The Juiciest Revelations from Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations

Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations

Hollywood legend Ava Gardner spilled her guts to biographer Peter Evans—for a bit—until the plug got pulled on their collaboration on her memoirs. Both Gardner and Evans have since passed away, but the fruits of their work, Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversationsare now available for readers to enjoy. Below, find a sampling of some (but not all!) of the juicy tidbits bawdy Gardner told Evans:

Gardner repeatedly contemplated suicide near the end of her life. “I’m getting close to that point, honey. I’m so f—–g tired of being Ava Gardner.”

While their brief marriage was turbulent, Gardner thanks first husband Mickey Rooney for her sexual education. “I do owe Mickey one thing: he taught me how much I enjoyed sex.”

Rooney was a player. “He was the biggest wolf on the lot…the little sod was not above admiring himself in the mirror. All five-foot two of him!…He probably banged most of the starlets who appeared in his Andy Hardy films—Lana Turner among them.”

Rooney was an inveterate gambler. “Mick was hooked on the horses.” He had a direct line to his bookmakers on the set of his Andy Hardy movies and received a copy of the Racing Form on set with his first coffee every morning.

Howard Hughes was impatient, to say the least. “He’d started calling on me while I was still married to Mickey [Rooney]. He had a great sense of entitlement, Mr. Hughes.”

Hughes was racist. “When I told him that my closest childhood friend…was black, he didn’t call me for about six weeks…he wouldn’t employ blacks in his aircraft plants? F— him!”

Humphrey Bogart was a pain to work with. “Bogie hated learning lines. He knew every trick in the book to f— up a scene and get a retake if he felt a scene wasn’t going his way.”

Gardner had an affair with John Huston while married to bandleader Artie Shaw. “John was pissed when I wouldn’t stay the night with him. We’d been fooling around. But I wasn’t going to jump into bed with him on our first date, as much as I wanted to. I don’t think many women said no to Johnny.”

Husband Artie Shaw was emotionally abusive. “He used to put me down so much I lost complete confidence in myself. I insisted on taking an IQ test because…he had me thoroughly convinced that I was completely stupid.”

Lover George S. Scott was physically abusive. “When GCS was loaded, he was terrifying—he’d beat the s— out of me and have no idea next morning what he’d done.”

Costar Robert Mitchum was a pothead. “On the set, in front of reporters, he’d call to his makeup man: ‘Hey, bring me some of that good s—, man.’”

Gardner and third husband Frank Sinatra went on benders together. “We went for a drive in the desert and…really tied one on. We started shooting up a little town…with a couple of .38s Frank kept in the vanity compartment. We shot out streetlights, store windows. God knows how we got away with it. I guess Frank knew somebody…with a badge. He usually did.”

Sinatra was a jealous grudge-holder. “He turned against Sammy Davis for years after I did a Christmas spread with Sam for one of those big black magazines. Frank never really forgave him, he was always slapping him down. People thought he was kidding, but he wasn’t.”

Princess Grace Kelly was a tightwad, but she was good for it when she lost a bet. Gardner once bet Kelly $20 that the British public park she lived near was larger than the princess’s estate in Monaco, and won. “Grace was tight with a buck but she always paid up. She sent over the twenty dollars—with a magnum of Dom Perignon from Harrods, and a note pinned to an almighty pack of aspirins saying they were for the hangover I was going to get!”

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