The wickedly candid New York Times bestesller that Ava Gardner dared not publish during her lifetime—“the heartbreaking memoir of the ultimate heartbreaker” (Philadelphia Inquirer).
Ava Gardner was one of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars during the 1940s and ’50s, an Oscar-nominated leading lady who co-starred with Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, and Humphrey Bogart, among others. But this riveting account of her storied life, including her marriage to Frank Sinatra, and career had to wait for publication until after her death—because Gardner feared it was too revealing.
“I either write the book or sell the jewels,” Gardner told coauthor Peter Evans, “and I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels.” The legendary actress serves up plenty of gems in these pages, reflecting with delicious humor and cutting wit on a life that took her from rural North Carolina to the heights of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Tell-all stories abound, especially when Gardner divulges on her three husbands: Mickey Rooney, a serial cheater so notorious that even his mother warned Gardner about him; bandleader Artie Shaw, whom Ava calls “a dominating son of a bitch…always putting me down;” and Frank Sinatra (“We were fighting all the time. Fighting and boozing. It was madness. But he was good in the feathers”).
“Her story is a raw-nerved revelation. . . . A vivid portrait” (Chicago Tribune). Witty, penetrating, unique in its voice, it is impossible to put down—“A complete delight” (Philadelphia Inquirer).
Jaw-dropping anecdotes about film legends and the studio system in its heyday make this an irresistible read for Hollywood history buffs. A fiery beauty (1922 1990) who loved to fight (even with the author she hired), Gardner inspired uncanny devotion among colleagues, friends, and lovers. Of the latter, there were many, and even seasoned fans will learn fresh tidbits about ex-husbands Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra, as well as her tumultuous relationships with Howard Hughes and George C. Scott. One of the more touching stories is of Gardner, self-conscious after a stroke left her face partially paralyzed, asking a famed cinematographer to set up flattering lighting prior to meeting with a publisher. Journalists will find the book of interest as it makes transparent the prickly process of ghostwriting. Evans (Bardot: Eternal Sex Goddess) shares the difficulty of sequencing the life of a movie star whose memory is failing and who angrily retracts batches of sensitive material that slip out during 3 a.m. phone calls. Gardner is funny and frank, and Evans's diligence makes the book not only one of the more revealing celebrity autobiographies published recently, but a candid glimpse into the world of a ghostwriter, star handler, and late-night confidante. 8-page b&w insert.
Enjoyed reading this candid portrait of Ava Gardner. It was much more insightful than other books I’ve read about her. It’s a shame it was never finished!
I just finished this book and I have to say, I was a little disappointed. There are no new revelations, just her cussing a lot and lots of back and forth with the author about what should and should not go in the book.
The Secret Conversation
What a book an a plesant surprise . I really at first had my doubts about reading it , but I gave it a shot an IM so glad I did. iTS A MUST READ FOR THOSE WHO REMEMBER THE TIMES .