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Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations Hardcover – July 2, 2013
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“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)
“Jaw-dropping anecdotes about film legends and the studio system in its heyday make this an irresistible read. . . . 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. . . . 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.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“An unvarnished account of [Gardner’s] marriages and affairs in golden-age Hollywood. . . . Give[s] a vivid sense of Gardner’s salty, no-BS personality. . . . Juicy.” (Kirkus Reviews)
"A complete delight. . . . [Gardner's] quotes exude the musk of a woman supremely indifferent to the social proprieties and expectations of her era. . . . Hers is the heartbreaking memoir of the ultimate heartbreaker." (Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer)
"As a siren, [Gardner] held her own with [Marilyn] Monroe. And to judge by Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations, Gardner was a more interesting woman. . . . A little jewel of a book." (Harry Levins St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
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Top Customer Reviews
Ava claims she had a happy childhood, the youngest child born into a working class farm family. She claims to have been a tomboy and loved her "Daddy" best of all, he always just called her "daughter" which she loved, as it made her feel as though she belonged to someone. In Ava's own words, "You can sum up my life in a sentence, honey: she made movies, she made out, and she made a f****** mess of her life." [p2] "Her affairs had brought her final husband, Frank Sinatra, to the brink of suicide, taken her lover Howard Hughes beyond the edge of madness, and provoked George C. Scott to bouts of homicidal rage." [p7]
Ava was a 19yo virgin when she married Mickey Rooney on 1/10/1942 and a very experienced lover by the time she divorced him over his supposed numerous affairs on 5/23/1943; a date she says was easy to remember as it was the same day her mother died. She was tired of Mickey's antics from early on in their marriage, but stayed as long as she did, since the sex was very good. "[H]e was athletic in the sack and I was pretty verbal, and we were both very, very loud!Read more ›
On the other hand, I got more of a feeling for what Ava Gardner was LIKE as a person, from this book, than I did from the bigger book, "Love is Nothing." Actually, this book portrays a much more sentimental person than the other one, which left me feeling I had no idea what she was like to know as a person, other than cold and tough.
Peter Evans had skills as an author(I HIGHLY recommend his book, NEMESIS, which was superbly researched and written), but he was not able to do a book the way he probably would have if he had not been talking to Ms. Gardner and needing her cooperation, as far as it got.
More than two decades passed before her collaborator, Peter Evans, finally assembled his notes on interviews, phone conversations, recorded talks and meetings, thus preserving a few strobe light flashes of Ava Gardner. The result is part biography and part book about writing a book. It is a winning hybrid. Ms. Gardner could be a steely challenge. Mr. Evans had to be a persistent yet diplomatic extractor of stories. It became something of a take-and-take contest, fascinating even apart from Ms. Gardner's vignettes.
By the time the Gardner/Evans work was in progress, Ms. Gardner was already on the way to frail. She had had a damaging stroke, had once been a heavy smoker and an accomplished drinker. The rent on her body had been raised and the landlord was knocking. Consequently, Ms. Gardner comes through in these partly sewn notes as a bit of dowager, once famous, once wealthy, and grace-of-God gorgeous. All of that by this time had fallen away.
She had a fairy tale start, rising from Tar Heel hayseed at 18 to spouse of Hollywood's most notable box office draw, Mickey Rooney, at 19. The marriage failed a year later, to be followed by one to Artie Shaw, then another to Frank Sinatra.
As Ms. Gardner speaks of these things she is bawdy, moody and profane in the war zone/middle school/Glenngary Glenn Ross way ... which is to say a mightily profane lady. Never a very good actress she understood her hypnotic looks made her a star and highly desirable as a sex partner which she seems to have enjoyed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a real page turner! I think it is as good a psychological profile as you will find on an actress who pretty much defined the golden age of Hollywood. Read morePublished 1 month ago by WorldTravelr
It's usually uplifting to read about your heroes - especially those who enjoyed beauty, fame, success and fortune - but sometimes not. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rolland W. Amos
I'm a little disappointed in this book. I've not read any of this author's other works but this one was hard to get through. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Cecilia Flowers
Hard to put down. Would really like to know for sure if Sinatra really paid to not publish the book to AVA. Great read.Published 3 months ago by Clint
Do not buy this it is based on a sham. Peter Evans based this book on so called conversations with Ava G. Read morePublished 4 months ago by audrey
I went back and forth about whether I liked her or not. A bit of a salacious wench, a fit for our times but not then. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Susan