had several drinks with her.

I've read it several times.
Jul 25, 2012 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is written in a conversational style. Sip a glass of wine or cup of coffee while reading and it feels like your reminiscing with an old friend. She is funny, blunt, and a bit brash, but the stories flow easily and are entertaining.
Ruth Hamilton
Feb 07, 2012 Ruth Hamilton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ava always was a small town girl. The book is spoken by a lady who "told it like it is." I met Ava as child when she came back to our hometown. She was truly beautiful and the books is full of stories that show a woman of courage.
Naching Kassa
I enjoy autobiographies more than biographies and Ava Gardner's is no exception. She has a great deal to impart, much of it very interesting. She never really puts anyone down, even when they do horrible things to her. It was an informative read.
Feb 11, 2011 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
What is there is interesting - but lots missing. Written after her death based on her notes/tapes. Resented "studio system" trading her out to other studios for much more than she was paid - yet once she was a free agent, she only had one part she liked in "On the Beach" with Gregory Peck.
Jan 22, 2008 Kendra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished it! Since this is an autobiography, it's not being told in 3rd person...these are Ava's own words about her life. She had movie star kind of life, but her personality was just like most average folks. Good read for an Ava fan!
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Ava Lavinia Gardner was an American actress.

She was signed to a contract by MGM Studios in 1941 and appeared mainly in small roles until she drew attention with her performance in The Killers (1946). She became one of Hollywood's leading actresses, considered one of the most beautiful women of her day. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Mogambo (1953).

She appe
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“Sex isn't all that important, but it is when you love someone very much.” 97 likes
“Go fuck yourself," I replied, always the lady. "I'm staying here.” 57 likes
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