There was golden generation of Hollywood actresses, of black and white divas, whose lives were more fabulous than the films they starred in. Ava Gardner, born on Christmas Eve 1922, was one of them: in addition to acting in film classics, she was a lover of bulls and bullfighters, the wife of Frank Sinatra and a neighbor of Juan Domingo Perón.
When he shared a consortium, in the 1960s, in the same building in Madrid as Perón and his then wife Maria Estela MartinezAva was already an international star who had stayed to live in Spain, fascinated with that country, after filming Pandora and the Flying Dutchman.
The building where Perón (on the second floor) and Ava Gardner (on the third) lived was on the outskirts of Madrid, surrounded by the landscape of the mountains, and Gardner had lent it to him his friend, the bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguín (the father of singer Miguel Bosé), with whom she had an affair.
Ava Gardner fell in love with Spain and stayed to live in Madrid, with Perón as a neighbor.
The story that was comedy
In 2018, the Spanish director Paco León portrayed, in a dramatic comedy tone, the harsh coexistence between the diva and the former president Argentine, in the series Madrid burns, in the context of Franco’s Spain.
Ava Gardner was called “the most beautiful animal in the world”, as a way of describing her wild appeal, compared to other more hegemonic divas. That trait helped her get ahead, as the actress had a deprived childhood in North Carolina, before landing in Hollywood.
In addition to Sinatra, Dominguín, and Perón, Gardner was friends with the writers Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, and considered a provocateur, an eternal rebel. With that profile, the Franco regime spied on her during her years in Spain, (by one of the employees who worked in her Madrid residence), because they believed she had contacts with communism.
Between parties and scandals
Uninhibited, tireless drinker and sexual iconShe was the protagonist of numerous scandals (she was thrown out of the Ritz Hotel in Paris, for example) that, however, did not affect her film career. Among his dozens of films, names such as Mogambo, The Barefoot Countess, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 55 days in Beijing Y The night of the iguana.
During the stage of her Madrid residency, Ava Gardner frequented all the bars in the city at the time. Plus, he organized endless parties in his apartment, through which all the celebrities passed
Ava Garnder and Frank Sinatra when they were a couple. They were married for six years.
The neighborly relationship between the diva and Perón that began on good terms (some say that Isabelita invited her with empanadas made by her), did not continue in the same way over the years. While the Perón-Martínez couple went to bed early to start the day at 6 in the morning, it was only at that time that the parties organized by Ava subsided.
The tension grew to the point that, more than once, the General ended up calling the police to complain about his famous neighbor. The regulars of the meetings in the department of the American actress were Carmen Sevilla, Lola Flores, Sophia Loren and Charlton Heston, in addition to all the bullfighters who, in the 1960s in Spain, had star category.
Childhood of deficiencies
Long before that stage of life, Ava Gardner spent a childhood with six siblings, in ua poor family of tobacco growers and cotton. A photo taken by his brother-in-law, at 18, and displayed in the window of a photography studio in New York, was the beginning of his career. A producer saw something in this tousled-haired young woman and signed his first contract with Metro Goldwyn Mayer.
The bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguín, together with Ava Gardner, in Spain. Photo: Martín Santos Yubero Photographic Fund
During the 1940s he filmed many of his most famous films, along with figures such as Burt Lancaster, Clark Gable, Gregory Peck and Humphrey Bogart. And it was also the time when there was one marriage after another (followed by divorce after divorce): first with Mickey Rooney (by then a true celebrity), then with jazz musician Artie Shaw, then with Frank Sinatra.
Tired of being singled out by the rigid rules of American movie studiosSeduced by flamenco and bullfighters, Gardner crossed the Atlantic and extended her stay in Madrid for almost 15 years. However, his lifestyle seemed to be too relaxed and free for the time also in Spain.
Ava Gardner in the movie “One Life for Another” (1953) with Howard Keel, Anthony Quinn and Robert Taylor. AFP photo
The public opinion that increasingly echoed her scandals and hostility with her neighbors, decided her to leave Madrid and move to London. “Spain represented everything that the others censored: a woman who lived alone, divorced, who was not Catholic and besides, she was an actress. And that is why he was a threat to traditional society, “said one of his biographers.
His impulsive nature was his weak point, but also one of the characteristics that attracted others. Tycoon Howard Hughes proposed to her more than once and she always rejected him. And Sinatra dedicated the theme to him I’m a Fool to Want You, when they just got married.
Her career culminated in several films for television, but her stamp of “wild beauty” and indomitable spirit prevailed beyond the screen and placed her in the Olympus of Hollywood legends of all times. He died of pneumonia, in 1990, at the age of 67.
Reference from clarin