From the marvelous short story, “A Toast to Ava Gardner”, by a friend of Miss Gardner’s, and author of, “I, Claudius”, Robert Graves:
“Questioned about the monstrous legendary self which towers above her, Ava told us that she does everything possible to get out from under, though the publicity-boys and the Press are always trying to clamp it even more tightly on her shoulders. Also, that she has never outgrown her early Hard-Shell Baptist conditioning on that North Carolina tobacco farm, with the eye of a wonderful father always on her; and still feels uncomfortably moral in most film-studios; it isn’t what she does that has created her sultry reputation, but what she says. Sometimes she just can’t control her tongue.”
Doing good work, on their way to London to perform at a benefit in December of 1951:
Recognized for her work:
“Our phone bills were astronomical, and when I found the letters Frank wrote me the other day, the total could fill a suitcase. Every single day during our relationship, no matter where in the world I was, I’d get a telegram from Frank saying he loved me and missed me. He was a man who was desperate for companionship and love. Can you wonder that he always had mine!” Ava Gardner
“He was a man who was desperate for companionship and love. Can you wonder that he always had mine?!” Although there was both more and less to it than that, and Frank could be a nasty fellow I totally understand the picture that Ava paints of him. The Graves extract is interesting, have you ever read I, Claudius? Graves is described in Martin Amis’s memoir, Experience, I seem to remember; it’s well worth reading.
PS I do recall Ms Gardner’s famous vulgar quotation concerning Swingin’ Frankie, I think that fits on the “less to it” side of the equation, though from another perspective it might count as the “more to it”… Bwahahahaha! Mea culpa!
The adjective ‘statuesque’ is often over-used in regards to stars, not here I think.
As for *I, Claudius*, it is good, however, much improved by adaptation with a wonderful cast to make up for the wobbly sets of the BBC’s ten our plus version.
Sian Phillips is particularly sublime. though she resides forever in my memory as the woman my grandmother once beat in a recitation competition.
The Perfumed Dandy
Dandy, you intrigue me! Tell us more! Yes, the BBC adaptation is fabulous, isn’t it? Derek, Ms Philips, Patrick Stewart, John Hurt (any man who has a splendid performance as the Q. Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant *and* a terrifying, lunatic turn as Caligula on his resume must be doing something right, not forgetting much other great work, best to forget him appearing on mostly tedious genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are and saying “being Irish was my banker.” only to discover he has nary a drop of Irish blood in him… Ha!), BRIAN BLESSED, George Baker, Margaret Tyzack, Chris Biggins, Patricia Quinn, et al. What a cast!
Lovely to see these photos and to be reminded of her beauty.
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