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Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations

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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).

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 22, 2013 – 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.

Customer Reviews


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.


What a fascinating book! Loved it!

Great read

Very insightful look into Ava Gardner's life. She may be considered vulgar by many, yet her voice comes through loud and clear. A woman who chose to live life to the fullest. She was respectful and did not want a "tell-all" book about her sexual encounters. Her stories of the past, the loss of her parents; as she speaks of the loss one can feel her extreme sadness. I found the book a page-turner and well-written. I will definitely purchase more of Peter Evans books.

Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Jul 02, 2013
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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