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Ava Gardner: "Love Is Nothing" Paperback – May 15, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the ripe old age of 32, having collected three ex-husbands-Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra-Ava Gardner waxed introspective: "I still believe the most important thing in life is to be loved." Server's (Baby, I Don't Care) deliciously entertaining tome bursts with Hollywood dish and Oscar-worthy dialogue and is written in a crackling style that reads like great pulp. "Love became her terrible habit," he writes, "something hopeless to resist, impossible to get right." A Tobacco Road urchin turned "statue of Venus sprung to succulent life," Gardner ditched her secretarial aspirations and started at MGM in the early '40s as a contract actress earning $50 a week. She became an international star, drawing huge crowds on both sides of the Atlantic. But life wasn't always sweet for the gorgeous star of Show Boat and The Barefoot Contessa; her steamy affair and marriage to Sinatra ranks among the most notorious of Hollywood love stories. Gardner's career, hard drinking and screen-worthy love affairs are all chronicled in Server's page-turner prose, doing justice to one of cinema's most beautiful faces.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Server follows his superb biography of Robert Mitchum (Baby I Don't Care, 2001) with the life of another midcentury movie icon: Ava Gardner. Gardner's rise from North Carolina tobacco country to Hollywood superstardom began when an MGM talent scout spotted her picture in the window of a photographer's studio. It's a Cinderella story, to be sure, but Server gives us the unexpurgated version, complete with Gardner's Mitchum-like credentials for booze consumption, rugged individualism, and sexual appetite (marriages to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra and affairs with pretty much everyone else). And then there was her beauty--in interviews with dozens of stars, the message is the same: no one ever looked better than Ava Gardner. This is also a story of the studio system, and Gardner was one of its most notable victims, ill-used throughout her career, forced to do bad movies and forced to watch her good movies decimated in the cutting room. Server capably assesses the hits and misses, languishing on those electric moments when the camera caught the "feline sprawl of her exquisite body." A no-holds-barred view of a larger-than-life star. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (May 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312312105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312312107
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brad Baker VINE VOICE on June 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lee Server's brand new "Ava Gardner, Love is Nothing", is a proud companion to his comprehensive biography of actor Robert Mitchum. Trust me, "Love is Nothing" includes everything. Ravishing and famous in her time, Ava Gardner is, sadly, almost forgotten today. Gardner, a 5'6" barefoot tom-boy from Grabtown, North Carolina, had her photograph reviewed by MGM Studios in the late 1930's. She received a movie contract. MGM paid her $150.00 a week. But Ava languished at the Culver City, Calif. lot for years, taking bit parts and extra work. She was loaned-out to Monogram Pictures in 1943 for a small role in "Ghosts on the Loose", with Bela Lugosi. But then came a saucy portrayal as a mobster vixen in "The Killers(1946)" with Burt Lancaster. Her career took off. With success came money and recognition. And love. Two quick marriages to Mickey Rooney and Artie Shaw ended badly. Ava became jaded on love. But not on romance. Then she met Frank Sinatra. The young New Jersey crooner fell madly in love with Ava. But Frank and Ava were incendiary. And they liked to drink. Volatile and flighty, they were perhaps, too much alike. They could make love and argue in just a matter of minutes. On their wedding day, Frank and Ava broke-up and reconciled before the ceremony. Twice. Server's book details Ava's starring role in MGM's "Mogambo(1953)", with Clark Gable. Husband Sinatra tagged along with them, on-location, in Africa. Ava had to buy Frank's plane ticket. Sinatra was at the lowest point in his career. The marriage strained under the cross-currents of opposite business directions. Ironically, Ava was on the verge of stardom; Sinatra was just all played-out. Sinatra and Ava parted; the damage done. The scars of their love would haunt them both for the rest of their lives.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read Ava's autiobiography when it came out shortly after her death and thought she was pretty honest about her life warts and all. Mr Server follows the same outline of her life but greatly expounds on the good and the bad that was so well documented in the news. Ava and Frank were the Brad and Angelina of the 50's and were hounded relentlesly by the then new phenomonon, the paparatazzi. There was well researched detail on things only lightly covered in Ava's book but who can blame her for leaving out what she did. One thing that came out of this book was the feeling she could have left a much richer body of work if only MGM had given her better parts and she had not had such a fondness for booze and partying all night ALL the time. She lived life on her own terms but should have taken better care of herself. I thought it was an excellent book and recommend it to anyone with a interest in Ava and Hollywood in the 40's and 50's.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The most beautiful Ava Gardner - and that she was. She was a booze-hound, lush and nymphomaniac. There was not a martini left unturned when she was around. When she was drunk she was mean and naughty and sober she was sugar and spice. Her first husband was Mickey Rooney - married him after being in Hollywood 6 months. She was a virgin. Her second husband was Artie Shaw. Her third husband was Frank Sinatra and the love of her life. It was the most turbulent of relationships - jealousy being the worst of it. Ava had many, many, many lovers - men and women too, or so it was rumored. She lived in Spain for several years and liked to roam the country and dance with the gypsies - she loved to dance the flamenco. She only made movies for the money. Her heart was not in being an actress, but just being. She had several abortions although she kept saying she wanted children, I believe she was too selfish to be able to raise a child. She was the life of the party most of the time when she was not dead drunk. She could have been manic depressive, but just never diagnosed - she had unbelievable mood swings. She had a stroke that left her with a limp and her arm did not function as well as it should. She lived out her declining years in London and died of pneumonia. This is a powerful and excellent biography of one of the most beautiful women who ever lived - a must read. P.S. This is a very personal note, but I feel I must add it. After reading the last pages before and when she passed away I was in tears. I was deeply touched. Lee Server did such an excellent job of documenting her life at that time and I was able to feel her loneliness and pain and depression. I felt so sorry for her that she did not have Frank Sinatra in her last days.
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Format: Hardcover
Ava Gardner, under the mistaken belief that she
was having a date with director Howard Hawks, soon
learned that the tall, "rail thin" man with the
"rawboned face of a cowboy" was none other than Texas
entrepreneur Howard Hughes. Modestly amused by the
mixup, Hughes asked Ava out again, and they soon began
seeing each other "several times a week or more." But
let there be no mixup about Lee Server's powerfully
compelling portrait of Ava Gardner. The man, along
with his international contacts and sources, has
crafted a a complex portrait of a barefooted country
girl whose photograph in the window of a portrait
studio in New York ultimately captivated the world
with her beauty and the antics of her personal life.

Server's previous biography, Robert Mitchum, 'Baby I
Don't Care' , showcased his expertise with all things
film and noire, and AVA GARDNER allows him full venue
to elaborate in this ode to the Barefoot Contessa of
two continents. With a surplus of parentheticals and
bottom-of-the-page addendum, Server leaves tidbits
like Ava changed partners, always something new and
savory demanding a change to the next blank page
where something must be written. From Ava's best
friend in high school, to her last, closest chums in
London's high-brow Knightsbridge district, everyone
had something to say about Gardner's extraordinary
goddess-like beauty and her volatile personal
landscape.

This book reveals Gardner's inauspicious beginnings
deep in the red-dirt heartland of North Carolina, and
then provides the reader a world tour with the most
enticing brunette of the forties and fifties as she
emotes in private and on film.
Read more ›
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