"I EITHER WRITE THE BOOK OR SELL THE JEWELS," Ava Gardner told her coauthor, Peter Evans, "and I'm kinda sentimental about the jewels." So began the collaboration that led to this remarkably candid, wickedly sardonic memoir.
Ava Gardner was one of Hollywood's great stars during the 1940s and 1950s, an Oscar-nominated lead-ing lady who co-starred with Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, and Humphrey Bogart, among others. Her films included Show Boat, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Barefoot Contessa, and On the Beach. But her life off the screen was every bit as fabulous as her film roles.
Born poor in rural North Carolina, Gardner was given a Hollywood tryout thanks to a stunning photo of her displayed in a shop window. Not long after arriving in Hollywood, she caught the eye of Mickey Rooney, then America's #1 box-office draw. Rooney was a womanizer so notorious that even his mother warned Gardner about him. They married, but the marriage lasted only a year ("my shortest husband and my biggest mistake"). Ava then married band leader and clarinetist Artie Shaw, who would eventually marry eight times, but that marriage, too, lasted only about a year ("he was a dominating son of a bitch . . . always putting me down"). She carried on a passionate affair with Howard Hughes but didn't love him, she said. Her third marriage was a tempestuous one to Frank Sinatra ("We were fighting all the time. Fighting and boozing. It was madness. . . . But he was good in the feathers").
Faithfully recording Ava's reminiscences in this book, Peter Evans describes their late-night conver-sations when Ava, having had something to drink and unable to sleep, was at her most candid. So candid, in fact, that when she read her own words, she backed out and halted the book. Only now, years after her death, could this frank and revealing memoir be published.
"If I get into this stuff, oh, honey, have you got something coming," Ava told Evans. Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations is the stunning story of a legendary star's public and private lives.
About the Author
Ava Gardner was born in Grabtown, North Carolina, in 1922. Her films include The Killers, Showboat, Mogambo, The Barefoot Contessa, The Sun Also Rises, and On the Beach. She died in London in 1990.
Peter Evans was a columnist and foreign correspondent with the Daily Express (UK), and wrote for the Los Angeles Times and Vogue, as well as every major newspaper in Britain. His books include Peter Sellers: The Man Behind the Mask and Nemesis. He died in 2012.
Reviewed by 2 customers
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Quick to read but quite a chore all the same. Skipped some of the dull conversations.
Really interesting read. Was expecting it to tell like a typical autobiography with the story being told to you by Ava so to speak. Instead much of the biography is in the perspective of Ava's ghost writer for the book Peter Evans. It's like being a fly on the wall of Ava's real life interviews with Peter, at first i wasn't sure if i liked this perspective but i ended up loving it as it gives a great insight into what Ava's personality was really like. I only wish the book was longer! i would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of old movies and the golden age of hollywood
"I read Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations in a delirious gulp. It is absolutely terrific. I couldn't put it down. Gardner comes across as a flamboyant but tragic figure who always spoke the truth no matter how painful. And the way writer Peter Evans has shaped their conversations is truly remarkable."--Patricia Bosworth, author of Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 2nd July 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88 x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.48